Young excited about his young players

Freshman Phil Arndt and Michael Sicora are two of the newest additions to the Minnesota men’s tennis team who are making an impact already.

Paul Bangasser

Freshman Phil Arndt and Michael Sicora are two of the newest additions to the Minnesota men’s tennis team who are making an impact already.

Since taking the head coaching position for the Gophers two years ago, Geoff Young has seen the menâÄôs tennis team rapidly change right in front of his eyes. After leading experienced teams of upperclassmen to highly successful seasons the past two years, Young now prepares to lead a team mainly composed of freshmen and foreign players into the 2008-2009 season. Minnesota has six freshmen this year, unlike any other season. âÄúIâÄôm really excited about all of the young players on our team,âÄù Young said. As for the six international players on one Big Ten team, Young explained how tennis is really a global sport and that regardless of origin, âÄúIâÄôm looking for the best students, players and people [to play].âÄù Eddie Svenda, a freshmen international player from Slovakia, along with senior Adam Altepeter and three other freshmen traveled to YoungâÄôs alma mater, Northwestern, this past weekend to showcase what the team was all about. The new team didnâÄôt get off to a great start and even dropped every doubles match right away, but finished the weekend strong with consolation wins from every singles player. This included the one senior along for the ride, Altepeter, who won three straight consolation matches to redeem his first round loss. Young has all the best to say about this leader, noting that at Northwestern, âÄúHe brought a lot of added energy.âÄù Young went on to say that Altepeter set an example for the four freshmen, including top singles recruit and two-time Minnesota high school state champion Michael Sicora. Sicora also had an association with Northwestern last weekend, as he actually signed with the Wildcats before the season started. This changed in August, when the Buffalo, Minn., native decided to stay close to home and attend Minnesota. âÄúI always knew I wanted to be here,âÄù Sicora said. âÄúIâÄôve always been attracted by what Minnesota has to offer.âÄù By staying close to home, Sicora had the benefit of being comfortable in his environment and being able to focus solely on his game. But Sicora, speaking for the rest of his fellow freshmen, emphasized the difference between high school and Big Ten tennis. âÄúItâÄôs a huge, huge change,âÄù he said. Practicing more than twice as much as he did in high school to prepare for competition from the top teams in the country âÄî many of them Big Ten teams âÄî gives Sicora a lot to handle. However, Young gave the newcomer some deserved attention. âÄúHeâÄôs going to bring some added depth,âÄù Young said. âÄúHe can already compete with some top college players.âÄù In respect to chemistry and friendships for the team as a whole, Sicora reported that from the start, âÄúIt was so easy for us to get along.âÄù Sicora and Phil Arndt, another freshman, are now roommates, friends and doubles partners. âÄúThe more chemistry we have off the court, the more we have on the court,âÄù Sicora said. Arndt also had lots to add about the positive relationship between the two, saying that they communicated well. Even though most of the team, especially the freshmen, are used to singles play, theyâÄôre starting to understand the concept of playing for a Minnesota team that values teamwork and doubles play, which are things that will be worked on over time. But for now, Young not only wants to get to know the underclassmen and their game, but also on a personal level. âÄúTheyâÄôre going to be a tremendous lift for our team in many different ways,âÄù Young said.