Senior Marek Michalicka has an outside chance to make the NCAA singles individuals, but UW isn’t expecting to make the tournament as a team.[/media-credit]An emotional end to the Big Ten season leaves the Wisconsin men’s tennis team with little hope for a spot in the NCAA tournament.The Badgers started the weekend off looking very strong against No. 11 seed Penn State. They were able to knock them out in the first round with a 4-1 win. But their run ended with a 4-0 loss to third-seeded Minnesota Friday.The Gophers got off to an early lead by grabbing the doubles point. First to fall for UW was the No. 3 doubles pair of Ricardo Martin and Petr Satral. They were unable to withstand the aggressive play of the Gophers’ Tobias Wernet and Bendan Ruddock, as they lost 8-2. The Badgers’ top doubles team of Marek Michalicka and Billy Bertha brought things back to even with an 8-4 win over Phillip Arndt and Sebastian Gallego, but the fate of the doubles point was left up to freshman pair Rod Carey and Fredrik Ask. They were unable to get the win, giving the doubles point to Minnesota.“They are a team that jumps on you pretty quick,” Bertha said. “They scream and yell and have high energy. The hole we got in was too big, and we couldn’t dig out of it.”After the devastating doubles loss, the Badgers reconvened and decided not to go down without a fight.“Everyone was pretty upbeat after that, and we wanted to rally,” Bertha said.Unfortunately, the confidence boost wasn’t enough to stop the Gophers’ momentum. Five out of the six Badgers’ singles courts lost their first set, leaving Wisconsin with a huge deficit to make up. Carey was Wisconsin’s first singles loss, followed closely by Alex Robles, who lost 6-2, 6-4 to Julian Dehn. Bertha was the next Badger loss, which sealed the win for Minnesota and ended Wisconsin’s tournament run.“[Rok Bonin] played really well,” Bertha said. “He wasn’t missing many balls, and nothing I was doing was that effective.”Despite the loss, assistant coach Joe Bates was pleased with the team’s overall effort.“We were a little bit down and disappointed after doubles, but we raised our energy and we wanted to take that momentum into singles,” Bates said.Second-round play wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for a successful first round. To get to Minnesota, the Badgers had to make it past Penn State for a second time this season.Wisconsin jumped out to an early lead by winning the doubles point from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. First to finish were Michalicka and Bertha, with an 8-6 win over Eddie Bourchier and Russell Bader. When Bertha struggled from the net, Michalicka stepped up like a true senior and took over the match. Despite the early struggles, Bertha was able to close out the match with a sweeping last serving game ending in an ace. Ask and Carey got the win that earned the doubles point in a close victory over Jason Lee and Christopher Haysn.“I almost thought we were going to let it slip away from us, but Fred did a good job of keeping me focused so I give him a lot of credit for that,” Carey said.The Badgers kept the momentum from the doubles win going throughout the majority of their singles matches. Michalicka was the first of the singles players off the court with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Penn State’s Eddie Bourchier.“I tried to stay focused because once you get four, everything stops,” Michalicka said. “You want to stay on the court and focus on every point.”After his win, Michalicka watched hopefully from the sidelines as Ask and Satral followed in his footsteps, securing the dual win for Wisconsin and sending them into the next round. Satral defeated Bader 6-4, 6-4, and Ask finished off the day with a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Bryan Welnetz.The season-ending loss to Minnesota leaves the Badgers with little hope for a spot in the NCAA tournament as a team. However, the coaching staff is keeping their fingers crossed for some individuals.“We probably won’t make the tournament, but hopefully Marek will make the singles individuals,” Bates said.