Men nearly beat Ohio State, fall to 1-1 in Big Ten action

David McCoy

Minnesota’s men’s tennis team came just short of upsetting No. 7 Ohio State on Sunday at the Sports Pavilion.

After getting swept in all three doubles matches, the Gophers battled back and nearly won enough singles matches to knock off the Buckeyes.

But Ohio State still prevailed 5-2.

“I thought we had a really good shot to win it,” junior Nic Edlefsen said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been quite as proud of our team as I am right now. We gave ourselves an unbelievable chance to win this, despite losing the doubles point, which we seem to do every time.”

With wins by Raoul Schwark and Edlefsen at Nos. 1 and 2 singles in the bag along with losses at 5 and 6, Minnesota had to win at 3 and 4 to pull off the upset.

And it nearly did just that.

At No. 3 singles, D.J. Geatz took Ohio State’s Chris Klingemann to the wire in three sets before Klingemann pulled out the 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 win.

Geatz and Klingemann were tied 4-4 in the final set before Klingemann pulled away.

Andres Osorio was leading Devin Mullings 4-2. But then Geatz lost, and it affected Osorio as he then fell to Mullings 7-5, 5-7, 7-5.

“It did affect him for sure,” coach David Geatz said. “The other guy was in the same situation. His team had already clinched the match and he’s down a break. It would have been easy for that guy to quit and he didn’t.”

Edlefsen’s win over Bryan Koniecko typified Minnesota’s battle-back mentality all afternoon.

Edlefsen came within match point of not only losing his match, but also ending Minnesota’s chances of earning the upset with Geatz and Osorio still fighting.

But Edlefson won the volley, and then three-straight games to win 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

“I was really impressed with Nic,” Geatz said. “Nic hung tough the whole match and he never went away. And he just battled from start to finish. That’s all you can ever ask. Win or lose, I would have been still impressed with Nic.”

Adrien Debreyne and Mikey Kantar lost 6-2, 6-3 and 6-2, 7-6, at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, and the Gophers couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start.

Minnesota lost all three doubles matches and Schwark was the only Gophers player to win his first singles set. He later won 6-2, 3-6, 7-6.

But that made Minnesota’s comeback all that much more impressive, and Geatz believes Sunday’s near win can lead to great things later this season.

“(Ohio State’s) a great team and it was close,” Geatz said. “Sometimes you get those moral victories and they don’t go that far. But hopefully the team will play well against Michigan and Michigan State this weekend.”

Women lose on the road

Minnesota’s women’s tennis team also fell 5-2 to the Buckeyes.

The match mirrored the men’s exactly, as the women dropped all three doubles matches, won Nos. 1 and 2 singles and lost Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

Minnesota’s Nischela Reddy and Ida Malmberg won their respective matches rather handily – 6-2, 6-2 and 7-5, 6-2, respectively.

Caitlin O’Keefe and Julie Blackmore beat Reddy and Malmberg 8-5, Sonia Ruzimovsky and Angela DiPastina beat Mariana Spilca and Danielle Mousseau 8-5, and Ciara Finucane and Kristin Messmer beat Marina Bugaenco and Shelby Rohrer 8-2 as Ohio State swept doubles play.

“It was a really encouraging match,” coach Tyler Thomson said. “We had some extremely good performances in singles. And I really think the team’s playing quite well right now.”