Sicora, Wernet prove to be a strong duo for Minnesota

This was the kind of weekend the Gophers menâÄôs tennis team was hoping for. The ITA regional tournament was the most successful tournament thus far for the young Minnesota team. The younger players stepped up, all qualifying for the main draw of competition. This included freshman Michael Sicora , who won one match before falling to 26th nationally ranked opponent Austen Childs. Freshman Phillip Arndt also won his first match of the main draw before losing to second-seeded Bryan Koniecko of Ohio State. Freshman Julian Dehn lost his first match in the main draw. âÄúThey were great on the court,âÄù coach Geoff Young said. âÄúThey played with a lot of positive energy and did some things we were working on in practice.âÄù Sophomore Tobias Wernet fought his way to the final 16 of the main draw, but lost in a three-set battle with No. 1-seeded Justin Kronauge of Ohio State. The highlight of the weekend, however, was the breakout performance of Wernet and Sicora, the new doubles duo for the Gophers. The pair pulled out victories against Northern Illinois and Western Michigan in the first two rounds of the main draw and just kept rolling. A third-round upset against a 39th nationally ranked Wisconsin team set up a crucial quarterfinal match. Before the big match, Young spoke about the success of Sicora and Wernet. âÄúTheyâÄôve really overachieved so far this tournament,âÄù Young said. They went on to impress as they upset the third-seeded team of Billy Heiser and Ruan Roelofse of Illinois . It was not a simple task. Sicora and Wernet won 9-8 after a 7-2 tiebreaker win. âÄúIn the tiebreak I went to Michael and I said, âÄòHey this tiebreak, if we win, is gonna bring us more energy,âÄô and we brought so much more energy in the tiebreak,âÄù Wernet said. The word âÄúenergyâÄù best describes the weekend for Minnesota; it emanated from the whole team all weekend. âÄúA lot of coaches come from other schools and they come to tournaments and theyâÄôre like, âÄòHey, why is your team so pumped on the court? Why do they bring so much energy and attitude?âÄô âÄù Wernet said. WernetâÄôs style: Screaming. He can almost always be heard in practice and matches. The energy, however, eventually faded. High-seeded opponents from Louisville proved to be too much for Wernet and Sicora as the pair fell 8-4 in the semifinal match . Serving was difficult for both players. âÄúI feel like when I play with [Wernet], I need to step up my game because I donâÄôt want to let him down,âÄù Sicora said. As far as Wernet is concerned, there were no let-downs. âÄúMichael did a great job too. For a freshman he played amazing,âÄù Wernet said. âÄúWeâÄôre getting [to be] a team. âĦ Over this weekend I really saw how the team is growing together and thatâÄôs whatâÄôs most important. And then if you have success, thatâÄôs even more important, because everyone wants everyone to win.âÄù