Chiarelli has hot hand for Gophers

Senior Karina Chiarelli led the way for the Gophers womenâÄôs tennis team this weekend at a competitive Drake Invitational. Chiarelli was the flight A singles champion over the weekend, defeating a range of opponents from schools across the country, including Central Arkansas, Northern Iowa, Drake, Iowa State and South Dakota. Coach Tyler Thomson stressed the teamâÄôs improvements while facing the stiff competition at Drake this weekend. âÄúEverybody battled and kept a good, positive attitude,âÄù he said. âÄúThere was improvement in the overall competitiveness and intensity of the team.âÄù âÄúIt was a very good win coming back from an injury where I was out for two weeks,âÄù Chiarelli said. Freshman Magdalena Wiecha also had a strong finish in flight A singles, making it to the semifinal consolation match. In doubles, Minnesota had three teams make it to the semifinals of their respective flights, including the team of Jackie Claypool and Liz Tusler, who soon fell to Creighton 8-3. The teams of Sperling/Wiecha and Chiarelli/Forsyth also competed in semifinal play but were both stopped by the host Bulldogs, who claimed an impressive four titles over the course of the weekend. Unlike the menâÄôs team, the Gophers women have a team mainly composed of experienced juniors and seniors, including Chiarelli. Chiarelli said being a leader as a senior is important, and that itâÄôs a primary goal for her this season. Along with the seniority comes a general knowledge and understanding of the teamâÄôs performance and attitudes. âÄúWe know where the mistakes are and where we need to improve,âÄù she said. For the Northwestern Invitational two weeks away, Chiarelli said there will be plenty of practice for the team. But as for the Drake Invitational, Thompson seemed satisfied with the fact that, âÄúwe didnâÄôt have any let downs.âÄù With the rest of the team at Drake, top Gophers players Alessandra Ferrazzi and Tijana Koprivica traveled to the Cal Nike Invitational in Berkeley, Calif. As of Sunday, both posted 2-1 records for singles play while Ferrazzi made her way to the Gold flight singles quarterfinal. After a load of losses for the Gophers menâÄôs team on Friday and Saturday at the Northwestern Invitational, a couple of bright spots came through as play concluded on Sunday. Senior Adam Altepeter led Minnesota by winning three straight consolation matches after his first-round loss. Freshmen Michael Sicora and Phil Arndt both won two consolation matches after being knocked out of regular play. Eddie Svenda and Jake Annear also each won consolation matches. Doubles for Minnesota was particularly challenging, with the Gophers losing all five matches over the weekend.