Women’s injury-riddled season ends at home Sunday

Nearing the end of a trying season, though, the Gophers just inked a five-star recruit.

by Samuel Gordon

With the regular season coming to a close this weekend, the injury-marred Gophers womenâÄôs tennis team has one last shot at redemption.

After getting off to a 4-3 start and being ranked as high as No. 59 in the nation, Minnesota has plummeted, losing 12 of its last 13 matches.

Injuries to key players have been detrimental, as the lineup has been jostled periodically with players having to play higher than normal.

However, junior Magdalena Wiecha feels that the lineup shakeups have had their benefits as well.

âÄúItâÄôs a great experience. I am one of the players who [was] moved higher,âÄù Wiecha said. âÄúAt first it was kind of hard to play higher in the lineup, but after a few matches you make some adjustments.

âÄúItâÄôs great for the future. IâÄôve got some great experience, and IâÄôm ready for the future to play higher in the lineup.âÄù

While injuries have caused the majority of the problems, senior Peta Forsyth feels they havenâÄôt been solely responsible.

âÄúWeâÄôre just having a lot of trouble finding that competitive edge when we really need it,âÄù Forsyth said.

Despite its struggles, the team isnâÄôt thinking about the losses as they enter this weekend.

âÄúItâÄôs the same as any other weekend. WeâÄôre still approaching it not thinking about the losses that weâÄôve had,âÄù Forsyth said. âÄúWeâÄôre still fighting for every game. I think every match we play is the same.âÄù

Forsyth, along with teammates Alessandra Ferazzi and Mariana Spilca, will be honored this Sunday for senior day before the Iowa match.

âÄúItâÄôs kind of sad, but IâÄôve had four great spring seasons here that IâÄôve enjoyed so much,âÄù Forsyth said. âÄúHopefully itâÄôll just be a fun weekend and one that IâÄôll be able to remember.âÄù

Men finish regular season on road

In the final weekend of regular season play, the menâÄôs tennis team will head to Champaign and Iowa City to take on a pair of ranked opponents in No. 18 Illinois and No. 66 Iowa.

With a pair of wins, Minnesota would lock up a third-place finish in the Big Ten, behind only No. 24 Indiana and No. 4 Ohio State, both of whom defeated the Gophers earlier in the season.

The third-place finish would also earn the Gophers a bye in the Big Ten tournament, which will be played in Wisconsin from April 28 to May 1.

Minnesota is currently tied for third in the conference with Illinois. The Illini are on a four-match win streak, with the most recent of the victories coming over Michigan State.

WomenâÄôs team inks five-star prospect

Five-star recruit Julia Courter will join two-time defending AA state champ and Minnesota native Aria Lambert as part of the 2011 recruiting class.

Courter, who is a native of Lawrenceville, Ga., has been ranked as high as No. 34 in the nation this season. Both she and Lambert are listed as five-star recruits according to TennisRecruiting.net.

Courter was home-schooled and did not play high school tennis.

âÄúJulia will be a great addition to our team,âÄù head coach Tyler Thomson said in a statement.

âÄúShe’ll make positive contributions to our team, on and off the court, and everyone here is excited for her to join the Gophers. Together, Julia and Aria Lambert, who we signed in November, form a very strong recruiting class and make our outlook for next season even brighter.âÄù