University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Minneapolis, Minnesota
April 27-30, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006-Day One

The day may have started with a chill in Minneapolis, but by afternoon the temperatures soared as the competition heated at the Big Ten Men's Championships.

First up in the morning was No. 8 Wisconsin against No. 9 Purdue. Wisconsin's Nolan Polley & Jeremy Sonkin (above) were the first to get it done with an 8-6 win over Colin Foster & Kurt Zaske. It wasn't long before teammates Felipe Bellido & Lachezar followed with their 8-3 defeat of Eric Hodgman & Griffin Nienberg. Nolan Polley led the Badgers once again with the first singles win, but Purdue's Kurt Zaske picked up one for his side. It wasn't enough as Eric Hodgman and Gian Hodgson took Wisconsin to their 4-1 win.

As the day went on the individual matches were not all so quick. The doubles between No. 6 Penn State and No. 11 Iowa went down to the wire. Malcom Scatliffe & Brenden Lynch took the first for the lions, but Bart van Monsjou & J.P. Ritchie quickly followed with a tight 9-7 win for the Hawkeyes. It was down to the PSU's Ryan Berger & Bradley Hunter against Iowa's Brett Taylor & Kyle Markham. Before the suspense went to far it was 8-4 for the Penn State duo. The singles went pretty quickly, though, for Penn State's Bradley Hunter, Ryan Berger and Mark Barry. Adam Slagter even managed to give them a fifth point quicker than the match could be called.

Even though the final 4-0 score may not show it, the final match of the day was the most exciting as Northwestern fought for every one of those points. The first doubles went to Northwestern's Marc Dwyer & Juan Gomez at 8-2, but it was all the way to 9-7 for teammates Willy Lock & Christian Tempke before they squeaked by John Allare & Mike Flowers. Unfortunately, an incredible display of doubles between Wildcats Adam Schaechterle & Matt Christian (above) and Spartans Adam Monich & Nick Rinks didn't get to finish, leaving it at a 6-6 deadheat. Michigan State kept up the pressure in the singles also, even splitting sets in two of the matches before Juan Gomez clinched it for them over John Allare, 7-5,6-3.

The Baseline Tennis Center is a beautiful setup inside and out. The only complaint was the lack of an electronic scoreboard coupled with poorly placed scorecards on the courts. By the afternoon the Minnesota staff compensated by putting someone in charge of the manual scoreboard in the front of the courts. It helped a little in getting the (growing) crowd more involved since the most exciting part of a college tennis match is being able to keep track of all of the courts.

The top five seeds had the day off. Tomorrow they take the court to try to prove their rankings. Though the weather forecast is cool and rainy, I'm sure the play will be steaming whether it's inside or out.

Until Tomorrow,
Marcia Frost


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click on a photo to enlarge

Nick Rinks

Colin Foster

Bart Van Mansjou

Mark Barry

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