The Gophers swept Santa Barbara 7-0 en route to their 3rd consecutive win.
Senior Stefan Milicevic secured a big victory in the No. 1 singles spot over one of the top-ranked college tennis players in the nation.
Last Saturday, Milicevic was able to defeat No. 8 Joseph Guillin 7-6, 7-5 in a closely contested match at the Baseline Tennis Center.
Milicevic’s No.1 singles spot record is 5-3. Milicevic’s overall singles record is 12-7.
Milicevic was aware of the intensity during his match against Joseph and was happy when he hit the game-winning shot.
“I felt relieved to hit the game-winning point–it was a long match and points were hard to come by, Milicevic said. “When that last shot hit the net, I was happy that this long match came to an end. It was a great win.”
Milicevic’s gameplan to stay aggressive and consistently attack Guillin from all angles of the court came from his familiarity with Guillin’s playstyle.
“I know the guy from Junior tennis and he’s not the hardest hitter, so I knew I had to stay aggressive, step into my hits, take chances and take the opportunity to get the upper-hand.”
Milicevic is the first Gopher player to beat a top-10 opponent since Felix Corwin in 2018, when he beat then No. 4 ranked Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State in straight sets.
Milicevic is confident in the Gopher’s gameplan in preparing for their next match against Pepperdine this upcoming Sunday.
“We have a long week to prepare and practice, Milicevic said. “We’re going to work hard and practice our fundamentals and step into this match.”
Prior to Stefan’s match against Joseph, he was ranked No. 85 singles player. Stefan is currently ranked No. 67 singles player in the nation.
Milicevic secured a big win last weekend, but that wasn’t his only big win.
Stefan won 6 Tennis Europe titles and ITF Junior title while representing his home nation of Serbia in high school.
In the Spring of Milicevic’s sophomore 2017, he won ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year–finishing 17-7 in singles games. In the Fall of 2017, he defeated Toby Boyer of Nebraska 6-1, 6-1 to win the ITA Central Regional Championship.
Last Fall, Milicevic was the only Gopher to qualify for ITA Fall Nationals in Bonita Springs, Calif., where he defeated No. 55 ranked singles player Sean Hill of BYU 7-6 (0), 6-7 (4), 7-5.
He earned a spot in the ITA Central Regional Singles Championship match, defeating Mason Beiler of Oklahoma, the No. 5 ranked singles player in the central region, on the way to the final, but was the ITA Central Regional Singles Runner-Up.
Stefan finished as the No. 33 ranked singles player in the nation according to ITA.
Headcoach Geoff Young is confident in his players.
“The confidence doesn’t come from winning, but from putting in the work and working on things during the week that we know are going to help us win the tough matches, Young said. “I’m concerned about Pepperdine because they have good players and they’ll be eager to play us, but we’re comfortable at home and after a good, long week of practice, we’ll be ready.”
The Gophers play Pepperdine at the Baseline Tennis Center this Sunday.