Gophers start spring season with two wins

Both the women’s and men’s teams went 2-0 over the weekend at home.

Freshman Josip Krstanovic hits the ball during the Gophers first home event of the spring season at Baseline Tennis Center on Sunday. The mens team played against DePaul and South Dakota.

Image by Maddy Fox

Freshman Josip Krstanovic hits the ball during the Gopher’s first home event of the spring season at Baseline Tennis Center on Sunday. The men’s team played against DePaul and South Dakota.

by Jack White

Senior Ruben Weber pumped his fists after his singles match victory over DePaul senior Kyle Johnson. No. 23 Minnesota had just capped off a 7-0 finish over  DePaul in Minnesota’s first dual of the spring season on Saturday and later that day defeated South Dakota State 7-0 to start 2-0. 
“[Weber] was in a close match,” head coach Geoff Young said. “It was great practice for him to have to struggle a bit. I thought the tennis was fine, pretty good tennis. I thought [Johnson] was good.”
The Gophers started the dual against the Blue Demons with doubles play. Minnesota was the first team to earn two doubles victories, which meant the Gophers earned one team point to take a 1-0 lead over DePaul in the dual.
Minnesota then went on to dominate in singles play. Every match was won by the Gophers to win the dual 7-0. Freshman Josip Krstanovic made his debut for the Gophers and earned a singles victory in three sets. 
“I was late to [sign], so I had to adjust quickly,” Krstonavic said. 
Minnesota’s next dual was against South Dakota State later the same day, and the team took a 1-0 lead again after winning two doubles matches.
The Gophers also won every singles match again for another 7-0 victory.
“We have a really young team, with a lot of freshmen,” Young said. “It was fun to watch them play, and I think that we can reflect on today, and it will help us get better for next weekend.”
Women’s team has similar success
The Minnesota women’s team had its first matches of the spring season against Northern Illinois and North Dakota on Sunday and won both 7-0.
“We have a lot of depth,” said head coach Chuck Merzbacher. “We played two different lineups, and we got some doubles in [with] different teams.”
Minnesota earned the point in doubles with two match-victories against Northern Illinois. Redshirt senior Julia Courter and sophomore Caroline Ryba added on a third doubles victory.
The team won all singles matches against Northern Illinois. Sophomore Mehvish Safdar shut out her opponent 6-0, 6-0 in two sets.
The Gophers earned the doubles point with two victories over North Dakota as well. Senior Paula Rincon-Otero and freshman Camila Vargas Gomez secured the team point for Minnesota in doubles.
“They have good chemistry,” Merzbacher said. “We used them in the fall. We really have a lot of good doubles players.”
In singles play, Minnesota continued its winning streak with six singles victories. 
Freshman Annemarie Emme  won her match at the No. 2 singles spot against UND.
“It was really exciting, but a little more pressure,” Emme said. “At the same time, we came off of three matches, and I try to treat it as just another match.”