Although there were some bright spots during a weekend trip in Madison, Wisconsin for the Gophers’ women’s tennis team (5-5, 0-1 Big Ten), the team ultimately walked away with two losses.
Even though the Gophers walked away winless, head coach Catrina Thompson said there were positives shown over the weekend.
“Anytime you come on the road, it’s tough,” Thompson said. “Overall, like the girls usually do, they competed well, but we just have to close out matches.”
On Friday, Minnesota went up against the Utah Utes, who snuck past the Gophers 4-3 after a heart breaking three-set match between the No. 5 singles between Minnesota’s Caitlyn Merzbacher and Utah’s Whitney Hekking 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
On Sunday, however, the Gophers opened the Big Ten season by taking an early lead over border-rival Wisconsin after the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles downed the Badgers, putting the Gophers’ ahead 1-0. The two doubles teams bounced back from a winless Friday against Utah, which Thompson said was a highlight of the weekend.
“[We told them yesterday] about coming out and being more aggressive and just being consistent,” Thompson said. “We did a much better job at doubles today.”
Although Minnesota took an early 1-0 lead after the two doubles victories, the momentum swung in favor of the Badgers as they won five of the six single matches on the day.
“It was [disappointing] to get the doubles points and get the momentum with the early lead and then lose,” Thompson said. “We competed, but we need to finish.”
Thompson said bright spots were the performances of Merzbacher for single and doubles, and then her partner Cammy Frei in doubles.
“They both did a great job, … and I thought they played the best in doubles,” Thompson said. She added that getting a point from Merzbacher in singles and doubles was a huge boost for the team.
Mezbacher was the only player to win a singles match against Wisconsin. She won easily in two sets, 6-4 and 6-2, and in doubles she and Frei won 6-3.
Although the results of the weekend wasn’t what Thompson was hoping for, she said there were plenty of opportunities to learn from.
“We had some opportunities, but we just have to get back to work next week. … [We] just have to keep our heads up and keep working on the things we need to in practice,” Thompson said.
The Gophers’ will return to action next Saturday against the University of Denver, in Houston.