March 1, 2012
After winning three matches in three days by a combined 20-1 score last weekend, the No. 31 Minnesota women's tennis team will begin a string of five consecutive road games by traveling to the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wis. take on Big Ten foe and 61st-ranked Wisconsin on Sunday.
The match will be the first in Big Ten play for both teams and will be the Gophers' only conference match until March 24 when they play Michigan State on the road.
By winning eight of their first nine matches, the Gophers achieved a No. 31 ranking after beginning the season unranked. Wisconsin, which made its season debut in the ITA rankings this week, carries a 7-2 ledger into this weekend's contest. Minnesota is 4-1 against ranked teams, while UW has won one of three matches against ranked opponents.
The Badgers hold a 38-14 edge in the all-time series and have won the last four meetings between the two schools. The Gophers, who dropped a 6-1 decision at home when the teams met in 2011, last beat Wisconsin on Apr. 12, 2008.
Last weekend, the Gophers played three matches at home at the Baseline Tennis Center. On Friday, they beat Missouri 6-1 and on Sunday, the team swept No. 62-ranked Virginia Tech and Carleton of Division III. Entering the weekend, Minnesota had lost the doubles point three times in a row, but the Gophers only lost one doubles match all weekend.
By winning all three of her singles matches, junior Alexa Palen improved to 8-0 and moved into the ITA rankings at No 105. Fellow junior Doron Muravnik advanced to 7-1 and newcomer Tereza Brichacova moved to 6-1. In doubles, Natallia Pintusava and Magdalena Wiecha are a perfect 3-0. Pintusava is also 4-1 with sophomore Yuliana Umanets.
Wisconsin won its first five matches of the year before losing to top-40 teams DePaul and Utah. The Badgers won two games in between those defeats and got back on the winning track their road loss to the Utes last week by beating Marquette 4-3.
Junior Hannah Berner and sophomore Nicky Stracar have both played for the Badgers at the No. 1 spot. Berner is 4-2 at that position and 4-5 overall, while Stracar is 1-2 at No. 1 and 3-2 overall. Freshman Nova Patel is 5-1 overall in singles.
In doubles, Wisconsin is led by the 7-2 tandem of Berner and redshirt senior Alaina Trgovich.
After opening their Big Ten schedule this weekend, the Gophers continue their road stretch by heading south to Louisiana for matches against No. 59 Tulane and 43rd-ranked LSU. Minnesota next plays at home against Northwestern, the No. 8 team in the country, on March 30.