Minnesota splits weekend

The team beat Louisville but then lost to Marshall over the weekend.

by Danny Chen

Getting the doubles point can make a difference between winning and losing a meet.

Minnesota experienced that this weekend when the team was unable to capitalize in its second meet against Marshall.

When the team did win its doubles point, it resulted in a 5-1 upset over No. 66 Louisville.

It was the first time all season that Minnesota beat a ranked opponent.

In the doubles competition, senior Tereza Brichacova and junior Paula Rincon-Otero helped jumpstart the meet with an 8-2 victory.

Jessika Mozia and Julia Courter followed their performance with an 8-3 finish.

With the one-point team lead going into the singles competition, the Gophers rode their momentum.

In singles, Minnesota dropped only one match at the No. 4 position.

Senior Aria Lambert took a victory at the No. 5 singles. In her first set, she took a 6-4 victory.

In the second set, her opponent took her to a tiebreaker, where she went on to win 7-2.

“I tried to win every point that I [could],” Lambert said. “And it worked out for the best.”

In what has been a great start to her freshman season, Caroline Ryba dominated her match 6-0, 6-2 in No. 2 singles play.

She improved to 4-0 for the spring season and earned her tenth collegiate victory.

“I was just really focused, and I played my game,” Ryba said. “It was a great match and a great way for me to start off the weekend.”

Tough loss against Marshall

Road fatigue affected the Gophers on Sunday, as they lost

4-3 in a tough match up against Marshall.

Head coach Chuck Merzbacher said losing the doubles point decided the meet’s outcome.

“It was a pretty tough match,” Merzbacher said. “We had four match points in the doubles that could have clinched the doubles point, [and we] didn’t get it.”

The Gophers lost in the No. 1, 2 and 3 singles slots.

Ryba, the No. 2 singles player, suffered her first loss this season.

“I felt like with that match [against Marshall], I wasn’t hitting the ball with enough confidence,” Ryba said. “And I wasn’t as focused as I should have been. The girl that I played against played a good match. I can’t be too upset about it, but I feel like I definitely could have played better than I did.”

Lambert was one of the three Gophers that won in the singles competition.

Lambert already had a tiebreaker set against Louisville in her first match, but against Marshall, she had two.

At No. 5 singles, Lambert dropped her first set in a 7-4 tiebreaker, before winning her second set with the identical scoring.

In the third and final set, Lambert and her opponent went into a super-tiebreaker.

For a super-tiebreaker, a player has to earn 10 points instead of seven in a normal tiebreaker.

Super-tiebreaker or not, Lambert came out with a victory, defeating her opponent 10-4 in her final set.

She said she tried to stay positive during the entire match, even though she started poorly.

“I tried to think big targets and putting pressure [on my opponent],” Lambert said. “My mindset was to play to win and not lose, and it worked out for me.”

Despite conceding a meet this weekend, Merzbacher said he was satisfied with the team’s competitiveness.

“We are 4-3 right now, and we just need to be in those battles and learn from those battles,” he said.