7-match win streak ends

Ohio State’s 5-2 win Sunday marked just the second Big Ten loss for Minnesota.

Dan Miller

After a lot of yelling and antagonizing, Ohio State had the final word Sunday afternoon with a 5-2 win over Minnesota’s men’s tennis team at the Baseline Tennis Center.

No. 20 Ohio State (21-3, 9-1 Big Ten) outlasted the 35th-ranked Gophers (13-8, 7-2) and will be the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Championships beginning Thursday in East Lansing, Mich.

With the loss, the Gophers dropped to the third seed in the tournament, and will be on the same side of the bracket as Ohio State setting up a possible rematch.

“It’s disappointing to take the loss,” Minnesota coach David Geatz said. “But we put out a good effort.”

With fans yelling from the bleachers, third-ranked Jeremy Wurtzman was able to fight off the Gophers’ 67th-ranked Chris Wettengel at No. 1 singles in three sets. After Wettengel took a decisive 6-3 first set, Wurtzman willed his way through the next two 7-5, 6-4.

“Chris can play with anyone in the nation,” Geatz said. “He had some chances to really take control of the match. I don’t think he lost it, I think Wurtzman just hung around for a long time and was able to win it.”

The match was up to Wettengel and the rest of the singles players after the Gophers lost the doubles point and gave the Buckeyes the early lead.

After freshmen Brian Lipinski and Andres Osorio lost their matches at No. 5 and No. 3 singles, the Gophers needed to win all four of their remaining singles matches.

Three of the four matches went to three sets, but the Gophers fell short.

After taking an emotional loss, the Gophers said Sunday they hope to advance in their first match to get another shot at the Buckeyes.

“They are a good team,” Osorio said. “We hope we can get another chance to play them.”

With Illinois earning the top seed in the conference for the last six years, Lipinski said a rivalry has formed between the Illini, the Gophers and Ohio State.

“I hope we will play these guys this weekend in the Big Ten Tournament,” he said.

While the Buckeyes currently have the upper hand, Minnesota will get a boost in the tournament. Injured captain Avery Ticer is expected to play after missing 22 days of tennis with a foot injury.

If Minnesota does find itself matched up with Ohio State this weekend, Geatz said all the factors should fuel another emotional match.

“We will have to meet their intensity level or we’ll be run over,” Geatz said.

Earlier in the weekend, Minnesota won easily 6-1 over Penn State Friday night at Baseline Tennis Center.

The Gophers extended their season-best seven match winning streak as they won seven of nine individual matches.

Women’s tennis

Minnesota’s women’s tennis team snapped a 13-duel match losing streak and picked up its first conference win with a 4-3 victory over Penn State on Saturday.

The Gophers (3-18, 1-9 Big Ten) rallied back from an early deficit against the Lions. Minnesota earned wins at its top four singles spots to secure the victory and ensure the team’s first conference win.

The Gophers wrapped up their season Sunday with a 5-2 loss to Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

Minnesota senior Angela Buergis extended her winning streak to three matches in a 6-4, 7-5 victory at No. 1 singles.

The Gophers’ other victory came right behind Burgis at No. 2 singles with Nischela Reddy picking up her second consecutive victory.

The Gophers will begin the Big Ten Championships in Evanston, Ill., on Thursday.