A family reunion of sorts will take place Sunday in Rochester when the Minnesota women's tennis team opens its season against Iowa State.
The match features a pair of sisters returning to their hometown for the first time as collegiate athletes. Minnesota's roster includes freshman Alexa Palen, while her sister, Alyssa, is a senior at Iowa State. Both were standout high school players in Rochester with Alexa winning the Class A state championship the past two years at Lourdes High School and Alyssa taking the 2005 Class A title for Lourdes.
The match starts at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Rochester Athletic Club. There is no admission charge. Iowa State also has a second Rochester player in sophomore Chelsea Loprinzi, who played at Mayo High School.
It marks the second straight year the Gophers have opened the season in Rochester after beating Drake in last year's opener. Minnesota had a solid fall season and enters the spring ranked 69th in the first Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings.
Individually, Tijana Koprivica posted a 14-5 fall record and is ranked 111th in the first singles rankings of the spring season. Palen went 9-3 during the fall with two wins over ranked opponents, beating Lenka Hojckova of North Carolina State and Alexandra Kochoutkin of Tulsa. Alessandra Ferrazzi went 11-6 during the fall season.
Prior to Sunday's season-opener, the Gophers will unofficially begin their season on Saturday with an alumni match at noon at the Baseline Tennis Center. Several former Gopher standouts are expected back and will take on the current Gophers in an informal contest.