Gophers win despite having two seniors out of lineup

Josip Krstanovic gets his first in in the No. 2 singles spot

Junior Josip Krstanovic returns the ball during his singles match at the Baseline Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 2.

Jack Rodgers

Junior Josip Krstanovic returns the ball during his singles match at the Baseline Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 2.

Max Biegert

Seniors Matic Spec and Felix Corwin were out of the lineup on Friday, allowing young players like Josip Krstanovic to step into a new role. 

The underclassmen stepped up and didn’t concede a match in the dual.

The Gophers (2-2) beat Sacramento State (0-3) 7-0 on Friday afternoon. In singles competition, four of the six matches went into the third set, but Minnesota edged the Hornets in each one. Sophomore Stefan Milicevic picked up his first victory in the No. 1 singles spot. Krstanovic won his first match playing in the No. 2 singles spot.

“It wasn’t our sharpest performance,” head coach Geoff Young said. “We can take something from it and improve in some areas.”

The Hornets got off to a fast start beating the pairing of Justyn Levin and Krstanovic 6-3. Milicevic and Jackson Allen evened the doubles matches for Minnesota after beating Sacramento State’s pairing of Dom Miller and Donald Hall 6-3. Marino Alpeza and Eli Olgilvy clinched the doubles point after beating Hermont Legaspi and Bernardo Moraes of Sacramento State 6-2.

No. 26-ranked pairing of Spec and Corwin did not get the start Friday, yet the Gophers won their third doubles point out of the four matches.

Milicevic highlighted the singles round, earning his first win being in the No. 1 singles spot in a three set thriller 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 against Mikus Losbergs. Krstanovic moved into the number two singles spot and beat his opponent in another three set match by a score of 6-0, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4.

“After a really good first set, I think I lost a little bit of focus,” Krstanovic said. “I came back in the third after being a break down. I tried my best and today, it went for the better.”

Olgivly, the hero of the Tennessee match from last weekend, continued his strong form by beating his opponent. Allen and Vlad Lobek earned their first singles collegiate victories.

“We were able to battle back and keep up with the momentum and trying our best to improve,” Krstanovic said.