Again a 3-seed, men know not to overlook anyone at Big 10 tourney

The women open the Big Ten tournament against Iowa.

Samuel Gordon

For the second time in the past three seasons, the Minnesota menâÄôs tennis team earned the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament.

This yearâÄôs edition of the event will be held at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium at the University of Wisconsin.

On Friday, the Gophers will face the winner of ThursdayâÄôs match between 6-seed Wisconsin and 11-seed Penn State, which will likely be Wisconsin, given that Penn State is winless in the conference this year.

Minnesota defeated both teams earlier in the season, with a 5-2 win over Wisconsin and a 6-1 victory over Penn State.

With a second round victory, the Gophers would be poised for a rematch with 2-seed Indiana, which handed Minnesota its first conference loss back on April 8. Senior Tobias Wernet, however, is taking things one match at a time.

âÄúI told the team after we beat Illinois and it was pretty clear that weâÄôre playing Wisconsin, I told them, âÄòThis is the only thing we should focus on. We shouldnâÄôt look ahead. ThatâÄôs what we did two years ago and we got punished,âÄôâÄù Wernet said. âÄúYou should never do that as an athlete. You should focus on every game. ThereâÄôs only Wisconsin, thatâÄôs all there is.âÄù

Two seasons ago, also as the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament, the then-No. 32 Gophers were knocked out in their first matchup by Indiana, a team they beat 6-1 during the regular season.

This year, if Minnesota does indeed beat Wisconsin or Penn State, the Minnesota-Indiana match could again prove interesting. In the April 8 match, the Hoosiers defeated the Gophers 4-3, but Minnesota was without one of its top players, Sebastian Gallego, who was inactive with a foot injury.

Gallego returned to action last Friday against Illinois and expects to play in the tournament this weekend.

Ohio State highlights the other half of the bracket. The Buckeyes have won 75 straight Big Ten matches and six consecutive regular season conference titles.

âÄúItâÄôs a big opportunity for us,âÄù Gallego said when asked about the tournament. âÄúWe put ourselves in the best position to win the first round and face Indiana again.âÄù

Despite the good positioning entering the tournament, head coach Geoff Young knows there will be no easy victory.

âÄúWe were seeded third two years ago. The top half of the Big Ten is filled with really good teams,âÄù Young said.

Women face Iowa in first round

The womenâÄôs tennis team will be heading to Michigan this weekend to take on Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

The Gophers are coming off of back-to-back wins to end the regular season, with the latter of the two being a 6-1 victory over the Hawkeyes.

The winner of that match will face top-seeded Michigan. Michigan is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation. The Wolverines defeated Minnesota 7-0 April 3.

Other Notes

Tobias Wernet was named Big Ten menâÄôs tennis co-athlete of the week. The senior jumped from No. 100 to No. 67 in the ITA rankings after two singles wins this past weekend, including a victory over then-No. 10 Dennis Nevolo of Illinois. This is the second time this season that Wernet has received conference honors.