Women’s tennis ends season with loss

by Jabari Ritchie

Playing in its first-round Big Ten tournament match with Michigan (13-9, 6-5 Big Ten) on Thursday, Minnesota’s women’s tennis team couldn’t overcome windy conditions and a deep Wolverines squad in a 4-1 loss at Bloomington, Ind.

The Gophers (6-16, 1-10), who lost to Michigan 6-1 in the teams’ regular-season meeting, had two singles matches and a doubles match abandoned after being eliminated. As in the March 17 match, Minnesota’s only point came from sophomore Valerie Vladea’s win at No. 1 singles.

“We were more competitive with them this time,” said first-year coach Tyler Thomson. “They are a tough team. I told the team afterwards even though we were close and probably could have won, we got beat by a better team. They just had a little more talent through the lineup than we did.”

Despite failing to make up for a disappointing regular season in the conference championships, Thomson said the team made progress during the year.

“We fought hard,” he said. “I was proud of the team. I’m disappointed that the season’s over, but I’m proud of what we did this season. I’m proud of the improvements we’ve made and I’m already very excited about next year.”

While the Gophers season is over, the Wolverines earned the right to face third-seeded Ohio State on Friday.

Sears Cup standings

On the strength of winning a pair of NCAA Championships, Minnesota has reached its highest ranking ever in the Division I Sears Directors’ Cup standings following the conclusion of this season’s winter sports schedule.

The Gophers stand in third place with 659.5 points, behind Stanford (1,125) and North Carolina (715).

Minnesota is the only school to collect two national crowns this winter season. The Gophers earned national championships in men’s ice hockey and wrestling while also placing third in women’s ice hockey, seventh in both men’s and women’s gymnastics and eighth in men’s swimming and diving.

The Sears Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 20 sports, 10 for men and 10 for women, and each national champion receives 100 points.

Minnesota’s top finish in the Sears Cup was during its inaugural year, following the 1993-94 academic year, when the Gophers placed 14th. All early standings are considered unofficial, as the final official standings will be announced on Tuesday, June 25. Seven Big Ten programs are represented in the latest top 25, the highest total of any conference.


– Jabari Ritchie, Staff Reporter