The University of Minnesota women’s tennis team begins its spring season this weekend with a pair of home matches against two ITA Central Region foes.
The Gophers host Iowa State at 6 p.m. on Friday at Baseline Tennis Center before welcoming Creighton to campus for a 3 p.m. dual match on Saturday. All matches are free and open to the public.
Minnesota faced Iowa State to open the 2009-10 season and prevailed with a 4-3 win against the Cyclones in Rochester, Minn. That was also the last time that Minnesota won its season opener, as the Gophers dropped a tough 4-3 decision on the road to Marshall last year.
Minnesota has only three upperclassmen on its roster this season in senior Magdalena Wiecha and juniors Doron Muravnik and Alexa Palen. Muravnik, who is ranked No. 12 in the ITA Central Region, led the Gophers with a 9-3 record in the fall, while Wiecha was 5-5 and Palen was 5-4. Wiecha is currently sidelined with an injury and will not be available to play this weekend.
Joining the upperclassmen on the squad this year are sophomores Elianna Kantar, Natallia Pintusava, Emilie Renault and Yuliana Umanets. Pintusava and Umanets showed promise last year despite being plagued by injuries during the spring season.
Pintusava was ranked most of last season after advancing to the ITA Central Regional final in the fall. She led the team with 18 wins a year ago en route to being named second team All-Big Ten.
Pintusava went 4-3 during the recent fall campaign. Umanets was 7-9 last year, but played at least two matches at every singles position except for No. 1 singles. She was 3-1 during the fall.
Renault went 5-7 during the fall, while Kantar was 2-4.
Tereza Brichacova, Julia Courter, Aria Lambert and Pauline Gilbert joined the Gophers this year and could make their dual-match debuts this weekend. Brichacova is the newest Gopher, as she joined the squad at the beginning of January. Courter, Lambert and Gilbert all experienced collegiate tennis in the fall.
Courter, who is ranked No. 20 in the ITA Central Region, was 6-3 in fall tournament play. Gilbert was 5-6, while Lambert was 5-7.
After this weekend, Minnesota hosts William & Mary on Feb. 3 and Washington on Feb. 5, before traveling to Wake Forest and North Carolina State.
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