Gophers Outlast Iowa, Advance With 4-2 Win

Go Gophers! Tereza Brichacova's three-set win at fourth singles put Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
Go Gophers!
Tereza Brichacova's three-set win at fourth singles put Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
Go Gophers!

Few things went as planned for the Minnesota women’s tennis team on Thursday at the Big Ten tournament. Fortunately for the Gophers the one thing that did go right was the outcome of their match against Iowa.

The sixth-seeded Gophers beat No. 11 seed Iowa for the second time in five days to advance to the quarterfinals in the conference tournament. After dispatching Iowa 4-2, Minnesota will face third-seed Illinois at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Illinois beat Minnesota 6-1 at Baseline Tennis Center on April 1. Freshman Julia Courter picked up Minnesota’s lone win, which came at No. 6 singles.

Minnesota’s match against Iowa was supposed to start at 1 p.m., but inclement weather forced the match indoors and pushed the start time back nearly four hours. The match ended around 9 p.m., meaning that Minnesota missed the league banquet where sophomore Natallia Pintusava was named First Team All-Big Ten.

Last Sunday, Minnesota beat Iowa 6-1 at Baseline Tennis Center to end the regular season and then beat the Hawkeyes 4-2 today in the Big Ten tournament. The scenario that played out over the last week is exactly what happened last year as well. A year ago, the Gophers beat Iowa 6-1 on Senior Day and then eliminated the Hawkeyes 4-2 in the conference tournament.

Unlike last Sunday, Iowa won the doubles point today to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Minnesota, which swept all three matches in doubles play on Sunday, won only at the second position today. Iowa switched up all three of its pairings, while the Gophers only swapped out Aria Lambert for Yuliana Umanets on the third duo with Tereza Brichacova.

The Gophers lone doubles’ win came from the second pairing of Doron Muravnik and Alexa Palen. The Minnesota team dropped Shelby Talcott and Christina Harazin 8-4.  

Iowa staked a 2-0 in the match when No. 69 Sonja Molnar beat Pintusava 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles. It was a role reversal from last Sunday, when the unranked Gopher sophomore beat Molnar 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (7).

Minnesota leveled the match 2-2 after Courter and Lambert won their matches at fifth and sixth singles, respectively. Courter won 6-4, 6-2 against Harazin, while Lambert posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Ellen Silver.

The Gophers then won the match and punched their ticket into the quarterfinals after Palen and Brichacova registered three-set wins. Palen controlled Morven McCulloch 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 at third singles, while Brichacova clinched the win for the Gophers with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 triumph against Katie Zordani.

The match at second singles between Doron Muravnik and Shelby Talcott was abandoned once Minnesota reached four points. Muravnik was leading 4-6, 7-5, 4-3 when the Gophers won the overall match.

Tennis Match Results
Minnesota vs Iowa
Apr 26, 2012 at Columbus, Ohio
(OSU Varsity Tennis Center)

#34 Minnesota 4, Iowa 2

Singles competition
1. #69 Sonja Molnar (IOWA-W) def. Natallia Pintusava (MINN) 6-3, 6-0
2. Shelby Talcott (IOWA-W) vs. Doron Muravnik (MINN) 6-4, 5-7, 3-4, unfinished
3. Alexa Palen (MINN) def. Morven McCulloch (IOWA-W) 6-1, 5-7, 6-3
4. Tereza Brichacova (MINN) def. Katie Zordani (IOWA-W) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
5. Julia Courter (MINN) def. Christina Harazin (IOWA-W) 6-4, 6-2
6. Aria Lambert (MINN) def. Ellen Silver (IOWA-W) 6-2, 6-2

Doubles competition
1. Sonja Molnar/Katie Zordani (IOWA-W) def. Natallia Pintusava / Magdalena Wiecha (MINN) 8-4
2. Doron Muravnik / Alexa Palen (MINN) def. Shelby Talcott/Christina Harazin (IOWA-W) 8-4
3. Morven McCulloch/Ellen Silver (IOWA-W) def. Tereza Brichacova / Yuliana Umanets (MINN) 8-5

Match Notes:
Minnesota 16-7; National ranking #34
Iowa 8-15
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,5,6,3,4)
Big Ten Tournament First Round
Minnesota No. 6 seed
Iowa No. 11 seed