Gophers top first ranked team of the season

Coach Tyler Thomson knew the flower would bloom eventually. He just didnâÄôt know when. It came this weekend when Thomson saw how gifted and unique this team really is. He not only saw practice transfer to matches, but saw the heart of the team on the top of its game. âÄúThereâÄôs something about our team this year that is better and different. ThereâÄôs a greater degree of belief, thereâÄôs a greater degree of confidence,âÄù Thomson said after SundayâÄôs match. By belief, Thomson means he and the women have no doubts that there isnâÄôt a team they canâÄôt beat. This mindset proved to be true on the court this weekend. No. 66 Minnesota knocked off their first ranked opponent, No. 44 Marshall on Friday night 4-3. The match didnâÄôt come without a fight to the finish, though. Freshman Niltooli Wilkins lifted her team to a 4-3 win over with a 3 set win (4-6, 6-3, 6-2). Wilkins, along with Tijana Koprivica led the Gophers in much improved singles matches this weekend. Both went undefeated. Minnesota then lost 5-2 on Sunday to a strong Pac-Ten opponent in No. 36 Washington. Although the women never lost the âÄúbeat anybodyâÄù mindset, there were some missed opportunities. The Gophers could have won the doubles point had seniors Karina and Chiarelli and Alex Seaton not given up a 7-5 lead to lose 9-7 at number one doubles. In number one and two singles, Chiarelli and sophomore Alessandra Ferrazzi dropped three set matches after winning the first set. Losses including these prevented Minnesota from beating their second ranked opponent of the weekend. Thomson wasnâÄôt distraught after yesterday. He only knows there are things that need more consistency. âÄúIt was a very positive weekend for us despite the fact that we lost today; [Washington] was a match that could have gone either way,âÄù Thomson said. After an expected win over Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday (7-0), the menâÄôs tennis team took some of their polished skills and used them to convincingly beat yet another ranked opponent in No. 46 Southern Methodist University (6-1). Like the women, the men are now thinking, âÄúbeat anybody.âÄù âÄú[The win gave us] the idea that we can do this and weâÄôre good enough to compete with the top teams,âÄù freshman Michael Sicora said.