Gophers bow out of Big Ten tourney

Dan Miller

Minnesota’s women’s tennis team is going back to the drawing board, but not in complete dismay.

The Gophers (3-19, 1-9 Big Ten) finished their season with a 4-0 loss to Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Championships on Thursday.

“We will be re-evaluating what needs to be done next season,” Minnesota assistant coach Luciano Battaglini said. “This season serves as a foundation for showing our young players that we are competing against the best players in America and the world.”

The Gophers have had a tough season, but Battaglini said the team came a long way over the course of the season with what they had to work with.

Last season the Gophers won the Big Ten title, but only returned two letter winners this year.

“We finished on a positive note,” Battaglini said. “We competed very hard (Thursday) and the players have come to realize the kind of work ethic it is going to take to make them better players.”

Next year the Gophers will lose their No.1 singles player, Angela Burris, but have some bright spots returning to their lineup.

Battaglini said sophomore Nischela Reddy, who played most of the season at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles, will provide a solid presence at the top of the team’s future lineup.

“Nischela has learned what it takes to play the top dogs of other teams’ lineups,” he said. “She has improved all season.”

Freshman Lindsay Risebrough is another player Battaglini has high hopes for next season.

Risebrough, who also had to learn quickly this season, has been working on her consistency in her first season.

“She is naturally powerful,” Battaglini said of Risebrough. “From day one to (Thursday) she has come so far. She still needs to improve but she understands that the player who makes less unforced errors is going to be the one to prevail.”

The Gophers will return next fall with a new recruiting class and season. They will try to invert the trend they made this season and again try to join the ranks of the Big Ten’s top teams.

“Everybody has things to work on this summer,” Battaglini said. “This year has shown how much work it takes to be successful in the Big Ten conference and compete on a high level.”