Jan. 23, 2014
After dropping its first match of the season on the road to Oklahoma State, the No. 39-ranked Minnesota tennis team will set its sights on the ITA Kick-Off Weekend hosted by the University of Kentucky. The Gophers will begin the weekend with a 4 p.m. (CT) match against No. 29 Notre Dame Friday in Lexington, Ky.. The team will then face either the host and eighth-ranked Wildcats or No. 45 BYU Saturday.
The Gophers lost their 2014-opening match last weekend at Oklahoma State in the third-ever match at the brand-new Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Okla. The Cowboys won at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles to take the first point and Minnesota freshman Jeremy Lynn evened the score with the first dual match win of his career--becoming the first-ever OSU opponent to win at its new facility--but Oklahoma state polished off a 4-1 triumph with three consecutive singles wins.
About Notre Dame
Notre Dame has started fast in 2014, claiming three wins in as many matches to begin the season. The Fighting Irish blanked both William & Mary and Toledo and downed Michigan State, 5-2, to start its season a week ago. UND's Greg Andrews and Quentin Monaghan are the 22nd- and 90th-ranked singles players in the nation, respectively. Andrews and Alex Lawson are ranked 21st in doubles, while Nicolas Montoya and Kenny Sabacinski are the 56th-ranked duo in the country.
Kentucky enters the weekend as the No. 8 team in the country after a 4-0 start. After blanking Eastern Kentucky and Dayton, the Wildcats downed then-No. 7 Duke, 4-3, before cruising past Indiana, 6-1. UK boasts three top-100 singles players in Beck Pennington (No. 55), Tom Jomby (No. 68), and Kevin Lai (No. 97).
About Brigham Young
Like its Friday opponent, 45th-ranked BYU is 4-0 to begin the season. After defeating Utah State, 4-3, in their opener, the Cougars topped Weber State, 5-2, before registering wins over Navy and then-No. 74 George Washington in Annapolis, Md.
Against the Field
Minnesota has not played any of the teams in this weekend's field since 2003 and hasn't never faced BYU. The Gophers defeated Notre Dame, 6-1, in 2003 season are 12-12 against the Fighting Irish in 24 all-time matches. Against the Wildcats, Minnesota holds a narrow 3-2 advantage in the all-time series and also last competed against UK in the 2003 season, earning a 6-1 victory.
Plenty of Tennis To Go
The Gophers' 2014 campaign didn't begin the way the team wanted with a loss to now-No. 51 Oklahoma State In its opener, but the team has 22 matches remaining. In its seventh season under head coach Geoff Young
in 2013, Minnesota finished with a 15-11 record and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where it fell to eventual national champion Virginia. After a 3-8 (and 0-4) start, the Gophers went 11-3 down the stretch, including a 9-1 finish to Big Ten conference play.
Hamburg and Froment Ranked
After an 11-2 record in the fall that included runs to the USTA/ITA Division I Men's Central Regional and Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic championship matches, as well as a seven-match winning streak, junior doubles duo Jack Hamburg and Mathieu Froment will entered the spring as the 47th-ranked tandem in the nation. After serving as the Gophers' No. 1 doubles team in 2013, Hamburg and Froment go into the spring with an 18-10 overall record together. Because Minnesota's other two doubles teams lost, the tandem did not get to complete its first match against OSU a week ago.
Leading this year's group of returnees in singles is junior Leandro Toledo, who began the fall ranked 53rd in singles after earning his second All-Big Ten selection last season. In addition to Hamburg, Froment, and Toledo, the junior class will be rounded out by Eric Frueh and Tucker Saxon. Juan Pablo Ramirez, who rejoined the squad after missing the fall, is the team's lone senior, while Ruben Weber is Minnesota's only sophomore.
Minnesota welcomes two freshmen to the team this season, Jeremy Lynn and Franz Sydow. Lynn comes to the Gophers from Joplin High School in Missouri, while Sydow joins the team from Amsterdam, Netherlands. Both players notched their first collegiate singles wins against Princeton opponents at the Gopher Invitational in the fall. Lynn was the only Gopher to win in the team's first match against Oklahoma State.
Match Format Changes
The ITA Women's Operating Committee has approved and mandated a new ITA Women's Experimental Format to be played from Jan. 1 through the ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships, Feb. 10. The dual meet will consist of three doubles matches played first (worth a total of one point), followed by six singles matches, each individual match worth one point. Four points are required to win the team match. The three doubles matches will each consist of one set, with regular scoring and a tiebreaker at 6-all. Once a team has won two doubles matches, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. Six singles matches will follow the doubles. Each singles match is two out of three sets, with each set using regular scoring, and a match tiebreaker in lieu of the third set.