Minn. can’t recover from doubles losses as Iowa wins 6-2

The Gophers’ defeats at the No. 2 and 3 positions were crushing.

Minnesota women’s tennis coach Tyler Thomson has pushed his team mentally and physically in recent weeks, hoping it will respond positively when put in pressure-packed situations.

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From the looks of things Sunday afternoon, the Gophers still have plenty of room for improvement.

Minnesota lost a pair of close matches at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles positions, putting itself in a hole it would never recover from before losing 6-1 to Iowa in it Big Ten season-opening dual at the Baseline Tennis Center.

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“We had our opportunities, we just didn’t handle the pressure very well,” Thomson said. “We basically choked at number two and three doubles.”

After the team of senior Lindsay Risebrough and junior Karina Chiarelli easily won at No. 1 doubles (8-2), the Gophers didn’t make enough plays to beat the No. 41-ranked Hawkeyes at the other two positions, losing 9-8 (4) at No. 2 doubles and 8-6 at No. 3.

“Every doubles match was really close. We knew it was going to be close. It’s just how the matches fall really,” senior Daniel Mousseau said. “It could be a 7-0 victory, it could be 5-2, it could be 4-3, that’s just how it’s going to be for the rest of the Big Ten season against almost everyone.”

After the breakdown in doubles play, Thomson said the momentum of the dual shifted – and it showed.

Soon after Mousseau and Chiarelli fell in singles, Risebrough lost 2-6, 6-2, 2-6, giving Iowa a victory with three matches still on the court.

“We wish we would have started off on a better note,” Risebrough said. “But there are still so many matches to be played (in conference).”

On Friday, the No. 54-ranked Gophers (9-2 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) did use quite a bit of energy in a 4-3 win over Missouri.

Thomson said before the dual that the unranked Tigers sure played like a ranked team. He found that to be true as Missouri pushed the Gophers to their closest dual of the season.

After Minnesota won the doubles point to take an early lead in the dual, the Tigers won three of the first five singles matches to tie the score at 3-3 with one singles match remaining.

Luckily for the Gophers, that match was at No. 4 singles where Risebrough resided.

The senior captain didn’t let her team down, sealing the victory for the Gophers with a come-from-behind 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Missouri’s Kaitlin Dunham.

Men split on the road

The Gophers, on the road for the third consecutive weekend, split a pair of duals in Boise, Idaho – falling 6-1 to No. 41 Boise State on Saturday and defeating No. 38-ranked William & Mary 4-3 on Sunday.

Minnesota, which is ranked No. 67 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, fell to 1-9.