Minnesota shines outdoors

The Gophers finished off a solid weekend by beating Michigan State outside Sunday.

Bob Wothe

It hasn’t happened often in the last four years, but Minnesota’s men’s tennis team might hope for more outdoor matches this spring.

Instead of being played inside the Baseline Tennis Center, Sunday’s match against Michigan State was moved outside. And despite the slightly unfamiliar confines, the Gophers finished off the first weekend of a five-match homestand in style, easily disposing of the Spartans 6-1 and improving upon their 5-2 triumph over Michigan on Friday.

“It’s funny – we call this our home court,” senior Avery Ticer said. “But I think this is my second outdoor match in four years here.”

The two victories vaulted Minnesota (4-9, 3-1 Big Ten) into third place in the Big Ten and improved interim coach David Wheaton’s record to 3-1.

“We’re definitely moving in the right direction toward our destination,” Wheaton said. “We won’t ever get to that destination, but I’m very pleased with how we composed ourselves and played with confidence.”

In both duals, the Gophers took the doubles point and ran away with the rest of it.

Against Michigan State (11-8, 3-2) on Sunday, victories at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles gave Minnesota an early 1-0 lead, and the Gophers never looked back. The only point they lost on the day was at No. 2 singles with Nic Edlefsen’s 6-1, 6-3 loss.

“I thought doubles was key for us all weekend,” Wheaton said. “It gave us great momentum heading into the match, and we stayed focused all the way through.”

But as important as it was Sunday, the doubles play Friday was far more crucial in swinging the momentum.

After the Gophers and Wolverines (10-8, 3-2) split the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles, Minnesota’s No. 1 duo of Ticer and Adrien Debreyne fought back from a 5-2 deficit to upset Michigan’s 43rd-ranked tandem of Matko Maravic and Brian Hung 9-8 in a long tiebreak.

From there, D.J. Geatz and Ticer quickly disposed of their opponents in singles, and the Gophers clinched the match with Andres Osorio’s victory at No. 3 singles.

“I thought we played great in both matches,” said Osorio, who played in just his fourth dual this spring since returning from suspension. “It’s great to be back on the court, and the attitude of all the guys is great right now.”

Wheaton said the Gophers would celebrate their solid weekend with a day off.

“All the guys are pretty tired,” Wheaton said. “This was a big weekend for us, and they performed really well. So I think they deserve it.”

Reddy shines in loss

The Gophers women didn’t have quite the weekend their male counterparts did.

The Gophers (5-9, 0-4 Big Ten) dropped Saturday- and Sunday-morning matches to Michigan State and Michigan, respectively, both by scores of 5-2.

Senior Nischela Reddy, ranked 89th in the nation, was the lone bright spot for Minnesota, defeating two top-100 players in her singles matches.

Freshmen Jane Anderson and Danielle Mousseau were the only two other Gophers to notch victories, with Anderson winning Saturday and Mousseau winning in a tiebreak Sunday.