Gophers end regular season on high

Both the men’s and women’s teams closed out the tennis season with a pair of conference victories.

Samuel Gordon

Coming into the final weekend of the regular season, the Minnesota womenâÄôs tennis team had a chance to build some momentum before it crossed the finish line of a season highlighted by injuries instead of victories. ThatâÄôs exactly what the Gophers did. Despite entering the weekend on a four-match losing streak, Minnesota won back-to-back matches for the first time since mid-February with home victories at Baseline Tennis Center against Illinois and Iowa to end the season with a 7-15 record. âÄúIt means a lot because it gives us a lot of confidence going into the Big Ten tournament,âÄù senior Mariana Spilca said after the Iowa match Sunday. âÄúWe beat some good teams this last weekend.âÄù The first match of the weekend was against the Illini on Friday, and after dropping the doubles point, Minnesota won consecutive singles matches at the No. 4 and No. 6 positions to go up 2-1. The Illini evened things up when senior Alessandra Ferrazzi fell at No. 2 singles, but freshman Yuliana Umanets won in No. 5 singles to give the Gophers a 3-2 edge. Junior Magdalena WiechaâÄôs three-set victory in the No. 3 match clinched the victory for the Gophers, their first since April 3. SundayâÄôs Iowa match was never in doubt. Minnesota jumped out to a 1-0 lead after sweeping the three doubles matches for the first time all season. âÄúI think that we know how to play doubles as a team and weâÄôre a good doubles program,âÄù head coach Tyler Thomson said. âÄúIt was nice to see them come back and sweep. It was great.âÄù The Gophers would go on to win five of the six singles matches, all in straight sets, giving them a 6-1 victory in their final regular season match. âÄúYou hope that you peak at the end of the season, and weâÄôre doing that right now,âÄù Thomson said. âÄúEverybodyâÄôs playing inspired, good tennis; playing smarter tennis, good team efforts âĦ We donâÄôt feel like our season is done yet. WeâÄôve still got things to accomplish.âÄù Men end with two road wins The No. 23 Minnesota menâÄôs tennis team defeated both No. 18 Illinois and No. 66 Iowa to finish the regular season 17-4. The Gophers traveled to Illinois with a 19-match losing streak against the Illini, but a 4-3 victory snapped the skid, giving Minnesota its first win against Illinois since 1996. Sebastian Gallego returned to the lineup for the Gophers after missing four matches with a foot injury and contributed immediately with an 8-6 victory in No. 1 doubles alongside Phillip Ardnt. The pairing of Rok Bonin and Julian Dehn clinched the doubles point for Minnesota with an 8-6 win in the No. 2 match. Illinois got on the board with a win over Gallego in No. 3 singles and took a 2-1 lead with a win over Ardnt in the No. 4 match. Brendan Ruddock tied the match with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory in the No. 5 match, but that didnâÄôt last long as Illinois won the No. 6 match and regained the lead, 3-2. Minnesota star Tobias Wernet knotted things back up with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 upset victory over 10th-ranked Dennis Nevolo in No. 1 singles. Bonin sealed the deal with a 7-5, 7-6 victory in No. 2 singles, giving the Gophers a 4-3 victory. âÄúIt was a great effort by the team, up and down the lineup,âÄù head coach Geoff Young said. âÄúIllinois is a very tough team, and we were fortunate to get the win.âÄù Minnesota defeated Iowa on Sunday 5-2, claiming the doubles point and four of six singles matches.