Women’s team picks up two wins

The men’s team lost to Oklahoma State 6-1 on Sunday with no singles victories.

Gophers senior Paula Rincon-Otero returns the ball to South Dakota in the Baseline Tennis Center on Saturday evening.

Joe Sulik

Gophers senior Paula Rincon-Otero returns the ball to South Dakota in the Baseline Tennis Center on Saturday evening.

by Jack White

Julia Courter’s strong return sealed another Minnesota victory on Saturday.
The redshirt senior defeated freshman Ellie Burns of the University of South Dakota 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday to finish off the Gophers’ 6-1 dual victory over the Coyotes. Minnesota also defeated the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee earlier Saturday 7-0 to start the spring season 5-1.
“If you said, ‘You’re going to be 5-1 to start,’ I wouldn’t take it,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “This is South Dakota’s first match [of the spring]. They’re picked second in the Summit League. You could tell in the second set, they actually played pretty well.”
The Gophers played Milwaukee first, with three of their doubles pairs winning to take a 1-0 lead.
The team also had all six singles players win their matches in only two sets to easily take the dual 7-0.
Minnesota also swept doubles competition against South Dakota, though in singles the team won only five of six matches.
“[South Dakota] was a little bit different from the first match because they were a little more feisty,” senior Paula Rincon-Otero said. “They hit the ball harder, so I had to hit the ball in front and not just push it and step in.”
Men defeated in Stillwater
Senior Ruben Weber and freshman Marino Alpeza fought to win Minnesota’s third doubles match against No. 25 Oklahoma State, coming out ahead on a tiebreaker.
The victory put the No. 22 Gophers ahead 1-0 with the doubles point, but then the Cowboys took control of the dual to win 6-1.
“I knew it was a really good team that we were playing,” head coach Geoff Young said. “We gave ourselves some chances. Some, of course, more than others, and we played them tough.”
The Gophers other doubles victory came from sophomores Felix Corwin and Matic Spec, who defeated sophomore Julian Cash and junior Arjune Kadhe of Oklahoma State for the second time this season.
The pair first defeated Cash and Kadhe in October at the ITA Central Regional Championships to go to the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
“Really good doubles match for both of us,” Corwin said. “We came out really strong, just going for our shots, hitting the ball hard and closing the net as hard as we could.”
After doubles play, the Cowboys were dominant in singles play. Minnesota dropped four matches in two sets.
Weber and Spec were able to force their matches to three sets, but both ended up falling to give Oklahoma State the sweep in singles.
“We’ll use this to try to get better next week,” Young said. “Just trying to keep our confidence.”