Women lose to Purdue, beat Indiana

The men’s team also rebounded against the Hoosiers on Sunday.

Minnesota sophomore Jessika Mozia returns the ball to Purdue on Friday at Baseline Tennis center. This match ended in a loss of 3-4 by Minnesota.

Image by Lisa Persson

Minnesota sophomore Jessika Mozia returns the ball to Purdue on Friday at Baseline Tennis center. This match ended in a loss of 3-4 by Minnesota.

by Jace Frederick

The Gophers women’s tennis team entered the weekend hoping for a sweep over two ranked Big Ten opponents.

Minnesota didn’t accomplish its goal, but players and coaches weren’t necessarily disappointed with a split.

The Gophers salvaged the split with a 5-2 victory over No. 35 Indiana on Sunday morning after falling 4-3 to No. 46 Purdue on Friday night.

Minnesota head coach Chuck Merzbacher said he talked to his team about responding after the Purdue loss — a match the team  could have won.

“There was only one way to go, which is to respond with a finish like we had today,” he said. “We wanted to respond this way, and we got it done.”

The No. 63 Gophers (14-4, 4-1) appeared to be headed toward a defeat Sunday after losing the doubles point, but two quick victories at No. 1 and No. 4 singles by Tereza Brichacova and Julia Courter, respectively, flipped the script.

Brichacova, who’d lost her first three Big Ten matches, won two over the weekend. She said she’s started to focus on every point during her matches, and the results are starting to show.

“I’m really happy about those two matches,” Brichacova said. “I was trying to get my confidence back, and these matches helped a lot.”

The Gophers’ success wasn’t limited to the top of the order, though. Courter and junior Aria Lambert won both their matches at No. 4 and No. 5 singles, respectively, this weekend.

“The bottom of the lineup is really holding it up,” Merzbacher said. “We have a lot of great players, and we have to take advantage of it.”

Merzbacher has talked about his team being “Gopher Tough” all season — a sentiment that was embodied during Sunday’s performance.

“It means a lot,” he said. “If we’re going to be that tough when we need to be tough against a very good team … we can play with anyone.”

Weber wins one for men

Ruben Weber was the last man standing for the Gophers (9-8, 3-2) on Sunday afternoon in Indiana.

No. 50 Minnesota, which lost an ugly 6-1 match against No. 41 Purdue on Friday, was locked at 3-3 against No. 65 Indiana with just Weber’s match left.

“I knew it was going to be really intense,” Weber said. “We had guys [from both teams] yelling back and forth. It was crazy. I loved it.”

With the attention centered on Weber’s court, the sophomore built a 6-5 lead in the second set after he had already taken the first set.

But Weber couldn’t close. He had his serve broken and then lost the tiebreaker, sending the match to a decisive final set.

In the third set, he fell behind 3-1.

“I got really tight,” Weber said, “so my mindset changed a little bit in a negative way.”

Weber managed to regain his composure and won five of the next six games down the stretch to seal his match and give the Gophers the win.

His teammates rushed onto his court after the win.

“It felt amazing,” Weber said. “We really needed that win.”