The Golden Gophers women's tennis team is preparing for the annual Gopher Invitational this weekend at the Baseline Tennis Center.
Head coach Chuck Merzbacher announced the 2016-2017 team schedule on Thursday.
Head coach Chuck Merzbacher announced on Thursday that Nick Kavelaris has joined the University of Minnesota women's tennis coaching staff.
The University of Minnesota women’s tennis team was named a 2016 Intercollegiate Association (ITA) All-Academic team.
Six University of Minnesota tennis student-athletes competed this weekend at the US Open Sectional Qualifier.
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.
In 2014-15 the Gophers finished 17-10 while posting an impressive 11-3 home record. Tereza Brichacova won the ITA Central Regions Most Improved Player of the Year Award and five players were named to the All-Big Ten Academic Team.
The Gophers went 13-12 under Merzbacher in the 2015-16 season going 5-6 in Big Ten play. He eclipsed the 400 win mark in his career when the Maroon and Gold defeated New Mexico at the reestablished Courtside Classic. Caroline Ryba was named to the All-Big Ten team and six Gophers were named Academic All-Big Ten.
Minnesota posted a 13-12 overall record in 2016-17 and a 5-6 record in the Big Ten. The Maroon and Gold took down Wisconsin (3/4) 7-0 for the seventh straight victory in the Border Battle. Caroline Ryba was named to the All-Big Ten team for the second time while six Gophers were named Academic All-Big Ten.
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.
The Findlay, Ohio native graduated from the University of Minnesota as the all-time career wins leader with 137, a record that still stands today. He also holds the No. 3 and No. 11 spots for victories in a single season. Merzbacher finished his Gopher career as a three-time All-Big Ten selection and two-time NCAA national qualifier. As a freshman in 1984, he established his collegiate credibility with a Big Ten Conference No. 4 singles title. During his Gopher career, Minnesota won Big Ten titles in 1984 and 1986 and amassed a record of 42-7 in conference play.
After a brief stint as Minnesota's assistant coach in 1987, Merzbacher tried his hand on the professional circuit. He was ranked as high as No. 354 in singles and No. 335 in doubles, making international showings in both the Australian Open and the Wimbledon qualifier in 1989.
Merzbacher launched his head coaching career with the men's program at Northern Illinois University, staying for three seasons and earning back-to-back Mid-Continent Coach of the Year honors. He then moved to coach the women's side at the University of Kansas from 1992 to 1996, gathering four consecutive Big Eight Conference championships, two Big Eight Coach of the Year titles (1993, 1994), one Central Region Coach of the Year award (1994), and an impressive 39-1 conference record (983-29 overall) with the Jayhawks.
Merzbacher earned the head coaching assignment at Ohio State in 1996 and began building the program to its success both on and off the court.
With more than 25 years of coaching experience under his belt, Merzbacher has totaled 407 career wins and coached six individual All-Americans. Collectively, his teams have claimed seven conference titles and have made 12 postseason appearances.
Merzbacher and his wife, Cherie, are the parents of Chad and Caitlyn.
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