Upsets go other way Saturday vs Indiana

Zach Eisendrath

Minnesota’s men’s tennis team has played the upset card all season long. Saturday, the 38th-ranked Gophers got a taste of their own medicine.

Minnesota (12-10, 6-2 Big Ten) was upended 5-2 Saturday afternoon by 64th-ranked Indiana (15-8, 4-4 Big Ten). On Friday night, the Gophers downed Penn State (13-4, 3-4 Big Ten) by the same score at Baseline Tennis Center.

“It’s very disappointing,” coach David Geatz said. “But Indiana played well; they are a good team. They came to play and won a lot of close matches. I hope we play them again in the Big Ten Tournament.”

The Hoosiers did almost everything right to snap the Gophers’ five-match winning streak – starting with securing the doubles point.

Indiana’s Peter Antons and David Bubenicek defeated Minnesota’s doubles team of juniors Sion Wilkins and Andres Osorio 9-8. Wilkins and Osorio had multiple match-point opportunities but couldn’t convert, giving the Hoosiers the 1-0 advantage heading into singles.

From there Indiana won four of the six singles matches to pull out the victory.

The dual could have been much different had the Gophers pulled out the close matches. Besides losing at two doubles in a tiebreaker, Minnesota also lost at the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions in three sets. Sophomore Raoul Schwark fell to Arnaud Roussel 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the five spot, while Wilkins was downed 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 by Mak Kendall.

“It was a tough loss and somewhat upsetting,” junior captain Mikey Kantar said. “It’s disappointing for sure. Up until this point we’ve been good at just beating the teams we’re supposed to beat. Indiana was a little fresher than us.”

Wilkins said the Gophers didn’t underestimate the Hoosiers, but that it just wasn’t their day.

“Our coaches told us before that Indiana was a dangerous team,” he said. “I think we were just a little unlucky. We were lucky against Penn State. Every team has one bad match. It was just one of those days where things didn’t go our way.”

Friday’s dual was a complete reversal of fortunes for the Gophers. Unlike Saturday, Minnesota was able to pull out the tight matches against the Nittany Lions.

After winning at one doubles and losing at No. 2, the Gophers put the doubles point on the shoulders of juniors Nic Edlefson and D.J. Geatz.

The three doubles team delivered – fighting off a 7-5 deficit – winning 9-8 (7-2), and giving Minnesota confidence heading into singles.

“That was a big momentum shifting change,” Geatz said. “It set a tone for us. The doubles point is only worth a point on paper, but it really can give a team momentum.”

Only needing three singles wins to pull out the dual, the Gophers got four – winning at the No. 1, 2, 4 and 5 positions.

Despite the Penn State victory, Kantar said the Gophers still might need to prove something before being an automatic invite into the NCAA Tournament.

“We still control our own destiny. But we are the bubble now. It’s a different position, but we still know we are a good team that can play with anybody.”

But Geatz said the split this weekend was enough to get his team into the NCAAs.

“I think we’ll definitely get in the tournament,” he said. “We’re definitely one of the top 64 teams in the country.”

Women lose both

Minnesota’s women’s tennis team ended its Big Ten road schedule with a pair of losses this weekend.

On Sunday the Gophers fell 5-2 to Penn State in State College, Pa. On Saturday the Gophers were blanked 7-0 against 35th-ranked Indiana (16-5, 6-1) in Bloomington, Ind.

Gophers coach Tyler Thomson said before the dual that Minnesota had a realistic shot of upending the Lions since the Gophers (4-16, 1-7 Big Ten) downed Wisconsin last weekend – a team Penn State couldn’t handle earlier this spring.

But after Penn State (8-10, 3-6 Big Ten) grabbed the doubles point, the Lions won at the No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 positions to cruise to victory.

“We controlled our doubles point and we did a good job of controlling our game in singles,” Lions coach Buffy Baker said.

On Saturday, after being swept in doubles action, sophomore Jane Anderson was the only Minnesota player able to force a third set against the Hoosiers in singles. Anderson fell 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (1) to Sigrid Fischer at No. 4 singles.