Women seek win at home

Bob Wothe

It would be an understatement to say Minnesota’s women’s tennis team is glad to be returning to the Baseline Tennis Center.

After all, the Gophers have lost four straight matches without truly being threatening in any of them since last playing at home March 27.

That’s why coach Tyler Thomson is hailing the team’s homecoming as just the right prescription for the only Big Ten team without a conference win.

“The whole team feels that we have a home-court advantage,” Thomson said. “Over the years, we’ve always had a boost here and gotten some big wins.”

No. 75 Minnesota (5-11, 0-6 Big Ten) will certainly need some sort of lift to end its seven-dual losing streak that dates back to March 13.

But sophomore Ida Malmberg said the team’s record is not indicative of its true ability.

“We’ve been losing a lot of matches,” Malmberg said. “But you can’t tell how close they are by just looking at the scores – we’re right in all of them and losing close two- or three-set matches.”

The team’s first chance to break the streak will come today against defending Big Ten co-champion and 37th-ranked Indiana (11-9, 5-1).

More likely though, Minnesota’s best chance to get off the schneid will be Sunday against Penn State (6-9, 1-5). The Nittany Lions were the

Gophers’ lone victim in conference play last season, and Minnesota has lost seven straight Big Ten matches since then.

But Thomson said the team is approaching the weekend with a must-win attitude, and he likes the team’s chance to get a win with its home-court advantage.

“Indiana’s very good and deep, but there’s not a real big gap between us and them,” Thomson said. “Both matches are winnable, and it’d be really nice to get a win.”

Men return to action

No. 55 Minnesota’s men’s tennis team (6-10, 3-3) returns to the road for the first time since March 27, traveling to No. 56 Indiana (10-9, 4-2) for a Saturday dual and to No. 62 Penn State (13-5, 2-4) on Sunday.

After playing three duals during the weekend and resting up at the start of the week, the team had a fairly normal week of practice, interim coach David Wheaton said.

“There’s not a whole lot we do different,” Wheaton said. “We’re just looking for good attitude and effort every day, and that stuff will transfer over into their matches.”