Gophers win one and lose one over the weekend

The Gophers women’s tennis team started the weekend by beating Indiana at home, but on Sunday they were blown out by Michigan.

by David Mullen

Minnesota’s women’s tennis team came away with a .500 record this weekend, beating Indiana at home and falling to Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

The Gophers’ (10-7, 3-2 Big Ten) weekend began at home hosting Indiana. Although they trailed 1-0 after the doubles team fell, four straight singles victories guaranteed a victory early.

“That was a big match for us, especially being at home,” said head coach Catrina Thompson. “We don’t want to start matches off down … and it’s tough to get four single wins, but I think the last two matches showed the girls that if we do find ourselves facing adversity, then we can certainly scrap together four singles wins.”

On Friday against Indiana and on March 17 against Maryland, the Gophers had at least four singles players win. Against the Terrapins, the Gophers swept all six singles matches leading to a 6-1 rout of Maryland.

“We’re very proud of them in the way that they competed,” Thompson said.

Minnesota’s victories happened quickly. Caitlyn Merzbacher got ahead early and never fell behind, taking her match in two-sets, 6-0 and 6-1. 

Bita Mancera followed Merzbacher’s lead and took care of business. She won 6-2 and 6-3, upping her season record to 12-2 as of Friday and putting the Gophers ahead in the match 2-1. 

“[Mancera] has been our rock-solid, go-to spot this season, and having a senior lead the way has been good for us,” Thompson said. “She’s been doing her job and getting it done at that spot, so [I’m] very, very proud of how she’s played so far this season.”

Tiffany Huber followed suit by winning 7-5 and 6-2, making it three straight victories for the Gophers in her No. 2 spot. Juliet Zhang finished things up for Minnesota when she won the fourth singles match 6-4 and 6-3. 

This gave the Gophers a three-game conference winning streak and five total wins in a row.

Loss to Michigan

Although Minnesota had momentum after Friday’s victory, the Michigan Wolverines proved too much. The Gophers were swept 7-0 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Even though the end result was the opposite of what Thompson wanted, she said there were plenty of learning experiences to take away from this loss.

“The big thing was talking about what we need to work on and what we need to keep improving on as we move forward,” Thompson said. 

In doubles, the Wolverines couldn’t be stopped as their ranked No. 1 spot swept the Gophers 6-0. However, in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, the matches were more contested. The Wolverines squeaked by 7-6 (7-5) and won the doubles point. The No. 3 match didn’t finish and stood at 6-6 (6-6).

Four of Michigan’s six singles spots had a ranked player battling against the Gophers. That was too much for Minnesota. They only forced one match with three sets. 

Minnesota will have a week-long break coming up where Thompson says growth along with rest will be crucial.

“I think for the girls it’ll be good for them to rest the bodies, and get a good week of practice in,” Thompson said. 

The Gophers will return to action April 5 as they travel to Penn State.