Feb. 17, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State University men's tennis team played with a sense of urgency on Saturday afternoon at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility, but fell short to the visiting No. 25 Minnesota Gophers, 4-3, in the Big Ten opener.
The match came down to the No. 6 singles match between MSU's Scott Rasmussen and Minnesota's Sion Wilkins, which eventually led to Michigan State's defeat.
"It shows we can play with any team," said head coach Gene Orlando regarding the close loss. "It was an opportunity to get a great win, but it did not go our way. We are very capable of playing at this level and anybody can beat any team at any given time as we saw today."
The No. 3 doubles pair of Tyler Sauerbrey and John Allare fell behind early to the Gophers' Nich Edlefsen and Chi Pham, 6-3, only to come back and win three consecutive games to even the score at 6-all. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the three-game run was not enough to get them past Minnesota, losing 8-6.
The duo of Nick Rinks and Adam Monich, also found themselves in a hole behind Minnesota's Wilkins and D.J. Geatz, 6-3 at No. 1 doubles. The Green and White made its own surge, coming back with three games, tying the score at 6-6. Trailing 8-7, Rinks recorded three aces and put the Spartans in a tiebreaker situation at 8-all. In the tie breaker the MSU stayed in front a majority of the time, only letting Wilkins and Geatz tie at four and six, but eventually winning the breaker, 8-6.
With both teams winning a doubles set, the point came down to the match-up between the No. 2 teams of MSU's Alex Forger and Michael Flowers and Minnesota's Raoul Schwark and Mikey Kantar. Staying close for the entire set, the point came down to another tiebreaker, but the Spartans were not able to hold on and dropped the tiebreaker, 7-4, giving the doubles point to Minnesota.
"It was a tough match with two breakers at one and two. It could have gone either way and unfortunately, it did not go our way," said Orlando.
The Spartans made up some ground with two wins by Rinks and Monich at singles.
Rinks was the first Spartan player off the court concluding singles play. The No. 51 player in the nation easily handled the No. 58 player, Schwark, 6-4, 6-2, and improved his solo spring record to 5-4 at the No.1 spot.
Monich continued his great play from the doubles match, taking down Kantar in consecutive sets, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 3 singles and placing the Green and White up 2-1 in the match.
The Gophers tied it up, 2-all, at the No. 4 spot, as Allare was defeated by Edlefsen 6-4, 6-1.
The next match leaving the court was No. 5 Jason Norville versus Minnesota's Dino Bilankov. Bilankov took the first set, 6-3, only to have Norville blank him in the second set 6-0. In the third and final set, Norville fell behind and dropped the set, 7-5.
Minnesota went up 3-2 with two matches still left on the court.
Forger, at No. 2, lost the first set, 6-4, to Geatz. He came back in the second, tying the score, 1-1, with a 6-3 win. In the third, Forger took the momentum from the second set and held off Geatz, 6-0.
The final match for the win, came down to No. 6 singles match between the Spartan's Scott Rasmussen and Wilkins. The Spartans took the first set 7-6 (12-10) in the tiebreaker, but lost the last two sets, 6-3, 6-1, posting a 4-3 victory for Minnesota.
Michigan State falls to 6-5, 0-1 in conference and No. 25 Minnesota improves to 6-2, 1-0 in conference.
Next up for the Spartans is the second of six matches at home, as they take on Purdue on Saturday, Feb. 24 at noon.