Women face Michigan schools at Baseline, men go to Wolverine state for a pair of duals

Zach Eisendrath

Finally wrapping up its five-week, eight-match road trip, Minnesota’s women’s tennis team will attempt to get into the Big Ten win column for the first time this weekend when it returns home to host Michigan and Michigan State.

The Gophers (3-11, 0-2 Big Ten) take on the Wolverines (8-5, 2-1 Big Ten) at 11 a.m. Saturday and the Spartans (10-5, 1-2 Big Ten) at 11 a.m. Sunday. Both matches are at Baseline Tennis Center.

Coach Tyler Thomson said he isn’t concerned so much with what specific threats Michigan and Michigan State pose, but more so with how his team plays.

“I feel like our team is capable of beating almost every team that we play,” Thomson said.

“The thing is, considering the challenges we’ve had with the depth of our lineup, we kind of need a perfect day – in that everybody plays at or near their best on the same day.”

Thomson said the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 singles spots played “as well as they have all season” in last weekend’s loss to Ohio State, but he still wants his singles players to continue to play smarter tennis.

“The primary thing we need to keep working on in singles,” he said, “is recognizing our offensive opportunities and taking advantage of them, and also not trying to create offensive when it isn’t there.”

“It’s got a heck of a lot better over the course of the year and at this point it is more fine-tuning than it is overhauling.”

No. 1 singles and doubles player Nischela Reddy said the Gophers need to be ready for yet another Big Ten battle.

“I think its going to be a tough weekend,” Reddy said. “Both Michigan and Michigan State always have had really good teams. And it’s the Big Ten, so every opponent is going to be super competitive.”

Thomson said everything will need to fall in place for the Gophers to pick up their first conference victory of the season.

“We’re in a situation this year where we don’t have much margin for error if we want to win,” he said.

Men hit the road

Also coming off a 5-2 loss to the Buckeyes, Minnesota’s men’s tennis team will look to rebound this weekend when it travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face Michigan (9-6, 3-0 Big Ten) on Saturday and East Lansing, Mich., to face Michigan State (6-11, 0-3 Big Ten) on Sunday. Both duals are slated for noon starts.

The Gophers (7-9, 1-1 Big Ten) nearly upset then-seventh-ranked Ohio State last weekend in a match closer than the score indicated. Now Minnesota faces another tough challenge in the 30th-ranked Wolverines. The Gophers already have proved they can play with anybody in the country by upsetting then No. 13 Texas A&M on Jan. 27.

Michigan – along with Illinois – stands atop the early Big Ten conference standings with a perfect 3-0 mark, while the Spartans are 0-3.