Tournament seedings finally set

Tyler Rushmeyer

The Minnesota women’s tennis team salvaged a weekend split in convincing fashion Sunday at the Baseline Tennis Center.

In the process of the 5-2 victory, the No. 56 Gophers (11-10 overall, 4-6 Big Ten) concluded their regular season against an opponent, unranked Illinois, that they will meet in the first round of the Big Ten Championships, beginning Thursday.

The win came on the heels of Saturday’s loss to No. 50 Purdue, 4-3; Minnesota’s third conference defeat of the season by that margin.

Coach Tyler Thomson, whose team doubled its conference win total from a year ago this season, said he witnessed progress throughout the year.

“I don’t gauge progress by the fact that we had more wins, but rather the fact that we lost 4-3 to three of the top teams in the Big Ten,” he said. “The advance in wins is excellent but the proximity to the better teams is more of an indication of progress.”

With the win, Minnesota grabbed the No. 7 seed for the Big Ten Championships, held at the Baseline Tennis Center, where the Gophers will match up with the Illini, who finished with the No. 10 seed.

Sunday’s match began with a dropped doubles point by Minnesota, a usual strongpoint for the team. From that point on, the Gophers, who were without senior Ida Malmberg, rattled off five straight singles victories, before dropping the final match.

The five singles victories were the most by Minnesota during its conference season.

Junior Danielle Mousseau, who returned to the lineup this weekend after missing last week due to personal reasons and posted a 2-0 record in singles play, said the team did well to rebound from a disappointing Saturday match.

“We definitely showed more effort and heart today,” she said. “Saturday was just a blip on the radar. We’re feeling good heading into the tournament.”

Senior Ashley Schellhas, who took home the Big Ten Player of the Week last weekend, said the win was a good message to send to the team’s first-round opponent.

“We wanted to establish that we’re a tough team, and I think today gives a big mental edge,” she said. “We’re looking forward to making a run.

Men compete on road

The Minnesota men’s tennis team concluded its final weekend of the regular season Sunday by defeating unranked Purdue, 4-3, in West Lafayette, Ind., a place the Gophers will return to in a matter of days for the Big Ten Championships.

Minnesota’s weekend began on a much lower note Saturday, when the Gophers dropped a convincing decision to one of the nation’s best in No. 11 Illinois (15-7, 8-2) 6-1 for the 18th-straight time.

Minnesota (15-8, 5-5) now heads into the Big Ten Championships with the No. 6 seed where it will get a rematch with the Boilermakers on Thursday.

Senior Mikey Kantar said Sunday’s win might not have been pretty, but it was important heading into the conference tournament.

“Saturday was disappointing and we really wanted to bounce back today,” he said. “It wasn’t our best tennis, but it’s a good way to conclude the regular season and propel us into the tournament.”