Minnesota finishes strong in first meet

The Gophers won 22 doubles matches and 20 singles matches.

Sophomore AnneMarie Emme returns the ball to Penn State on March 18, 2016 at the Baseline Tennis Center.

Kathryn Chlystek, Daily File Photo

Sophomore AnneMarie Emme returns the ball to Penn State on March 18, 2016 at the Baseline Tennis Center.

Drew Cove

The women’s tennis team kicked off its fall season by hosting the Gopher Invitational at the Baseline Tennis Center Friday through Sunday.

The Gophers won a majority of the matches they played — Minnesota went 20-14 in singles matches and dominated doubles play to finish the tournament with a 22-7 record.

“Our doubles looked really good,” said head coach Chuck Merzbacher. “It was a really good start.”

The dominance in doubles comes as no surprise. Minnesota went 65-55 in doubles last season. Although the Gophers saw seven losses over the weekend, many of the matches were close.

Despite the being the first tournament of the season, the Gophers didn’t let the nerves or rusty play hang around too long.

“[It’s] nice to have it under our belt,” said junior Mehvish Safdar, “The main thing with these tournaments is figuring out what you need to work on and progressively get better, and I felt with every match I was getting better.”

Sophomore Camila Vargas Gomez hadn’t been able to participate in any tournaments at home over the summer, so she was thankful for this first tournament for a number of reasons.

“We played so many matches,” Gomez said. “They were all so helpful. For me it is really important to get playing and get hot in real matches because it is not the same as playing in practice matches.”

Gomez went 3-1 in her singles matches, and when paired with sophomore Annemarie Emme, she had a 2-0 record.

Gomez also played with senior Maja Vujic to a record of 4-1.

While this was the first tournament of the season for the team, it was the first collegiate tournament for some.

“[The freshmen] handled the pressure really well,” Safdar said. “Doubles knowledge and strategy is hard to grasp right away, but I think our freshmen are really adapting to it.”

Such success was highlighted by the performance of freshman Cammy Frei. Frei went 3-1 in singles matches and tied with Vargas Gomez for the most doubles wins with a record of 7-1.

Safdar won the singles consolation champion. She won three matches after opening up with a loss.

Safdar went 3-1 in her singles matches and 4-2 in her doubles matches.

“I wasn’t really happy with that loss,” she said. “But I bounced back, won the rest of my matches and was really happy with the turn out of the tournament.”