Men’s tennis gets no breaks in losses

Ken Zimmer

The Gophers men’s tennis team lost a pair of 4-3 matches in dramatic fashion to Michigan State and Michigan this weekend. Both matches came down to one singles position, and Minnesota came up short both times.
Saturday’s loss was particularly difficult, as the Spartans’ Trey Eubanks defeated Tom Chicoine 7-6 in the third set of the deciding No. 1 singles match, giving Michigan State its first victory over the Gophers since 1972. Minnesota held a 3-2 lead going into the final two matches but the Spartans rallied for victories over Martin Michalowski and Chicoine.
On Sunday, Michigan’s Arvid Swan defeated Michalowski 6-3, 7-6 at No. 3 singles to give the Wolverines the victory.
“We just got snaked down there,” Gophers coach David Geatz said.
The losses dropped Minnesota to 6-9 overall and 2-3 in the Big Ten. Saturday’s loss snapped the team’s two-match winning streak.
Minnesota swept Penn State and Indiana State 7-0 the previous week, and are rated No. 36 nationally by the Rolex Collegiate Tennis Rankings. Those wins snapped a five-match losing streak, and gave the Gophers their first back-to-back wins in more than a month.
Freshman Jon Svensson extended his undefeated streak in dual matches to 11. Svensson has jumped around from No. 3 to No. 6 singles throughout the season, but has remained consistent, defeating eight opponents in two sets.
Svensson has been a constant on the youthful team. Minnesota has no seniors and four freshman on the 10-man squad. Three of those freshman are regulars in the starting six singles players.
Martin Kristoffersen also remained unbeaten at 8-0 in duals after Saturday’s match, and holds a 14-7 record for the season. Kristoffersen appears to be coming back to his freshman form. He posted a 22-14 singles record his first year, but fell to 9-14 last season.
Minnesota now faces a tough remainder of the season. The next three matches are against Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Those teams boast No. 14, No. 58, and No. 3 rankings nationally.
The Gophers then host Purdue and Indiana before the Big Ten outdoor championships in Champaign, Ill. The Gophers have never finished worse than fifth, and have won five championships at the tournament in nine years under Geatz.
“I still have a lot of confidence in this team,” the coach said. “We have to hang in there. We can’t give up.”