Minnesota used a thrilling doubles competition rally to spark a 6-1 win over 70th-ranked Northwestern on Friday night at the Baseline Tennis Center. With the victory, the No. 20 Gophers improved to 10-2 on the season, 5-0 at home, and 2-0 in Big Ten play.
"Any Big Ten win is a good win. They’re a good team," said Minnesota head coach Geoff Young, a 1994 Northwestern graduate and former Wildcat tennis co-captain. "There was a great crowd and it was nice to get to four points fairly quickly [after a lengthy doubles competition]."
The Wildcats gained the edge in doubles play by winning 8-5 at No. 3, but UM was able to claw its way back. At the second position, Rok Bonin and Tobias Wernet were able to pull Minnesota even with a narrow 9-7 win.
Then, with the first point of the match on the line, Sebastian Gallego and Phillip Arndt erased 7-4 and 8-7 deficits to force a super tiebreaker with NU’s Spencer Wolf and Joshua Graves. After going back and forth for 29 points, Gallego and Arndt finally ended a 9-8 (14) marathon match to give the Gophers a lead they would not relinquish.
"The doubles point was as close of a doubles point as I’ve ever been a part of in college tennis. It was crazy," said Young. "To get that was a big lift and a load off our shoulders."
After locking down the doubles point, UM carried the momentum through singles play.
Bonin and Arndt made quick of their NU counterparts, winning 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 and 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4, respectively. Julian Dehn iced the win with a 6-3, 6-2 triumph at the six spot and Brendan Ruddock and Gallego capped the Gopher scoring with straight-set wins of their own.
"We came out in singles and just rolled, which was nice to see," Young said. "We got a great performance from Phillip Arndt today. He stepped it up and played great tennis."
UM will get back to work tomorrow, hosting Denver at 5 p.m. Both Young and associate coach Urban Ljubic are former Pioneer coaches. Ljubic also played three years of college tennis at DU, compiling 43 wins. In addition, Bonin’s brother, Enej, is a Denver sophomore and is the reigning Sun Belt Conference Men's Tennis Player of the Week.
No. 22 Minnesota 6, No. 70 Northwestern 1
March 25, 2011
Baseline Tennis Center · Minneapolis, Minn.
1. No. 114 Joshua Graves (NU) def. Tobias Wernet (MINN) 6-4, 7-5
2. Rok Bonin (MINN) def. Sidarth Balaji (NU)
3. Sebastian Gallego (MINN) def. Spencer Wolf (NU)
6-3, 7-6 (4)
4. Phillip Arndt (MINN) def. Andrew McCarthy (NU)
5. Brendan Ruddock (MINN) def. Raleigh Smith (NU)
6. Julian Dehn (MINN) def. Chris Jackman (NU)
1. Sebastian Gallego/Phillip Arndt (MINN) def. Spencer Wolf/Joshua Graves (NU) 9-8 (14)
2. Rok Bonin/Tobias Wernet (MINN) def. Andrew McCarthy/Tobias Reitz (NU) 9-7
3. Raleigh Smith/Chris Jackman (NU) def. Brendan Ruddock/Julian Dehn (MINN) 8-5
Northwestern 9-6 (0-1 Big Ten); National ranking No. 70
Minnesota 10-2 (2-0 Big Ten); National ranking No. 22
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,4,6,5,3,1)