Gophers hoping to end the fall on a high note

Last weekend it was all about the doubles for the Gophers. Many mediocre Minnesota pairs became dynamic duos last weekend at the ITA regional tournament . A true measure of GophersâÄô doubles was the fact that each team won at least one match before losing to one of the tournamentâÄôs highest seeds. Freshman Michael Sicora and sophomore Tobias Wernet proved to be surprisingly resilient, as they traveled all the way to the semifinals. âÄúThey sort of overachieved what I thought in this past tournament, and really surprised us and themselves,âÄù Coach Geoff Young said. Young has made doubles a priority throughout the fall invitational season. Even though itâÄôs something not everyone is used to, it is essential. âÄúDoubles is a faster game and they [have to] have heightened awareness from the very first point,âÄù Young said. But Young is impressed with the doubles teams going into the break. Sicora, the accomplished newcomer, and Wernet , an experienced international player, provide the balance needed to be one of the most successful teams in the region. The team has a 4-1 overall record and hopes to be strong again in the spring season. âÄúThereâÄôs two parts to tennis: thereâÄôs holding serves and breaking serves. And those guys, they do really, really well on breaking serves,âÄù Young said. âÄúI think that we make a good team and we can do some damage,âÄù Sicora said. Junior Dino Bilankov and doubles specialist Sebastian Gallego have also posted a strong 4-2 record for the fall season. With the recent focus on doubles in practices and matches alike, Minnesota will focus on singles alone to conclude the fall season. âÄúI think this fall went pretty well. It just confirms what I thought prior to the season of us being pretty talented. IâÄôm starting to see the younger guys buying into the team concept and playing with a lot of energy and passion,âÄù Young said. The Gophers leave today for the Big Ten Singles Championship, and while not a decisive tournament, itâÄôs not one to be overlooked. Sicora knows he can focus on improving his singles record this weekend after a hard second round loss last weekend. WhatâÄôs going to drive the hopeful Buffalo, Minn. native far into the tournament? âÄúWeâÄôre all kind of motivated by the fact that the semis and finals are televised,âÄù Sicora said. Whether or not any of MinnesotaâÄôs players have their face on national television is irrelevant at this point, according to Young. âÄúItâÄôs just an opportunity for us to compete and see where we stack up with the other players, the other teams, and gives us an opportunity to learn from competing,âÄù Young said.