Geatz and Edlefsen fall at ITA All-American tourney

Mike Mullen

Nick Edlefsen had his chance.

In the second round of pre-qualifying at the ITA All-American Championships on Saturday, Edlefsen faced Oklahoma’s Marek Velicka. With the game score knotted at 5-5 in the third set of the three-plus-hour match in the Chattanooga, Tenn., heat, Edlefsen had a break point at ad-out. Then Velicka’s first serve went out. Edlefsen stepped into the court looking for a second serve he could jump on.

“Sometimes (Velicka) would hit this really weak second serve just to get it in,” Edlefsen said.

And then the chance was gone.

Velicka, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from the Czech Republic, sent a blistering serve out wide for an ace. Edlefsen didn’t even move.

He ended up losing the game and the match 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1). Both Edlefson and D.J. Geatz were eliminated from singles play and doubles play this weekend. Senior Avery Ticer will begin play in the main draw Thursday.

But Edlefsen’s elimination was particularly troubling.

“It was a pretty stupid play, if you ask me,” Edlefsen said, estimating that Velicka’s crucial serve topped 120 mph. “But I guess it worked for him. There was nothing I could do except walk to the other side.”

Coach David Geatz said he was content with Edlefsen’s play but knows that he could have won the match.

“He had him at 4-0 in the third set, and then he dropped five games in a row,” David Geatz said. “He let the guy back into the match. But I will say that at the end of the match, that was some pretty good tennis.”

D.J. Geatz lost 6-1, 6-3 in the first round to Max Jones on Friday, who David Geatz said will play in the No. 1 spot for New Mexico this year.

“D.J. played a poor match,” David Geatz said. “I’m disappointed, and I know he’s disappointed. I guess I’d rather he have a bad match now than when the Big Ten season starts.

“Anyway, he’s a tough kid – he’ll be back.”

In doubles action, the team of D.J. Geatz and Edlefsen made it out of the first round of prequalifying but lost 8-1 in the second round to Markus Dickhardt and Dontia Haynes of San Diego State.

Ticer, who was automatically entered into the 64-player main draw with his win at the ITA National Summer Championships in August, is the lone Gopher still alive in the tournament.

Ticer said he has mostly been on his own program of conditioning and playing sets to prepare for the tournament.

And as for the heat, Ticer – a Texas native who grew up idolizing the incessant ground strokes of Andre Agassi – said he thinks his background and his game will do just fine in Tennessee.

“I actually think the heat is good for me,” Ticer said. “I like to play longer points and make my opponent run, and wear him out. So I think that will work for me.”