Men’s tennis team splits two matches at Baseline, more tough foes ahead

by Dan Miller

When it comes to scheduling, Minnesota men’s tennis coach David Geatz does not make things easy for his players.

After defeating No. 42 Wake Forest 5-3 on Friday, the 31st-ranked Gophers fell 4-3 on Sunday to 12th-ranked Virginia Commonwealth and takes on No. 22 Harvard today.

Despite the loss Sunday, Geatz’s philosophy of playing with the best will help his team stay competitive.

“It’s not like football where you get beat up if you play the best teams,” Geatz said. “In tennis you have to play the best teams so you can stay at that level and not take steps backward.”

Sunday, the Gophers started four freshmen in their lineup: Dusan Tabak, Andres Osorio, Sion Wilkins and Brian Lipinski.

And Geatz is exposing his young team to some of the best players in the nation with the schedule he has put together.

Against Virginia Commonwealth, Osorio won his first set against Sergi Arumi 6-2 but then lost the next two.

Lipinski took on Florian Marquardt, a NCAA place winner last year, and was leading in the third set when the match was abandoned due to time limit.

“Lipinski played a great match against a great player,” Geatz said.

In other action, No.1 singles player Aleksey Zharinov lost his first set 1-6, but took the second 6-3. In the third set, Zharinov battled back from 2-5 to push a tie-breaker, but he lost 7-6.

Geatz doesn’t need to tell his players how hard the competition they play.

“Our guys know what the teams are ranked,” Geatz said. “They just like the challenge to go out and compete.”

With another tough match today against Harvard, the Gophers hope their tough schedule will pay off in ranking and improvement.

“If nothing else I guarantee that we’ll be better at the end of the season than at the beginning,” Geatz said.