The fall season opens this weekend for the University of Minnesota men's tennis team as the Gophers send five players to the Northwestern Invitational beginning Friday in Evanston, Ill.
Four of the Gophers' five competitors this weekend will be from the team's solid incoming freshman class. Senior Adam Altepeter is the only returning player competing this weekend. He opens with a first round match against Gursher Tarika of Toledo in the B singles flight.
Two of Minnesota's newcomers will be tested in their collegiate debuts with matches against highly-seeded opponents. Jake Annear drew second-seeded Marc Dwyer of Northwestern and Michael Sicora challenges fourth-seeded Kevin Hayward of Western Michigan. Philip Arndt is also taking part in the A flight bracket and meets Alex Thams of Northwestern. Eddie Svenda will play in the B flight draw and meet Juan Munoz of DePaul in the opening match.
The four freshmen will also compete in doubles as Arndt and Sicora will play Austin Brooks and Billy Gardner of Michigan State in the A flight and Annear and Svenda drew Tommy McGeorge and Will Vasos in the B flight.
Both singles flights consist of 32 players and feature opening round matches on Friday with two rounds Saturday and two rounds Sunday. The doubles brackets have 16 players each and open with two rounds Friday and a single round each on Saturday and Sunday.
Minnesota is coming off a 7-17 overall season that saw the Gophers finish the season strong with five wins in their last eight matches, ending with a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to second-seeded Wisconsin in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Minnesota returns three of its top four competitors from the 2007-08 squad and has added six newcomers to the roster.