Near-upset leads to upset for Gophers at Baseline tourney

No. 68 Missouri held off Minnesota, but No. 59 Boston College had no such luck Sunday.

An upset-minded Minnesota’s women’s tennis team took to the courts this weekend to face three teams ranked in the top 75 in the Minnesota Court Classic at Baseline Tennis Center.

No. 68 Missouri held off one bid Saturday, but No. 59 Boston College couldn’t turn away another Sunday.

The unranked Gophers took third place in the four-team tournament with a 4-3 loss to the Tigers in the first round and a 5-2 win over the Eagles in the third-place match.

“I’m very proud of the way our team competes,” coach Tyler Thomson said Sunday. “Their attitude and positivity are why we won today.”

Minnesota dominated Boston College from the start, as junior Nischela Reddy and sophomore Ida Malmberg teamed up to win their No. 1 doubles match 8-4 over the Boston College team of Szilvia Szegedi and Nida Waseem.

Combined with freshmen Jane Anderson and Danielle Mousseau winning their No. 2 doubles match 8-2, the Gophers grabbed the doubles point and didn’t look back.

The Gophers jumped on the Eagles, winning four more singles points to ice the victory before the Ducks went on to win the tournament championship 5-2 over the Tigers.

After a loss Saturday that could have been disheartening for the Gophers squad, Thomson said the team’s competitive drive kept it in the tournament.

Now, he said, he believes the team must continue to raise the bar for itself.

“We can play with any team in the country,” Thomson said. “But I don’t think we’re yet to that point where we can beat any team in the country.”

That bar will be raised even more in a couple of weeks as Minnesota (2-1) faces No. 14 Kentucky and No. 15 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.

And despite the 1-1 weekend, the Gophers were even encouraged by their loss.

Minnesota fell behind early by losing the doubles point. Needing to step up their game, the Gophers won three of their first five singles matches, including Nos. 1-3 singles.

The teams were tied 3-3 with one match still in progress – freshman Marina Bugaenco and Missouri sophomore Carolyn Kramer.

Kramer won a close first set 7-5 only to have Bugaenco steal the second 6-4 to force a third and decisive set.

But Kramer took the third set, the match and the dual 4-3.

Perhaps most noteworthy for the Gophers was the fact that Reddy, Malmberg and Anderson won their Nos. 1-3 singles matches in both duals.

Thomson said Anderson has been worthy of the challenges she’s faced, while Reddy and Malmberg are continuing their ascensions.

“They have really stepped up their games to another level,” Thomson said. “But there’s still a lot of levels to go.”

Reddy (3-0) also had nothing but praise for her teammates.

“I don’t think we’re going to be intimidated,” Reddy said. “We get along great, we want each other to do really well and we always support each other.”

Men swept by Virginia

Minnesota’s 44th-ranked men’s tennis team lost its season opener Saturday, falling to No. 10 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

Virginia won all three doubles matches and all the singles matches en route to the 7-0 victory.

The Gophers look to turn things around this weekend as they travel to the Great Northwest Shootout in Seattle.