Men continue to struggle, women split weekend duals

by Tyler Rushmeyer

Less than 10 days ago, the Minnesota men’s tennis team sat in the top 25 with an undefeated conference record and a date with a conference powerhouse.

up next

when: 2 p.m. April 11
where: Baseline Tennis Center

On Sunday, a frustrating and perhaps season-altering weekend came to a close with the Gophers dropping their third-straight conference match, 5-2 to No. 40 Penn State, just a day after losing by the same margin to No. 25 Michigan.

Minnesota (12-6 overall, 2-3 Big Ten), fresh off its 0-2 home stand, now heads into an off week that appears to be much needed.

Senior D.J. Geatz, who dropped the final singles decision of the day 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, said the team’s focus was shaken last weekend after being handily beaten 7-0 by Ohio State.

“It really killed us. Since then, there’s been a change in attitude and play for the worst,” he said. “There was no excuse to drop both matches this weekend. We played tentative.”

An encouraging aspect of the victory-less weekend was the doubles play for Minnesota.

After barely missing out on the doubles point on Friday to some of the nation’s best in Michigan, the Gophers rebounded and captured it on Sunday vs. Penn State.

In such a frustrating weekend, coach Geoff Young said it is one of the few positives that could be taken away from an otherwise forgettable pair of matches.

“We’ve had four good matches of doubles in a row now,” he said. “It’s always important to jump out on top, even if the results aren’t where you want them at the end.”

But despite the early 1-0 advantage the Gophers took against Penn State after securing the doubles point, their singles play faltered for the second straight day, and Minnesota dropped five of its last six matches.

Young said the bottom of the singles lineup, which might have lost senior Brian Lipinski for the season with an ankle injury, will need to step up its game if the team is to break out of its funk.

The lower half of the singles lineup went just 1-5 in singles play over the weekend.

“I think our doubles and upper singles are doing fine,” he said. “We just need that other piece of the lineup to show up for us, and it’s going to be tougher without Brian.”

Senior Nich Edlefsen, who finished 0-2 at No. 4 singles, said the team will need to take full advantage of its upcoming off week before jumping back into conference play.

“I think we’re tired and frustrated right now,” he said. “We’ll take a couple days off here and I know we’ll be bouncing back against Iowa.”

Women compete on road

The Minnesota women’s tennis team ended its road weekend on a high note after recovering from a tumultuous Friday start.

The Gophers (8-8 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) opened their road trip by getting thoroughly dominated by No. 35 Michigan, 7-0, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Friday. The match saw Minnesota take just one set the entire evening.

up next

Michigan State
when: 10:30 a.m. Saturday
where: Baseline Tennis Center

Coach Tyler Thomson said the weekend opener was a step backward for a team that was extremely competitive in conference play the week before.

“The team was passive in doubles,” he said. “Singles did no better. Basically, we got ourselves in ruts and did nothing to adjust.”

Minnesota rebounded on Sunday against Penn State with a tight 4-3 match to give the Gophers their first conference victory and salvage what had been a frustrating weekend.

Thomson said it was hard to explain how much it meant for the team to come out on top in a close match.

“I can’t really overstate its importance,” he said. “We finally got some justification for all those close ones we dropped earlier.”