Minnesota men, women beat Wisconsin

The Gophers won 5-2 on the men’s side and 4-3 on the women’s side.

Minnesota junior Mathieu Froment plays doubles against Drake at the Baseline Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Image by Lisa Persson, Daily File Photo

Minnesota junior Mathieu Froment plays doubles against Drake at the Baseline Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

by Dane Mizutani

A 4-3 loss to rival Wisconsin was on the minds of players on the Gophers men’s tennis team this weekend.

They were not about to let the Badgers best them again.

“It was probably the toughest loss we’ve had in my career with the Gophers,” junior Leandro Toledo said of the loss last season. “I’d say that redemption was on our mind for sure.”

Minnesota beat Wisconsin 5-2 on Saturday at the Baseline Tennis Center.

The Gophers jumped out to an early lead, and the Badgers couldn’t recover. Minnesota took the doubles point and then won two singles matches to take a 3-0 lead.

“We were up for the match, and I think it showed,” head coach Geoff Young said.

Toledo easily won his match at No. 1 singles, and junior Mathieu Froment won in straight sets at No. 4 singles to bolster the lead to 3-0.

Toledo said he thought those wins took Wisconsin out of it.

Still, the Badgers clawed back to make the match close. That comeback was short-lived, though, as junior Jack Hamburg won a three-set match at No. 3 singles to wrap up the win.

While the weekend was an all-around success, Young said he needs to see more production from his No. 5 and No. 6 singles players.

Gophers freshman Jeremy Lynn and junior Eric Frueh won the first sets of their matches, but both fell in three sets.

Minnesota is now 5-14 at the No. 5 and No. 6 singles spots this season.

“They’re getting better as they get more matches, but we need to keep getting better,” Young said. “This has happened before with other teams I’ve had, and it rarely stays that way the entire season.”

Young said that it was nice to get the first Big Ten win of the year but that his team needs to focus on improving for the rest of the season — especially with the doubles point.

“If we don’t stay hungry and try to get better in doubles each week, we’re going to find ourselves down 1-0 in the Big Ten,” he said.

Minnesota will head to the West Coast next weekend to face Washington and Boise State.

Gophers women’s team wins

The Minnesota women’s tennis team also upended the Badgers over the weekend, and it did so in a highly unusual fashion.

The Gophers won 4-3 after the Badgers forfeited their matches at No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles.

Minnesota won the doubles point and held a 2-0 advantage because of the forfeited singles match, but Wisconsin managed to battle back.

The Badgers took the first set in every other singles match, but the Gophers responded with big wins at No. 2 singles and No. 4 singles.

“They had nothing to lose, and they played like it,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “It felt like they were a football team throwing a Hail Mary on every play and catching it.”

Merzbacher said he was proud of the way his team battled back in the match and was happy to get out of Madison, Wis., with a win.

“We’ll take it and get out of there,” he said. “I just can’t wait to reach the border.”