|2018 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament
|No. 37 Gophers (17-8) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (31-2)
||Friday, May 18, 12 p.m. ET|
|Location||Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center, Winston-Salem, N.C.|
|Follow Live||Home Page | Live Stats
Watch: Court 1 | Court 2 | Court 3 | Court 4 | Court 5 | Court 6
|Social Media||@GopherMTennis | Facebook | Instagram|
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The No. 37-ranked Gopher Men’s Tennis team will face off with Big Ten Conference rival No. 3 Ohio State for a third time this season as the NCAA Tournament continues with the round of 16 at the Leighton Family Courts on the campus of Wake Forest.
No. 37 Minnesota (17-8) met No. 3 Ohio State (31-2) twice in the past 50 days, falling 5-2 to the Buckeyes at Baseline Tennis Center during the regular season and 4-1 in Iowa City at the Big Ten Tournament.
"Ohio State is a team that could win the whole thing; that's as good as it gets in college tennis," head coach Geoff Young told GopherSports earlier this week. "So when we played them tough at home, that lifted us. When we did it again in the Big Ten Tournament that lifted us even more.”
In the regular season bout, the Gophers played the Buckeyes tough, winning two matches in straight sets and forcing three more to a third set. Two ranked players from Minnesota – No. 85 Matic Spec and No. 79 Stefan Milicevic – earned ranked wins at #2 and #3 singles, respectively. Spec knocked off then-No. 43 J.J. Wolf while Milicevic defeated then-No. 78 John McNally. Felix Corwin, Eli Ogilvy, and Josip Krstanovic all pushed their opponents to three sets but inevitably fell.
In the rematch, Wolf edged out Spec, while Milicevic and McNally’s match-up was in the third set upon match conclusion. At the top of the line-up, though, Felix Corwin earned his first of three-straight ranked wins in his last three matches, defeating then-No. 5 Mikael Torpegaard in straight sets.
The trio remains ranked for the Buckeyes: Torpegaard at No. 6, Wolf at No. 41, and McNally at No. 92. No. 96 Kyle Seelig and No. 112 Martin Joyce round out the nationally recognized talent on Ohio State. The Buckeyes also have two ranked doubles pairings with Torpegaard and Joyce at No. 25 and Torpegaard and McNally at No. 61.
Minnesota has won the doubles point in 5-of-its-last-8 including in the team’s 4-0 sweep over No. 14 Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. While the Gophers do not have any ranked doubles pairings, the team of Corwin and Josip Krstanovic earned a ranked win over Alexander Bakshi and Jake Van Emburgh of Oklahoma last week, and even in losing the doubles point against No. 19 Gerogia, the team showed an ability to come from behind and claim a win with 4-of-6 singles victories.
Late last month, a trio of Gophers earned All-Big Ten honors. Matic Spec earned his fourth All-Big Ten First Team selection during his senior campaign, while Felix Corwin joined him on the First Team and Stefan Milicevic earned his first All-Big Ten selection on the Second Team. Spec finished the Big Ten season a perfect 10-0 at the #2 singles position. Corwin went 7-3 at the #1 singles spot, while Milicevic was 7-3 at #3. Corwin also received Minnesota’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award selection for 2018.
Felix Corwin earned a selection to this month’s NCAA Singles Tournament as one of 49 at-large selections announced earlier this month. Wake Forest hosts the event as well in Winston-Salem beginning on Wednesday, May 23. The Gophers’ last selection to the field was Leandro Toledo in 2015.
Gophers in the Polls
Minnesota held serve at the No. 37 ranking following the Big Ten Tournament, while each of its three singles stars moved up in the Oracle/ITA Division I Rankings. Felix Corwin leaped from 79 to No. 53 last week after his upset victory over No. 6 Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State. After going 1-0 on the weekend, Stefan Milicevic moved up from 79 to No. 81. Matic Spec went winless on the weekend, snapping his nine-match winning streak, but moved up five spots from 90 to No. 85.
Surveying the Field
The winner of Minnesota vs No. 3 Ohio State will take on the winner of No. 6 Mississippi State vs. No. 11 Texas in the round of eight on Sunday at Wake Forest. The Gophers are just one of three un-seeded teams to advance to the Sweet 16, joining Alabama and Ole Miss as Regional Champions that came into the tournament with a lower ranking.
First serve between the Gophers and Buckeyes is set for 12 p.m. ET on Friday.
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