All-Minnesotan squad puts in solid first tournament at Nebraska Invitational

The Gophers won their first dual 7-0 over Iowa despite injuries and without Avery Ticer and Andres Osorio.

Mike Mullen

Midway through Saturday’s action at the Nebraska Invitational, Minnesota men’s tennis coach David Geatz looked around at the players he had on court and noticed something that made him stop.

They were all from Minnesota.

“I thought, ‘My gosh, I can’t remember the last time we fielded a team entirely from Minnesota,’ ” said Geatz, who has coached the Gophers since 1988. “Obviously, we have a lot of good players from Minnesota. But that was still a bit surprising.”

The all-Minnesotan squad – which tied 3-3 against Nebraska and Denver – was the result of injuries and the team’s leaving Avery Ticer and Andres Osorio at home.

The three-day event ran under a “hidden dual” format, with teams playing one another in a round robin. But as the team season does not begin until January, only individual records and rankings will be affected.

Minnesota began the tournament on a high note, posting a perfect 7-0 singles score over Iowa.

“That was a great way to start,” Geatz said. “Especially since Iowa was fielding a full team.”

Geatz’s son, D.J. Geatz, played in the No. 1 spot for the Gophers against Iowa, and he said he welcomed the chance – and the result.

“That was nice to send a message to the Big Ten,” D.J. Geatz said. “It’s always good to whoop up on the Hawkeyes. And there’s no way I’ll be playing No. 1 during the year, so it was nice to get that opportunity.”

Coach Geatz said his “most valuable player” award for the tournament was going to sophomore Brian Lipinski of Winona, Minn. Lipinski went 4-0 in singles over the weekend, including a relatively easy 6-3, 6-2 win over Nebraska’s Adrian Szatmary. Szatmary is ranked No. 115 in Division I singles, and he competed in the 2003 Australian Open.

“I didn’t really know a lot about him,” Lipinski said. “I was kind of swinging optimistic. I think I was just a little more aggressive than he was, and I was catching a few more short balls.”

As for the number of Minnesotans in the lineup, D.J. Geatz said it was a welcomed change from what he’s used to seeing on his father’s teams.

“The teams always had some Minnesota guys, but they’re usually on the bench,” D.J. Geatz said. “It’s cool to have a lot of Minnesota guys on the team that are able to go out and win.”