Geatz takes consolation bracket

by Zach Eisendrath

Minnesota’s men’s tennis team went to the Denver Invitational looking for consistency – what they got what was a dose of inconsistency.

The Gophers entered the tournament coming off an impressive showing at the Crimson Falls Roll Tide Invitational last weekend; they left with mixed results.

Minnesota got off to a rocky start when juniors D.J. Geatz, Sion Wilkins and Andres Osorio each lost their opening round Flight A singles matches.

“It was the first tournament for us three and the adjustment was rough,” junior Sion Wilkins said. “No matter how long you practice (match play) is a different situation.”

After stumbling out of the blocks, the weekend got progressively better.

Highlighting the Gophers weekend was the notable play of Geatz. After a disappointing 6-4, 6-3 loss to No. 7 seed Jan Zelezny of Colorado, he bounced back in the consolation draw.

Geatz dismantled Denver’s Steve Flaks in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Following his 6-4, 6-2 win over Colorado’s Eric Molnar, Trevor Johnson of Air Force forfeited due to injury, leaving Geatz in the consolation finals.

He defeated Nebraska’s James Clow 7-6, 7-5 to win the consolation bracket.

“Well, I thought D.J. was playing poorly,” coach David Geatz said. “He played a bad first match but came back and won the consolation draw. He ended up playing very well.”

Both Osorio and Wilkins, on the other hand, had up-and-down weekends.

Osorio had a narrow opening round loss 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 to Utah’s Miron Mann. He rebounded with a 7-6, 7-5 upset of No. 5 seed Max Jones of New Mexico.

He was eliminated in his consolation quarterfinal match to Colorado’s Chad Tsuda 6-3, 6-1.

Wilkins followed a similar pattern.

He lost 7-6 (4), 6-3 to New Mexico’s Johnny Parkes to start off his fall season.

“I had plenty of chances to win,” Wilkins said. “If I played him again I would have won.”

Wilkins bounced back with an impressive 6-3, 6-2 victory over Kevin Borzenski of Pepperdine in the back draw – drawing rave reviews from David Geatz.

“Sion Wilkins is playing at another level better than he did last year,” he said.

But like his fellow teammate, Wilkins fell in his consolation quarterfinal match 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to Johnson.

David Geatz said he wasn’t too concerned about the final results.

“This is a chance to get people some matches in fall,” David Geatz said. “It’s more of a preseason thing. It’s a chance to see what our guys need to work on.”

One aspect Minnesota has stressed all fall is finding more reliability out of its doubles players.

Winning the doubles point could be the key to a successful run in the Big Ten this spring.

“If we’ve had a weakness over the last few years it has been our doubles,” Wilkins said. “Our singles have been strong but we have struggled winning the doubles point.”

The Gophers put on a solid performance in the single-elimination open doubles draw.

The tandem of D.J. Geatz and Osorio went 2-1 for the weekend, starting off the fall season by dismantling New Mexico’s Chandler Brass and Derek Lynch, 8-1.

Minnesota’s twosome downed Jones and Johnny Parkes of New Mexico, 8-3, prior to eventually being ousted by the second-seeded pair of Adam Holmstrom and Niklas Persson of Denver 8-3 in the quarterfinals.

“The team they lost to played one of the cleanest matches I have ever seen,” Wilkins said. “Andres and D.J. have nothing to be mad about.”

David Geatz said his team didn’t play badly, rather that they faced a tough opponent that was on top of their game.

“The team played great,” Geatz said. “Anything can happen when you play an eight-game pro-set. (Denver) deserved to win.”