Wednesday marked the first home match of 2005 for Minnesota’s men’s tennis team, but it wasn’t the most important first that occurred.
Minnesota earned doubles point number one on the season as it downed Drake 6-1 at Baseline Tennis Center.
Minnesota, the 31st-ranked team in the country, swept all three tandem matches on its way to improving to 2-2 on the season.
“It’s great,” coach David Geatz said. “Anytime we get a doubles point, we’re going to be awful tough to beat.”
The Gophers got wins from the teams of senior captain Avery Ticer and freshman Adrien Debreyne at No. 1, sophomore Nic Edlefsen and freshman Raoul Schwark at No. 2, and sophomores Mikey Kantar and Sion Wilkins at No. 3 in earning the point.
Geatz said an improved tenacity from all three pairs was a key to the sweep.
While Drake is not at the same level as Minnesota’s first three opponents – all of whom rank in the top 20 – the Gophers still said they felt the doubles’ sweep was a big step forward.
“We realized we can win in doubles,” Ticer said. “I think that’s always key for your psyche – to realize you’re capable of winning.”
That’s important for a Gophers roster that is almost entirely composed of underclassmen, and Ticer said he is already starting to see an improvement in the young players.
“We have a lot of guys on the break of really making a big jump in their game,” he said.
This jump could also be seen in the singles matches Wednesday.
Minnesota won five of six one-on-ones, with four of those coming in straight sets.
While things are beginning to look up, the Gophers said they are always capable of improving – especially in doubles competition.
“I think it was, today, important that we won the doubles point (so) we have confidence for the weekend,” Schwark said. “But we have to play better, because (if we don’t), then we’ll lose it again.”
The reason Schwark said that is the Gophers will be going back into the world of the top 20 Saturday.
They will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face No. 15 Virginia Commonwealth and then Wake Forest on Sunday.
“Wake Forest is a very good team,” Ticer said. “We haven’t had very good success against them.”
However, as Minnesota proved Wednesday, there’s a first time for everything.