Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Aiva Schmitz serves up early conference wins for Gophers tennis

Schmitz sealed Minnesota’s third conference matchup after winning her singles match on Sunday.
Image by CJ Bonk
Gophers tennis upset No. 62 nationally-ranked Iowa on Sunday.

The Gophers women’s tennis team won their third conference match on Sunday after sophomore Aiva Schmitz defeated Iowa’s Barbora Pokorna in the third singles position.

The Gophers upset the No. 62 ranked Hawkeyes 4-1.

Schmitz marked her third time closing out a conference match with a win this season.

All three of Schmitz’s matches this year ended with her winning the match point followed by her teammates running toward her and embracing her while jumping up and down.

Schmitz comes from a family of professional athletes. Her father played professional tennis on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour for 10 years. Her mother played basketball at Marquette University and then professionally in Australia, Luxembourg and Germany.

“They always told me about big moments that make everything worth it, like all the hours on the court, and it totally was,” Schmitz said.

Even when matches are not going her way, Schmitz has a strategy. “Go Gophs,” she tells herself throughout the match.

Schmitz said when she cheers on the team or herself, someone usually hears her and cheers back. 

“It gives you that extra strength when you’re nervous and you’re like, ‘Oh man, I really need to win this point,” Schmitz said.

In April, the Gophers are scheduled to play six Big Ten teams and will end the month with the Big Ten tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Gophers have lost four consecutive matches before their conference opener. In three of those four matches, the team was one point shy from victory.

Gophers head coach Lois Arterberry said the team’s victory against Indiana helped propel them positively into their next match.

“We definitely had to get a little bit of a mental shift,” Arterberry said.

Schmitz, in agreement with Arterberry, said the team played with a newfound level of confidence after defeating Indiana.

“You could tell that the weight had been lifted off of us and we showed up even better the next day,” Schmitz said.

Emma Belluomini said she is among the Gophers who fell victim to being mentally drained from the frequent losses early in the spring season. She added she wanted to focus on her mental game throughout conference play.

The freshman from Lucca, Italy, started both the spring and fall seasons winning 10 consecutive matches. Belluomini won both of her singles matches over the weekend and said she noticed an improvement in her serve since she arrived in Minnesota.

“I was making some mistakes [on the serve] when I first came here,” Belluomini said. “I feel like I worked a lot on the serve and to be a little bit more aggressive.”

With six regular season matches left, Arterberry said the next month will be tough both mentally and physically and added her team has “no time to complain.”

Schmitz said she knows — after three conference victories and several tight losses — the team can compete with top-ranked teams.

“These are the big matches and all of the teams are going to be good,” Schmitz said.

The Gophers will travel to Champaign, Illinois, on Friday to face the Fighting Illini and to Northwestern on Sunday. Both teams are ranked among the top 50 nationally.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *