Gophers men’s tennis drop two conferences matches over the weekend

Minnesota lost to both Iowa and Nebraska over the weekend.

Senior Josip Krstanovic competes in his singles match on Friday, March 22 at the Baseline Tennis Center. 

Courtney Deutz

Senior Josip Krstanovic competes in his singles match on Friday, March 22 at the Baseline Tennis Center. 

David Mullen

Although the University of Minnesota’s men’s tennis team kicked off the Big Ten season with a victory last weekend, they dropped two consecutive matches to Iowa and Nebraska in week two. 

“After two disappointing conferences losses, we have to get back to work and discover the passion for the sport,” said Associate Head Coach Urban Ljubic in a statement.

For the second-straight match, the Gophers’ doubles team could not get the job done. They lost the point as the No. 1 was defeated 6-1 and the No. 2 was defeated 6-3. 

The first points for Minnesota were not added until the conclusion of the second singles match. Marino Alepza bounced back from his loss on Friday, taking his match in two sets: 6-1 and 6-4. This cut the Cornhuskers’ lead down to one.

Even though the Gophers looked to add more points, they were only successful in two other matches. Vlad Lobak finished his weekend with a second straight win in two sets: 6-4 and 6-4, which improves his overall record to 13-3. 

In the final match of the day, Stefan Milicevic added one more point to the Gophers’ score by winning a nail biter in three sets: 7-5, 3-6 and 6-3. 

Minnesota ultimately fell to Nebraska by one with a final score of 4-3.

Iowa

On Friday, before the trip down to Lincoln, Nebraska, the Gophers hosted Iowa.

However, the Hawkeyes narrowly got past Minnesota with a score of 4-3. 

“Iowa fought hard and they’re good competitors, so I give them credit for how they compete,” said Head Coach Geoff Young.

The Gophers began the singles portion of the match down a point because the doubles teams did not get the job done. On the other hand, the No. 2 doubles did all they could. They were the only team to get a match victory this weekend. 

The team of Jackson Allen and Eli Ogilvy easily won their match 6-2. The No. 3 doubles team, pushing it to 6-6, fell short, losing 7-6 (6) and giving Iowa a 1-0 lead.

The Gophers went into the singles matches needing to pull out four wins, but only managed to capture three.

Lobak took charge quickly, taking the first set 6-2. Although his opponent Piotr Smietana would take an early lead in the second set, Lobak was not stopped. After trailing 4-2, he came back and won the match 7-5. 

“[Vlad is] really tough to beat, especially at six, or really anywhere in the lineup,” Young said. 

Following Lobak’s lead was Milicevic, who won his match in style: 6-4, 6-4. 

The final win for the Gophers came in the No. 1 singles from Josip Krstanovic. Despite falling behind 5-2 in the opening set, Krstanovic fought back and tied the set at 6-6.

“At 5-2 I believed that I could still come back,” Krstanovic said. He lost the initial set, but came back firing in the second, taking it easily 6-1.

The third and final set was back and forth. Krstanovic dropped the first point, but again answered. Eventually, Krstanovic won the set 6-4.

“I bounced back really well and I started to play really aggressive,” Krstanovic said.

The Gophers will return to action on Friday as they travel to Penn State.