Gophers lose two straight, aim to rebound

Minnesota fell 4-3 to Tulsa on Friday and 4-3 to Harvard on Saturday.

Minnesota doubles partners Mathieu Froment and Jack Hamburg celebrate after a victory in a match against Tulsa at Baseline on Friday.

Lisa Persson

Minnesota doubles partners Mathieu Froment and Jack Hamburg celebrate after a victory in a match against Tulsa at Baseline on Friday.

Dane Mizutani

While his team just dropped its final two matches before its first Big Ten match of the season next weekend, Minnesota head coach Geoff Young said he isn’t too concerned.

“You never want to lose, but this is the perfect opportunity to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “We need to fix those before next weekend.”

The Gophers came into the weekend winners of four straight matches, but they faltered with a 4-3 loss to Tulsa on Friday and a 4-3 loss to Harvard on Saturday.

“We played two really good teams, and we competed very well with those teams,” junior Jack Hamburg said. “We know we’re right there with top-ranked opponents in the country.”

Minnesota took the doubles point in each match, but it could not overcome a less-than-stellar performance from the bottom of its lineup.

The Gophers didn’t win a set all weekend at No. 4 singles, No. 5 singles or No. 6 singles.

“We need to get better at the bottom of lineup,” Young said. “It will come for guys with time, but that needs to improve for us to compete.”

Young said a silver lining on the weekend was the doubles play in both matches.

Minnesota swept all three doubles matches against Tulsa and took two of three matches against Harvard.

“We’re playing some pretty good doubles,” Hamburg said. “We’re starting to develop some cohesiveness with all our teams in the lineup.”

Hamburg and his doubles partner, junior Mathieu Froment, teamed together last season and have an evident chemistry on the court — a trait the other two doubles pairings seemed to flash at times.

Young said he saw some of those flashes, but he said he wants his team to stay aggressive on the court. He said at times, his players would tense up during a crucial point.

“I can handle missing shots,” he said, “but being too passive and missing points is not a way we want to lose points.”

Hamburg agreed that the team needs to stay aggressive on the court, but he said some of the kinks in the lineup could stem from the younger players’ lack of experience.

“It’ll all come around in time,” he said. “It can be hard to adjust to college tennis, and with more matches, it will get better and better.”

While Hamburg said he never likes to lose a match, he said the nonconference schedule has served a clear purpose.

“We’re getting matches under our belt,” Hamburg said. “We are working to be ready for Big Ten play, which starts next week with Iowa. We’ll be ready.”