Gophers place focus on doubles point

Minnesota has dropped only one doubles point this entire season.

Dane Mizutani

Minnesota junior Jessika Mozia said she was hard on herself after the loss against Oklahoma State last weekend.

The Gophers were blanked 7-0 at the Baseline Tennis Center and dropped their first doubles point of the year.

That made the loss sting even more, Mozia said.

“We are really prideful about that doubles point, and we don’t like to lose it,” she said.

That was clear in the team’s next match against Oregon last weekend.

The Gophers rebounded with a doubles point win to get back to their winning ways.

“We wanted to bounce right back,” Mozia said. “It definitely fueled our fire for this week.”

And this weekend, the point of emphasis will be no different for Minnesota head coach Chuck Merzbacher.

Merzbacher said the doubles point is a good way for his team to set itself apart from the other competition.

In college tennis, after a team wins the doubles point, it takes a 1-0 lead into the singles part of the match.

Though it’s only a 1-0 lead, Merzbacher said that single point can sometimes make a world of difference.

“It’s like our seventh singles player,” he said. “That’s what we called it.

“If we win that point, it always puts us in a good position to come out on top.”

Merzbacher said another good part of doubles is that the best two players in terms of talent don’t always win.

“It’s the ultimate in teamwork,” he said. “There could be two singles players paired on a court with a little bit more talent, but in the end, it’s all about
teamwork.

“We can beat a more talented group of singles players with our doubles pairings.”

The Gophers haven’t really switched up their doubles pairs this season. And they haven’t needed to, as they seem to have found a formula that works.

“We have great chemistry, and we all mesh really well together,” junior Julia Courter said. “We know exactly what our partners are going to do, which is good for us.”

Courter said the team worked on doubles a lot in the offseason and said she felt like it all really started to click right before the season.

Merzbacher agreed and said he’s satisfied with the way his team competes right now.

“We know we’re playing good doubles, and we want to keep it going,” he said. “It’s a point of pride for us.”

That pride will be on display this weekend as Minnesota hosts three matches.

And Mozia said the team hasn’t completely forgotten about last weekend’s loss.

“We’re all fighters,” Mozia said. “We aren’t going to give up until we’re shaking hands. We want to continue to bounce back this weekend.”