Men fall twice at home against a pair of tough teams

The Gophers fell 5-2 to Denver and then 6-1 to Middle Tennessee State.

The first weekend of the spring season was a tough one for the Minnesota men’s tennis team as the Gophers lost a pair of home duals.

Against head coach Geoff Young’s former team, Denver, Minnesota fell 5-2 at the Baseline Tennis Center on Friday night. On Sunday, visiting Middle Tennessee State handled the Gophers 6-1.

Young said before the season-opening duals that his inexperienced squad would likely play close matches all weekend.

He was right.

No. 1 singles player, senior Raoul Schwark, pushed the nation’s No. 17-ranked player, Denver’s Adam Holmstrom, to the limit, but fell in three sets Friday, 6-1, 2-6, 6-1. At No. 2 singles, ___ freshman Sebastian Gallego was ahead 5-4 in the second set after losing the first set 7-6, but had to retire due to illness.

On Sunday, Minnesota (0-2 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) fell behind early, narrowly losing the doubles and then proceeding to lose five of six singles matches.

The one bright spot all weekend for the Gophers was the continued strong play of sophomore Dino Bilankov, who picked up three victories – two in singles, and a 9-7 doubles win with his partner, redshirt freshman, Derek Peterson, on Sunday.

Women split duals

What a difference a day makes.

The Minnesota women’s tennis team fell 7-0 to No. 17 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Saturday, but followed up the sweep with a 5-2 upset win over No. 37 N.C. State in Raleigh on Sunday.

After dropping the doubles point, Minnesota, which entered the weekend ranked No. 64 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, won five of six singles matches against the Wolfpack to secure the dual.

Freshman Alessandra Ferrazzi defeated N.C. State sophomore Daria Petrovic – ranked No. 79 in the country – 6-4, 6-3 to pace the Gophers, who have won four out of five duals to start the spring season.