Women conclude season; men extend it

Purdue swept the Gophers women, while the men beat Wisconsin 4-1.

Bob Wothe

Minnesota’s men’s and women’s tennis teams had two very different days at the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.

On one hand, the men’s team (9-12, 6-5 Big Ten) had no trouble dispatching Wisconsin 4-1. On the other, the women’s team (6-15, 1-10) dropped a 4-0 decision to Purdue, effectively ending its season.

But you might not be able to figure out who won by talking to their coaches.

Despite the fact that the women were swept by the Boilermakers for the second time in less than a week and for the fourth time in their last six duals, coach Tyler Thomson remained upbeat and said the dual basically summed up his team’s entire season.

“It was 4-0, but it wasn’t a match we got blown out in,” Thomson said. “It was emblematic of the whole year in that we were close in every match but just couldn’t quite get it done.”

That was evident early, when the doubles point came down to the winner of the No. 3 doubles match after Purdue and Minnesota split the Nos. 1 and 2 matches.

Nischela Reddy and Marina Bugaenco led 4-1 for the Gophers and were up 40-15 with the match knotted at 6-6 but lost the game and dropped the match 8-6.

And because unseasonably cold temperatures in East Lansing, Mich., caused the dual to be moved indoors, only four singles matches from each dual could take place at the same time.

The Nos. 3-6 players were randomly drawn to play first, and losses at Nos. 3, 5 and 6 ended Minnesota’s season. The rest of the matches were abandoned when the score got to 4-0.

“The draw wasn’t as favorable as it could have been for us,” Thomson said. “But everyone was upbeat after the match, and our captain was in the huddle, talking about this summer and next year already.”

In Champaign, Ill., interim coach David Wheaton had to have liked what he saw from his men’s team, which avenged the lone 7-0 sweep it suffered this season by building an early 1-0 lead with easy wins at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles and beating the Badgers (8-14, 2-9).

After Avery Ticer and Raoul Schwark won at Nos. 1 and 5 singles, respectively, the Gophers clinched the dual when D.J. Geatz put the finishing touches on his 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 3.

Minnesota advances to the tournament’s quarterfinal round today, taking on second seed Ohio State (16-7, 8-2). The Gophers dropped their regular-season dual with Ohio State 4-3 on March 27 but have won six of their 10 duals since.