Big Ten plays sees men and women win one match, lose another

The women beat Michigan State Friday before falling to Michigan Sunday.

by Max Sanders

The Gophers menâÄôs and womenâÄôs tennis teams both saw Big Ten conference action, with each team ending the weekend with one win and one loss. On the womenâÄôs side, head coach Tyler ThomsonâÄôs team opened Big Ten play in February when it soundly defeated Iowa 6-1. After four non-conference games in which Minnesota went 1-3, the Gophers returned to conference action Friday night against Michigan State. Facing the unranked Spartans, No. 54 Minnesota swept in doubles, and followed that with a strong singles performance, winning five of six matches en route to the 6-1 team win. The Gophers faced much stiffer competition Sunday with No. 6 Michigan. The Wolverines dominated action from the start, taking all three doubles matches by scores of 8-2, 8-2 and 8-1. âÄúI think we didnâÄôt play our best doubles,âÄù Thomson said. âÄú[Michigan] played well, but we just gave them too many free points and didnâÄôt really play as solidly as we needed to in doubles.âÄù The Wolverines translated their success in doubles over to singles, where they won all six matches and claimed the overall team victory 7-0. The second singles match pitted Michigan junior Whitney Taney, an Edina, Minn. native, against Gophers senior Tijana Koprivica . Taney cruised in her match, winning 6-2, 6-2. âÄúSingles, I think we couldâÄôve played a little bit smarter from start to finish, but hats off to Michigan,âÄù Thomson said. âÄúThey played very well. They put pressure on us all the way through.âÄù While the Gophers experienced a sound defeat at the hands of a conference opponent, Thomson insists his teamâÄôs confidence is still at a high as they move forward with their Big Ten conference schedule. âÄúDespite what happened today, I think weâÄôre feeling pretty confident about the way that weâÄôre playing,âÄù Thomson said. âÄúWeâÄôve certainly got things to work onâĦ WeâÄôve got a lot of important matches ahead of us. This was a tough match for us, but weâÄôre ok, weâÄôre doing alright.âÄù The women continue conference play next weekend when they travel to play Ohio State Friday and Penn State Sunday. After finishing their non-conference schedule with a 7-5 team record, the Gophers menâÄôs tennis team opened Big Ten play this weekend traveling to Michigan, where they lost SaturdayâÄôs match against Michigan before rebounding with a strong performance Sunday against Michigan State. The Gophers men’s tennis team started its Michigan road trip Friday, when they easily moved past Western Michigan 6-1. Minnesota won two of three doubles matches and took five of the six singles matches to earn the opening weekend victory. Dino Bilankov was a part of each victory, as he partnered with Julian Dehn in doubles, winning 8-4 before besting Western Michigan’s Simon Blomberg in singles 5-7, 7-5, 6-3. On Saturday, Minnesota lost to Michigan 5-2. The Gophers dropped two of three doubles matches to fall a point behind, and the Wolverines took four of six singles matches to seal the victory. Sunday, Minnesota turned the tables, winning 5-2 behind strong performances in both doubles and singles. The Gophers won two of the three doubles matches and four of the six singles matches to end on a high note. The men will next play host to Penn State Friday and Ohio State Sunday at the Baseline Tennis Center.