Women split two Big Ten matches

The men’s team earned a 6-1 road victory at Hawaii over the weekend.

Senior Paula Rincon-Otero prepares to return the ball to Penn State in the Baseline Tennis Center Friday afternoon.

Kathryn Chlystek

Senior Paula Rincon-Otero prepares to return the ball to Penn State in the Baseline Tennis Center Friday afternoon.

Jack White

The Gophers women’s tennis team played their second and third Big Ten matches of the season over the weekend, kicking off the conference-exclusive portion of their schedule.
 
 
Minnesota defeated Penn State at home on Friday 5-2 in its first match and then lost 7-0 to No. 2 Ohio State on Sunday.
 
 
The team played against the Buckeyes without senior Jessika Mozia, who sat out with an injury.
 
 
“[We played] without one of our four-year starters and played the No. 2 team in the country,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “It has been a long week. … [Columbus is a] tough place to play.”
 
 
Playing Friday against the Nittany Lions, the Gophers (10-6, 2-1 Big Ten) won in the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles spots to get out to a 1-0 lead.
 
 
Minnesota then won four of six singles matches to take the dual. In the No. 3 singles spot, senior Paula Rincon-Otero won 6-2, 6-1.
 
 
“I started very strong from the beginning, and that helped me the whole match because I didn’t let her come back,” Rincon-Otero said.
 
 
The Gophers didn’t fare as well away from home and failed to win a single match against Ohio State.
 
 
“I think we’re a work in progress,” Merzbacher said.
 
 
Men win in Hawaii 
 
 
The Minnesota men’s tennis team traveled to Honolulu to play Hawaii on Friday and won 6-1.
 
 
“It was a good test for us, and I’m happy to see a good result,” head coach Geoff Young said. “We trained hard outside all week and tried our best to get used to the wind and the sun and the warmer conditions, and I’m sure that helped us today.” 
 
 
Minnesota (6-9, 0-1 Big Ten) won all three doubles matches to start the dual and took a 1-0 lead.
 
 
The Gophers then won six out of seven singles matches, with freshman Marino Alpeza taking the only loss in the No. 6 spot.