Men extend streak, Women fall for first time

The men’s team is off to an impressive start with a 5-0 record.

Sophomore Felix Corwin returns the ball to Illinois State in the Baseline Tennis Center on Feb. 27.

Daily File Photo

Sophomore Felix Corwin returns the ball to Illinois State in the Baseline Tennis Center on Feb. 27.

Drew Cove

The spring season is in full swing for the Gophers tennis teams.

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams started dual matches this month, and are both off to impressive starts.

Men’s tennis won over the weekend, this time in a doubleheader Saturday. The team won 4-3 against Western Michigan in the morning, and shut out Green Bay in the afternoon 7-0.

The men are now off to a hot start, beginning the spring season with a 5-0 record.

Juniors Felix Corwin and Matic Spec are ranked No. 48 in doubles play, and they won both of their matches Saturday.

Saturday morning the duo won 6-1, and in the afternoon, they won 6-2.

“We’re playing good doubles,” Corwin said. “What I like most about playing with him is [that] we both aren’t afraid to go for our shots, and when we keep going for them, we’re both great players. It’s really hard for other teams to keep up with that when we’re kind of relentless with our hitting.”

Spec is in the number-one singles position for Minnesota, and he is ranked No. 42 in singles play.

The junior from Maribor, Slovenia won each of his singles matches in just two sets apiece, solidifying a point in each of Minnesota’s wins on Saturday.

The women’s team was off to a 2-0 start until they faced the Marshall Thundering Herd Saturday, and fell 7-0.

“I knew this match was really going to be hard,” said head coach Chuck Merzbacher. “[Marshall is] probably a top-25 team, especially at home… I knew that team was going to be comfortable, and we were really going to have to really pull out some matches.”

Minnesota fell by a score of 7-0, but the matches were close, and the Gophers were able to extend their sets and stay in the match longer.

The duo of junior Mehvish Safdar and sophomore Caitlyn Merzbacher extended their doubles match, but ended up losing 7-5, and a pair of sophomores, Annemarie Emme and Camila Vargas Gomez only lost their match 7-6.

“In the doubles part, we went down,” Merzbacher said. “Just getting used to these courts, even though we practiced quite a bit there … we came back and we made the doubles point close.”

Minnesota also made it close in the fourth and fifth singles matches. Emme and Safdar took their opponents to three sets, but ultimately lost the match.

Merzbacher also mentioned that his team is quite young, and still adjusting to playing in a team atmosphere, which they would not have experienced before the collegiate level. It is going to be a learning process for the team, but he liked the way the team played over the weekend.

“It’s not something you can rush,” Merzbacher said. “We really have a challenging schedule, so it’s going to be learning on the fly here for us.”