Men’s to host Big Ten foes

The Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament is at Baseline Tennis Center this season.

Sophomore Matic Spec plays against Penn State at Baseline Tennis Center on Sunday, April 17.

Kathryn Chlystek, Daily File Photo

Sophomore Matic Spec plays against Penn State at Baseline Tennis Center on Sunday, April 17.

Jack White

The Gophers men’s tennis team advanced to the Big Ten tournament semifinals last year, and this season the team will be challenged to repeat that finish.
 
 
Minnesota is seeded 10th in the tournament, after earning a 2-9 record in conference play this year. 
 
 
“[We’ll focus on] playing together as a team … and going out there and trying to remain as confident as possible throughout the whole match,” head coach Geoff Young said.
 
 
The Gophers are hosting the Big Ten championships this year at Baseline Tennis Center and will play seventh-seeded Purdue in the first round on Thursday.
 
 
The Boilermakers defeated Minnesota 4-2 in West Lafayette, Ind., on April 22.
 
 
“I think it will be good,” Young said. “Just because we’re familiar with their team. We know how each guy plays, and … we’ll have a better idea of what’s going on.”
 
 
For the Gophers to advance, the team will likely need strong performances from sophomores Felix Corwin and Matic Spec, who combined to win a doubles match against Purdue on April 22.
 
 
The duo’s doubles success has been one of the few bright spots for the team this year, with a 4-1 doubles record in the spring. 
 
 
Women seeded eighth
 
 
The Minnesota women’s tennis team entered the final weekend of the regular season in a five-way tie for sixth in the Big Ten and wound up seeded eighth in the conference tournament after splitting duals with Maryland and Rutgers.
 
 
“We mixed up our doubles [some]. And we got the doubles point against Maryland, and we felt like we probably should’ve got the doubles point against Rutgers,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “We’re going to give it a shot. We got some new doubles combinations, so we’ll see what happens.” 
 
 
The Gophers were also seeded eighth in the tournament last year and advanced to the quarterfinals before getting knocked off.
 
 
To move on to the second round again, Minnesota will have to defeat ninth-seeded Wisconsin in the first round on Thursday.
 
 
The Gophers beat the Badgers 5-2 on Feb. 26 this year and have won six consecutive duals against Wisconsin.
 
 
“[The Badgers are] really playing well. We had a really nice win at their place,” Merzbacher said. “It’s going to be a really good match [Thursday].”
 
 
The winner of the dual between Wisconsin and Minnesota will play top-seeded Ohio State, who defeated the Gophers 7-0 earlier this season.