April 19, 2012
The Minnesota men’s tennis team concludes regular-season play this weekend when they host Big Ten newcomer Nebraska on Friday and then travel to rival Iowa on Sunday.
The Gophers, who are ranked No. 35 in the nation, enter their final match of the season at Baseline Tennis Center with an 11-6 overall record and a 6-3 mark in the Big Ten. Minnesota, which is 7-1 at home (lone loss was to No. 3 Ohio State), has won two straight matches against ranked foes Purdue and Indiana.
Prior to Friday’s match, the Gophers will honor seniors Phillip Arndt, Julian Dehn and Michael Sicora. Arndt has 72 career wins in singles play, while Sicora has 42. Dehn has 75 career wins in singles, but will go down in history as one of the best Gophers ever to play doubles. Dehn, who set a program record last season with 28 wins in doubles play, has 77 career doubles wins which places him tied for fourth all-time (record is 81 career wins).
The match between Minnesota and the 71st-ranked Cornhuskers will be the first-ever Big Ten meeting between the two schools in men’s tennis. However, it will be the third straight year that the two teams will have faced one another. The Gophers posted a 4-3 road win in 2010 and won 6-1 last year in Lincoln.
The Cornhuskers are 10-12 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten. However, of their six conference defeats, three of them have been 4-3 decisions and one was a 5-2 affair. Nebraska has lost three straight matches and is 4-7 on the road this year.
Nebraska is paced by No. 72 Christopher Aumueller and No. 106 Benedikt Lindheim. Aumueller is 16-14 this year and 10-10 in spring play. He has played 18 of his 20 matches this spring at No. 1 singles and his highlight win of the season was a 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (5) upset win against No. 5 Blaz Rola of Ohio State in March.
Lindheim leads Nebraska with a 24-9 record. He is 15-6 this spring, while playing 17 matches at second singles (12-5 in those matches).
Aumueller and Lindheim combine to form the No. 27 doubles team in the nation. They are 22-9 overall and 12-5 in the spring season. However, the duo’s last win was an 8-4 win against No. 13 Evan King and Shaun Bernstein of Michigan on April 14. The following day against Michigan State, Aumueller played with Stefan Gollner at the third slot, while Lindheim played with Robert Schulze at second doubles.
Minnesota will travel to Iowa on Sunday to face the Hawkeyes to end the regular season. Iowa is 1-19 overall and 0-9 in the Big Ten.
After this weekend the Gophers will head to Evanston, Ill., for the Big Ten tournament from April 26-29. A year ago, the third-seeded Gophers advanced to the Big Ten tournament final where they lost to Ohio State.