Freshmen debut at Gopher Invitational

Minnesota’s Pauline Gilbert and Kelsey Frechette won the second-tier doubles championship.

Dane Mizutani

Minnesota’s women’s tennis squad opened its fall season over the weekend, winning one doubles championship at the Gopher Invitational at Baseline Tennis Center.

Although tennis is technically considered a spring sport, a series of tournaments in the fall serve as a tune-up.

“In the fall, we have four tournaments, and we’re just using it to get match play … and work on our skills,” first-year head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “It’s important for the individuals, but it helps us get ready as a team too.”

Although Merzbacher said the team has a lot of areas where it can improve, he said he was satisfied with his squad’s growth so far.

Pauline Gilbert and Kelsey Frechette captured the second-tier doubles championship. It was the only title of the tournament for Minnesota.

Gilbert and Frechette fell behind early, but they clawed back to beat Air Force 9-7.

“It was probably our best match because we found a way to win even though we were down,” Frechette said.

Frechette is one of three freshmen who had a notable impact in the first collegiate meet of their career.

Jessika Mozia and Paula Rincon Otero impressed their coach as well. Mozia placed third in the second-tier singles bracket, and Rincon Otero came in sixth in the first-tier singles bracket.

“It was exciting for the freshmen,” Merzbacher said. “They all did really well, and they all had good victories to learn what college tennis is all about.”

Mozia played in the longest match of the day, defeating Christina Harazin of rival Iowa to cap the tournament for the Gophers.

“I was nervous, to be honest, but as the matches went on I got more and more comfortable,” Mozia said of her first college match.

Merzbacher said the team improved in every aspect it wanted to work on, but he still wants to see a development in the overall fitness of the team.

Regardless, Gilbert said this year already feels different.

“I think overall our team is much more confident than we were this time last year,” she said.