Gophers Hand Spartans First Round Loss in Big Ten Championships
April 24, 2008
IOWA CITY - The Michigan State men's tennis team fell to Minnesota, 4-1, in the first round of the Big Ten Championships at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Thursday night. The Gophers jumped on the Spartans early, taking two of three from MSU in doubles. Minnesota then took three matches in singles competition, ending the Spartans' season. Nick Rinks claimed the only victory on the day for Michigan State, avenging a March 4 loss to Raoul Schwark, downing the Minnesota senior in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.
The Gophers took the 1-0 lead over the Spartans after winning the early doubles point. At No. 1, John Allare and Alex Forger fell to Minnesota's Sebastian Gallego and Dino Bilankov, 8-5, while MSU's Adam Monich and Billy Gardner lost to Chi-Lang Pham and Tobias Wernet, 8-5, at No. 2. Rinks and John Stratton picked up the win at No. 3, defeating Schwark and Pierre Dumas, 8-3.
Minnesota took a 2-0 lead early in singles play as Dumas downed MSU's Brendan Kinkopf in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3.
The Spartans gained some ground, bringing the match to within one point after Rinks' win at No. 1.
But the Gophers shut the door on the Spartans' bid for a comeback, finishing the last two matches at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. At No. 2 Minnesota's Wernet beat Forger, 6-2, 6-4, while Allare was dropped by Gallego, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 3.
"We gave it our best shot today," said MSU head coach Gene Orlando. "I think Minnesota was just the better team on this particular day. We had some chances and we needed a few things to go our way, but in the end it just didn't work in our favor."
MSU ends the 2008 campaign with a 12-13 record.
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