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Feb. 13, 2014

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The Minnesota women's tennis team, after a week off from match play, returns to the Baseline Tennis Center to face a pair of tough opponents. Friday, the Gophers will take on 29th-ranked Oklahoma State, their first ranked foe of 2014, at 5 p.m. They will conclude the weekend Sunday at 11 a.m. against Oregon. 

Hot Start
Minnesota got off to its first 4-0 start since 1997 in convincing fashion. dropping just one team point before falling 4-3 to Washington State in Montana to open February. After posting 7-0 wins in each of its shutting out three consecutive opponents for the first time since 1995 and snapping its winning streak versus WSU, the Maroon and Gold got back on track with another blanking of Montana Feb. 2 before getting last weekend off. 

About Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State enters the weekend with a 1-3 record, but the Cowgirls have yet to face a team ranked outside of the nation's top-50. OSU has two ranked singles players in No. 64 Megan McCray and No. 88 Kanyapat Narattana. The Cowgirls are coming off of a 6-0 victory last Sunday in Fayetteville, Ark., over the 49th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. Their coach, Chris Young, will seek his 50th win at Oklahoma State Friday. 

About Oregon
After a pair of losses on the road to Iowa and No. 74 DePaul, the Ducks dropped out of the latest ITA rankings. Nicole Long cracked ITA singles rankings in a tie at 119 after going 5-1 at No. 1 singles. Overall this season, Oregon is 4-2 thanks to a four-match win streak to begin the season. 

Against the Competition
Last season, the Gophers traveled to Stillwater, Okla. to face the Cowgirls and dropped a 7-0 decision to fall to 1-2 against OSU. The last time Minnesota clashed with Oregon, Maroon and Gold won 5-2 in Minneapolis. All-time, the Gophers have a 3-1 record against the Ducks. 

Hard to Beat at Home
Four of Minnesota's five victories this season have come at home and its lone loss came in a neutral site match. The Gophers have been tough to beat at the Baseline Tennis Center under U of M alum Chuck Merzbacher--in one-plus season with Merzbacher at the helm, the team is 12-3 at its own facility. 

Doubles Success
The Gophers look improved thus far in doubles competition. Through six matches weeks, the team has swept all six doubles competitions in which it has played. After going 32-32 in dual-match doubles play in 2013, the Maroon and Gold is 16-0 to start this season. 

Match Format Changes
The experimental scoring format using to begin the college tennis season has reverted back to the old system as of Feb. 10 for the women. From this point forward, there will be three doubles matches are played to eight-game pro-sets and the team winning at least two of the matches gets one team point. If the pro-set is tied 8-8, a seven-point tiebreaker is played. If one team wins two doubles matches, the third match is finished and a tiebreaker is played at 7-7. Six singles matches are then played and each are worth one team point. The matches are best-of-three sets with tiebreakers played to seven points if the set is tied 6-6. Once a team has reached four team points, it has clinched the team victory. The remaining matches are completed with a 10-point match tiebreaker played in place of a third set.