March 14, 2014
The Minnesota women’s tennis team concludes its non-conference schedule for 2014 Monday when it plays Florida Gulf Coast at 4 p.m. CT. The Gophers, 1-0 in conference play, will pick up Big Ten action with a home match against Iowa Friday at 3 p.m. before travelling to Wisconsin Sunday.
After jumping out to its 4-0 start since 1997, the Gophers have dropped matches to Washington State and nationally-ranked foes Oklahoma State and Marshall, but have also added wins against Montana, Oregon, Iowa State, Carleton, Wisconsin, and Marquette. Tereza Brichacova has led the team at No. 1 singles, going 6-5 at the position and 7-5 overall. Julia Courter is 10-2 on the season in singles and doubles with partner Natallia Pintusava.
About Florida Gulf Coast
FGCU comes into Monday’s match with a 6-4 record on the season with three wins in a row. The Eagles boast a 5-2 record at home—the team’s last two losses came on the road against No. 62 South Florida and ninth-ranked Miami. Sarah Means leads Florida Gulf Coast with a 7-4 ledger at No. 1 singles, while Breana Stampfli is 6-5 at No. 2. Bettina Botha and Johanna Sterkel are 7-3 at No. 2 doubles and Means is 5-6 at No. 1 with her sister, Elizabeth.
Against the Eagles
The Gophers and Eagles will meet for the first time ever Monday.
Looking for Road Wins
Seven of Minnesota's 10 victories this season have come at home. The Gophers have been tough to beat at the Baseline Tennis Center under Minnesota alum Chuck Merzbacher—in one-plus season with Merzbacher at the helm, the team is 15-5 at its own facility. After going winless on the road in 2013, the Gophers have won their first three road contests this season, downing Montana, Wisconsin, and Marquette.
The Gophers look improved thus far in doubles competition. Through the first six matches, the team had swept all six doubles competitions in which it played before it dropped a pair of matches against Oklahoma State Feb. 21. After going 32-32 in dual-match doubles play in 2013, the Maroon and Gold is 29-6 to start this season. Julia Courter and Natallia Pintusava are 10-2 after an 8-0 start.
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 7-7, a seven-point tiebreaker is played.
Gophers Hand Out Team Awards at Banquet
The University of Minnesota women’s tennis team held their team banquet Sunday where they handed out team awards and celebrated the season.
Ryba Earns All-Big Ten Honors
Caroline Ryba was named to the All-Big Ten Team for the second time in her collegiate career and was also named the team's Sportsmanship Award recipient.
Comeback Falls Short for Gophers
No. 8 seeded Minnesota fell in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament to No. 9 seeded Nebraska, 4-3, after falling in the final set.