Gophers aim to continue home success

Minnesota is 17-3 at Baseline Tennis Center over the last two seasons.

by Dane Mizutani

A trip home is all the Gophers needed after losing two of their first three matches.

Minnesota won all three of its matches in the friendly confines of the Baseline Tennis Center last weekend.

Still, head coach Geoff Young said the home-court advantage has no impact on his team’s wins or its losses.

“I don’t know that there’s that much difference between being at home and being on the road,” Young said. “I like it both ways, I guess.”

His players have a different take.

“It does make a difference, I think,” said junior Mathieu Froment. “We know the environment of our home court, and having the crowd with us helps, too.”

And there’s evidence to back it up.

Minnesota is 17-3 over the last two seasons at Baseline but just 8-9 on the road.

Froment said Baseline’s courts are slower compared to most others.

“It’s the courts we play on every day, so of course it makes a difference,” said senior Juan Pablo Ramirez. “It can be a real disadvantage for us when we’re on the road.”

That won’t be a problem this weekend, as the team is staying in the Twin Cities for its matches, with hopes of extending its three-game winning streak.

Young said last week’s wins boosted his team’s confidence but said wins aren’t the main focus at this point in the season.

“I’d like to think that we don’t need to win in order to get our confidence,” he said. “I suppose it doesn’t hurt, though.”

And while the coach and his players may not agree about the impact of playing at home, they agree that the team doesn’t need to win in order to validate itself.

“We don’t really need to win matches to be confident in our game,” Froment said. “We know we are playing well right now.”

Young said he is satisfied with the way his team is playing at the moment, but he said he would like to see more consistency from the entire group.

That consistency was there last weekend but was lacking in the first two weeks of competition.

“That’ll come with time,” he said. “It’s early, and we have a long ways to go.”

The season continues with two matches this weekend, but the team is building up for something much bigger down the road.

“These matches are important to us, but they are just preparing us for the Big Ten,” Froment said. “We started off slow last year, too, but once we got to the Big Ten, we won a lot.”

It’s safe to assume the team is hoping for a similar script this season.