Men hope to continue winning ways with duals at Northwestern, Wisconsin

Minnesota won a pair of duals last weekend at Michigan and Michigan State.

Zach Eisendrath

Fresh off a pair of conference wins last weekend, the Minnesota men’s tennis team will look for two more this weekend when they face Northwestern and Wisconsin.

The Gophers (9-9, 3-1 Big Ten) battle the Wildcats (9-7, 3-2 Big Ten) at noon Saturday in Evanston, Ill., and the Badgers (8-8, 1-4 Big Ten) at noon Sunday in Madison, Wis.

“They are both going to be good,” coach David Geatz said. “I think Northwestern on paper is a little solider. But I think they are both going to be good matches. It’s not like we are so good that we can overlook anybody, but we’re playing better as the year goes on.”

Minnesota feels if they beat the teams they are supposed to beat – like this weekend two opponents – the Gophers undoubtedly will receive an NCAA Tournament bid.

“We can’t stumble; we have to beat the teams we’re supposed to beat,” Geatz said. “It’s kind of nice. We’re at the part of the year where we control our own destiny. We win out, we’re in and we can probably even take one or two more losses and still get in. But we should make it.”

Sophomore Raoul Schwark said the Gophers need to continue to take care of business against all comers.

“I think they are going to be pretty decent teams,” Schwark said. “But I think, normally, if everybody is playing like last weekend, we will be able to win both matches. “

Captain Mikey Kantar said Minnesota is the third-best team in the Big Ten if they can find stability.

“The key for us will be can we string these wins together,” he said. “We’re trying to find that consistency where we don’t have those lapses. We put ourselves in a good position, now it’s up to us to capitalize on that position.

“If we show up and we’re focused, we can win,” Kantar said.

With the Big Ten owning two of the top five teams in the country, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Illinois, Geatz said he feels that producing in conference will make for a long run in the NCAA Tournament.

“I think if you’re good enough to win the Big Ten, you’re good enough to win the NCAAs,” he said.

Women also in action

Still seeking its first Big Ten win, Minnesota’s women’s tennis team will look to it when the Gophers challenge Northwestern (13-3, 5-0 Big Ten) at 11 a.m. Saturday and Wisconsin (4-13, 1-4 Big Ten) at noon Sunday, both at Baseline Tennis Center.

Last Sunday the Gophers (3-12, 0-4 Big Ten) had their best shot at grabbing their first conference victory when they welcomed Michigan State to Baseline.

Minnesota won at the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles positions to secure the coveted doubles point for the first time in conference play, but squandered away their first potential Big Ten win when they got swept at the 3 through 6 singles spots.