Minnesota beat Border Battle rival Wisconsin for the fifth-consecutive time
The season-opening tournament will welcome 12 visiting schools to the Baseline Tennis Center
Edina-native Whitney Taney is entering her fourth season with the program
Sixth-seed Minnesota opens the Big Ten Tournament with a clash against border rival Wisconsin, the No. 11 seed.
No. 59 Minnesota will play Illinois Friday at 3 p.m. and Northwestern Sunday at noon when it celebrates Senior Day.
Chuck Merzbacher returned to Minnesota, his alma mater, in August 2012 to lead the women's tennis program and continue the tradition of the Maroon and Gold.
In his first season with the Golden Gophers, Merzbacher led the team to a 10-15 overall record on the court. Earning the No. 10 seed, the squad participated in the 2013 Big Ten Tournament and defeated Penn State, 4-1, in the opening round. Merzbacher coached junior Natallia Pintusava to receive Second Team All-Big Ten honors, making her the team's first three-time all-conference honoree in over a decade.
In his second season at the helm of his former school, the Gophers improved to 17-9 and reached as high as No. 55 in the ITA national rankings, going 6-5 in Big Ten play to double its conference win total from the previous season. The team's overall and Big Ten win totals were its highest since 2003.
Minnesota went on to defeat Border Battle rival Wisconsin in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Junior Tereza Brichacova, one of four players on the team to win 20 or more singles matches, was an All-Big Ten honoree.
The Gophers excelled in the classroom in 2013-14, as well, with six Academic All-Big Ten selections, three Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, and three student-athletes that achieved ITA Scholar-Athlete status. As a team, Minnesota earned the ITA All-Academic Team award for the ninth consecutive year and garnered the University's Women's Athletics Team Academic Award for the sixth year in a row.
Merzbacher joined the staff after spending the last 16 years at fellow Big Ten member Ohio State. During his tenure with the Buckeyes, Merzbacher coached his squads to nine NCAA Tournament appearances and a total of 209 victories, becoming the winningest coach in program history and leading Ohio State women's tennis to national prominence.
Merzbacher and his wife, Cherie, are the parents of Chad and Caitlyn.