Gophers women go a second round with No. 1 Northwestern

The Minnesota womenâÄôs tennis team will get a second chance against No.1-ranked Northwestern Friday at 10 a.m. at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wis. in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. The Wildcats handed the Gophers a 7-0 pounding earlier this month at the Baseline Tennis Center and Minnesota has not beaten Northwestern since 2003. âÄúYou always have a unique experience when you get to play the best team in the nation and for us that would represent the opportunity to accomplish a lot of things,âÄù Gophers coach Tyler Thomson said. Thomson called the Wildcats a team he wished the Gophers could have avoided playing this early, but was looking forward to the chance now that Minnesota is back at full strength and on a winning streak. The Gophers won two matches last weekend against Purdue and Indiana State after a number of players on the roster returned from injuries. âÄúI think everybody felt that the match against Purdue was a little bit of validation,âÄù Thomson said. âÄúIt showed that when we have our full lineup weâÄôre capable of beating one of the better teams in the Big Ten.âÄù The Wildcats (22-1, 10-0 Big Ten) have won 74 consecutive conference matches entering FridayâÄôs contest, but thatâÄôs a streak that Thomson says canâÄôt last forever. âÄúThe streak has to end sometime,âÄù Thomson said. âÄúWeâÄôre not going to be satisfied with just showing up; weâÄôre coming to play.âÄù The eighth-seeded Gophers (12-11, 4-7 Big Ten) cruised to a 4-0 victory over ninth-seeded Penn State Thursday for their second win over the Nitany Lions this season to earn that matchup with Northwestern. MenâÄôs team ready to play The Minnesota menâÄôs tennis team earned the luxury of watching ThursdayâÄôs opening round of the Big Ten tournament while the team awaited its opponent for Friday. After sixth-seeded Indiana (14-13, 6-5 Big Ten) defeated eleventh-seeded Michigan State Thursday, the No. 3-seeded Gophers (18-6, 7-3 Big Ten) had their matchup set for Friday at 1 p.m. at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Minnesota already has a victory over the Hoosiers under its belt this season. The Gophers handed Indiana a 6-1 defeat earlier this month at the Baseline Tennis Center. The only point Minnesota lost in that matchup was the No. 6 singles point. Similar to the womenâÄôs team, the menâÄôs team is entering the tournament playing well, winning three consecutive matches, including two 7-0 sweeps over conference oppononents Iowa and Purdue last weekend. âÄúIt was good that we won those matches,âÄù Minnesota coach Geoff Young said. âÄúI think we were anxious to get going with the tournament itself after the five-week Big Ten stretch.âÄù The Gophers strong finish to the regular season helped the team secure the No. 3 seed in the tournament. As the third-seed, it meant a potential matchup against defending conference champion Ohio State would be saved for the championship game rather than a semifinal. âÄú(Ohio State) took care of us pretty easily during the regular season and if we met them again it would be better to do that in the finals,âÄù Young said. âÄúThe No. 3-seed accomplishes that.âÄù