Women slumping as Big Ten conference play looms

Three key players are currently injured.

Nick Sudheimer

This is not the way Minnesota wanted to start Big Ten play.

A rash of injuries and a tough non-conference schedule have left the Gophers womenâÄôs tennis team with a seven-match losing streak and struggling to get back on track.

Although the wins have been tough to come by for the Gophers, head coach Tyler Thomson believes his team is still as competitive as any.

âÄúWe really have one of the most talented teams weâÄôve ever had,âÄù said Thomson. âÄúWe just have to get healthy.âÄù

Minnesota opened up its spring break trip with a 4-3 loss at Missouri.

The Gophers won the doubles point but only managed to win two of six singles matches.

Following Missouri, Minnesota traveled to the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where it played a strong Seahawks team without three top players.

Despite playing a competitive doubles slate, the Gophers lost the doubles point and UNC-Wilmington sealed the victory by winning the first three matches in singles play.

MinnesotaâÄôs struggles continued as the team dropped its sixth consecutive match the following day, losing to No. 43 William & Mary, 5-2.

The match ended nearly as quickly as it began, as the Tribe swept the doubles competition and then sealed the win by taking the first three singles matches, similar to the match against UNC-Wilmington.

Despite the tough loss, there were some positive signs for the Gophers. Natallia Pintusava âÄî who is currently ranked 65th in the nation âÄî finished her first singles match since March 4. Meanwhile, Doron Muravnik picked up her third consecutive win. After losing her first five matches of the season, Muravnik has won four of her last five.

âÄúSheâÄôs really made a huge about-face in not only her play but in her approach towards the game,âÄù said Thomson. âÄúSheâÄôs become a much more positive influence on the team.âÄù

The Gophers were unable to snap their losing skid in their final game of the road trip, falling to No. 3 North Carolina on Thursday.

Once again, Minnesota played without three of its top players and was forced to alter its lineup.

The Tar Heels took advantage of the short-handed Gophers and swept the match, ending the teamâÄôs spring break road trip on a bitter note.

Men bounce back against Miami

After a tough loss to No. 23 Washington on March 5 that ended its seven-match winning streak, the Gophers menâÄôs tennis team got back on track with a win over No. 25 Miami.

Rok Bonin won the final singles contest of the match to push the No. 23 Gophers to 9-2 on the season.

Minnesota will return home after a month on the road to play No. 66 Northwestern on Friday at the Baseline Tennis Center.