Men's Tennis preview: Minnesota
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 22 Texas kicks off its highly-anticipated 2006 dual-match season Saturday when the Longhorns travel to Minneapolis, Minn., to take on No. 54 Minnesota. Match time is 6:30 p.m. CST at Minnesota's Baseline Tennis Center.
Texas returns seven letterwinners from its 2005 squad that advanced to the NCAA round of 32.Sophomore Travis Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan.), whose father played tennis at Minnesota, returns with a No. 44 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles ranking after collecting All-America honors during his freshman season.Senior Callum Beale (Adelaide, Australia) is in just his third semester of American college tennis but posted 23 victories on his way to All-Big 12 singles and doubles honors a season ago.
Senior Roger Gubser (Laredo, Texas) now ranks 17th on UT's all-time wins list with 83 victories and ranks 34th nationally in singles. Sophomore Milan Mihailovic tallied 25 singles wins in 2005 and likely will enter the ITA singles rankings in 2006.
Veterans Hubert Chodkiewicz (Corpus Christi, Texas), Bernhard Deussner (Vienna, Austria) and Luis Diaz Barriga (Cordoba, Mexico) also will see singles action throughout the season, while freshmen Michael Venus (Orlando, Fla) and Miguel Reyes Varela also figure to crack the singles rotation.
Minnesota opened dual-match play on Saturday, Jan. 21 with a 5-2 loss to top-ranked Virginia in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers take on Texas A&M this evening before meeting the Longhorns on Saturday.UM features 71st-ranked Raol Schwark.
Texas owns a 3-0 advantage in its series with Minnesota and last played the Golden Gophers in 1987.Sixth-year UT coach Michael Center holds a 3-1 record against Minnesota. At 5-0, Texas is unblemished in season openers under Center.
Texas opens the season with four consecutive road matches before its season opener on Wednesday, Feb. 15 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.