Gophers lose two matches over the weekend

Minnesota lost 5-2 in each match.

Junior Caitlyn Merzbacher returns the ball during her singles match against the University of South Dakota at the Baseline Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 9.

Jack Rodgers, Daily File Photo

Junior Caitlyn Merzbacher returns the ball during her singles match against the University of South Dakota at the Baseline Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 9.

Max Biegert

Junior Caitlyn Merzbacher improved her spring record to 17-2, but other Minnesota players could not figure out the Hoosiers.

Minnesota (11-8, 3-2) lost to Indiana (13-6, 1-3) 5-2 on Sunday afternoon in Bloomington, Indiana. Besides Merzbacher, the Gophers also got a victory from Cammy Frei in the No. 6 spot.

“We have to get back to work, stay disciplined and stay aggressive when it counts,” head coach Catrina Thompson said. “When you are playing some of the best teams, you got to go after it, and we got passed on a few courts.”

Indiana entered the dual with an 11-1 home record on the season. They started the match by taking the doubles point behind victories in the No. 1 spot and No. 3 spot. The pairing of Mehvish Safdar and Merzbacher fell 6-3. Senior Caroline Ryba and freshman River Hart lost their match 6-2.

Frei made quick work of her opponent in the No. 6 spot winning 6-4, 6-2. Frei is 7-3 in that spot this semester. The rest of the Gophers however, had a tougher time figuring out their opponents. Tina Kreinis was defeated by Indiana’s Natalie Whalen 6-3, 6-3 in the No. 2 spot. Ryba ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, losing 7-6, 6-1 in the No.1 spot.

The Wolverines clinched the victory from the No. 3 spot. The Gophers Annemarie Emme dropped her match in straight sets 7-6, 7-5. Any chance of a Minnesota comeback was gone with the loss. Junior Barbara Mancera lost her match in three sets.

Merzbacher extended her match-winning streak to six games and continues to impress in the spring season.

Minnesota also loses to Michigan

Minnesota first stole the doubles point in the dual after Safdar and Merzbacher won 7-5. However, that was not enough, and the Wolverines came back to win four singles matches.

Minnesota lost to Michigan (8-8, 4-0) 5-2 at the Baseline Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.

“Michigan is always one of the top teams in the country and top teams in the Big Ten,” Thompson said.  “We gave ourselves a great opportunity to get a win today, but just didn’t execute and finish out the match the way we wanted to.”

Michigan quickly tied the dual at 1-1 with a victory in the No. 3 spot. Emme lost in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. Merzbacher pulled the Gophers ahead again with a straight set victory in  the No. 5 position. Caroline Ryba faced off against the No. 23 ranked player in the nation Kate Fahey. Ryba battled, but ended up losing 6-4, 6-2.

The Gophers needed to win two of the last three matches remaining in the dual. In all three matches, Minnesota held a lead at some point and looked as if they were going to hold on for a victory.

Safdar and Merzbacher faced the No. 53 duo of Brienne Minor and Mira Ruder-Hook. The match was tight the whole way through, but the pairing pulled out the 7-5 win. The Gophers other doubles win came from the pairing of Ryba and freshman River Hart. They won their match 6-2.

“That duo got us last year, so this year it was a little personal for us,” Safdar said. “It really helped that our third doubles won their match, that helped us get our energy up and we went on to win.”