Men’s tennis continues its tourney habit

by Michael Rand

It’s official. No one can call the Gophers men’s tennis team’s title this weekend at the NCAA Region IV Championships a surprise.
Disregard Minnesota’s low seed (sixth out of eight teams), throw out the team’s 11-12 record heading into the tourney and forget that the team has been plagued by inconsistency all season.
The Gophers’ history of performing above their regular-season level at regionals supersedes all other factors.
Freshman Tyson Parry, a late substitute for the flu-ridden Martin Kristoffersen, won the deciding match in the first round against No. 24 Notre Dame and in the championship against No. 11 Duke. Between those 4-3 wins, the Gophers disposed of Northwestern 4-2.
“I just wanted to win the match for the team and the coaches,” Parry said after Sunday’s title-clincher.
The tourney run marked the third consecutive year Minnesota has followed up a mediocre regular season by coming within one win of the NCAA Championships. The Gophers won the regional title in 1996 and finished as the runner-up last season.
This year’s burst left Duke coach Jay Lapidus trying to explain what happened.
“It seems like destiny was on their side the whole weekend,” Lapidus said. “They came out like they had nothing to lose. It’s hard to believe they came in with the record they did. They are really peaking right now.”
Minnesota (14-12) will find out later this week who it plays at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga. The team lost to Mississippi 4-0 in its 1996 tourney appearance.
“We don’t care who we play or when we play,” Gophers coach David Geatz said. “We’re happy, we’re fortunate, we’re lucky.”
Soccer complex gets boost
The Gophers women’s athletics department received a $900,000 gift from Deborah Robbie Olson for the building of a new soccer facility and an endowed scholarship for a Minnesota soccer player.
The gift is in addition to the $1.2 million recently appropriated by the state Legislature for a new soccer facility.
Men’s golf sixth at regionals
The Gophers men’s golf team finished in sixth place at the NCAA Central Regional this weekend and qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second time since 1972.
Martin LeMesurier led the way for the 17th-ranked Gophers, shooting a 2-over 215 for the three-round tournament. Bill Thompson (216), Rob Kerr (217), Adam Dooley (219) and James McLean (220) all finished in the top 50 for Minnesota.