Feb. 3, 2012
The Minnesota women’s tennis team won its third straight match to begin the spring season, taking down 50th-ranked William & Mary 5-2 at the Baseline Tennis Center on Friday night. The victory gave the Gophers their first 3-0 start since 2007-08 and gave the team its first all-time win against the Tribe in the third meeting between the schools.
UM head coach Tyler Thomson defeated his former team for the first time after the Tribe beat the Gophers 6-1 in 2003 and 5-2 last year in North Carolina. Thomson was an assistant coach at W&M from 1997 to 2001 before coming to Minnesota.
"It feels good," said Thomson. "To me, it’s less about that they’re a team I used to coach and more about the fact that they’re a quality team and it’s a good win for us."
Coming off two 7-0 wins last weekend, Minnesota carried the momentum into doubles play and jumped out to an early advantage when sophomores Natallia Pintusava and Yuliana Umanets doubled up W&M’s Katie Kargl and Marlen Mesgarzadeh 8-4 in the three spot.
The Tribe evened up the competition minutes later when Jeltje Loomans and Maria Belaya beat Julia Courter and Emilie Renault 8-5 in the top flight, but UM took the 1-0 lead by capturing the doubles point when Alexa Palen and Tereza Brichacova capped the competition with an 8-4 triumph over Anik Cepeda and Hope Johnson.
The Palen/Brichacova tandem is now 3-0 on the season.
William & Mary knotted the score at one in singles play when Belaya defeated Umanets in straight sets at No. 3, but the Gophers quickly returned the favor with a 6-3, 6-1 Palen win at No. 2.
After having Brichacova cancel out a 6-1 first-set win with a 6-1 win of her own in the second set, Johnson leveled the match again by taking a 6-2 decision in the third set at No. 5.
Minnesota took the lead for good when Natallia Pintusava won a hard-fought match at the top position. After Loomans forced a third set, Pintusava took control near the end to post a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win.
Doron Muravnik sealed the victory at No. 6, coming from behind to beat Kargl. Muravnik lost the first set in a 7-1 tiebreaker, but stormed back to for 6-3 and 6-2 wins.
Courter finished off one of the night’s more exciting matches soon after to make it 5-2.
The freshman advanced to 3-0 in singles play by taking the third-set tiebreaker 7-3 following an exchange of 7-5 decisions in the first two sets against Cepeda.
"It was a very competitive match and William & Mary is a very competitive team," said Thomson. "I feel fortunate that we got the victory, but our team takes pride in fighting hard and that got us through tonight."
Now 0-4, William & Mary will take on 28th-ranked Washington tomorrow afternoon in Minneapolis. UM will host the Huskies on Sunday morning at 11.
Feb. 3, 2012
Baseline Tennis Center (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Minnesota 5, No. 50 William & Mary 2
1. Natallia Pintusava (MINN) def. Jeltje Loomans (WM) 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
2. Alexa Palen (MINN) def. Marlen Mesgarzadeh (WM) 6-3, 6-1
3. Maria Belaya (WM) def. Yuliana Umanets (MINN) 6-4, 6-3
4. Julia Courter (MINN) def. Anik Cepeda (WM) 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (3)
5. Hope Johnson (WM) def. Tereza Brichacova (MINN) 6-1, 1-6, 6-2
6. Doron Muravnik (MINN) def. Katie Kargl (WM) WM wins first set 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-2
1. Jeltje Loomans/Maria Belaya (WM) def. Julia Courter/Emilie Renault (MINN) 8-5
2. Alexa Palen/Tereza Brichacova (MINN) def. Anik Cepeda/Hope Johnson (WM) 8-4
3. Natallia Pintusava/Yuliana Umanets (MINN) def. Katie Kargl/ Marlen Mesgarzadeh (WM) 8-4
No. 50 William & Mary 0-4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,2,5,1,6,4)