Improved women’s tennis plays tough

Tim Klobuchar

The Gophers women’s tennis team improved to 3-0 on the season with two easy home victories this weekend.
Minnesota warmed up for the Big Ten season, which starts this weekend, by beating Drake 6-1 Friday night and DePaul 6-1 Sunday morning at the 98th Street Racquet Club in Bloomington.
Neither of the two teams exactly pushed Minnesota, but the Gophers did learn they’ve improved over the last year.
One year ago DePaul’s No. 1 singles player, Nives Milosevic, beat the Gophers’ No. 1 player, senior Dana Peterson. Minnesota’s No. 1 this year, Nora Sauska, beat Milosevic 6-2, 6-0 on Saturday.
The Gophers’ No. 2 singles player, Alice Rangsithienchai, needed three sets to beat the Blue Demons’ Klara Salopek last year. Saturday, Rangsithienchai won 6-2 and 6-0.
The Gophers also found out they can shuffle their line-up and still not suffer at all. With one junior (Jennifer Hayes) struggling and another (Jenni Svehla) unable to play because of a sore right shoulder, Minnesota went with an all-underclassman line-up on Saturday.
“We found out we have a really deep line-up,” Gophers coach Martin Novak said.
Minnesota opens its Big Ten season this weekend with matches Friday against Purdue and Sunday against Illinois. Both matches are at 98th Street.
“It looks good right now,” Novak said. “We’d have to shoot ourselves in the foot for us not to compete in the Big Ten. And that’s not our intention.”
Men’s track and field
Tye Harvey provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the pole vault for the third straight meet, setting a personal best at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.
Harvey’s career-best vault of 17 feet, 9 and one-quarter inches was also good enough to win the event, just ahead of another Gopher.
Ben Jensen also set a personal best with a 17-6 1/2 vault.
Jensen joined shot putter Chad Yenchesky as Gophers who provisionally qualified for the NCAAs for the second time. Yenchesky threw 17.86 feet, good for third place.
Friday night, Minnesota cross country coach Steve Plasencia, running unattached, won the 5,000-meter run in 14 minutes, 8.1 seconds. The Gophers distance medley team finished second in the open meet.