Gophers Jump Back Into Big Ten Action

Go Gophers! Paula Rincon Otero and the Gophers are 11-3.
Go Gophers!
Paula Rincon Otero and the Gophers are 11-3.
Go Gophers!

March 20, 2014

Live Scoring (Iowa) 

After an 11-3 start, including a final non-conference record of 10-3, the Minnesota women’s tennis team will resume Big Ten action this weekend. The Gophers will host No. 65 Iowa at the Baseline Tennis Center at 3 p.m. Friday and will travel to Nebraska Sunday for a 10 a.m. match at the Lincoln Racket Club. 

About Minnesota
After bursting out of the gate for it’s first 4-0 start since 1997, Minnesota has gone 7-2 with two of its losses coming against ranked opponents. The Gophers have four singles players with double digit wins in Julia Courter, Jessika Mozia, Aria Lambert, and Paula Rincon Otero. Tereza Brichacova has played No. 1 singles primarily, going 7-5 at the position. Minnesota, which has a 7-2 mark at home, is 31-7 in doubles.

About Iowa
Iowa comes into Friday’s match with an 8-4 record and a No. 65 ranking on the season. The Hawkeyes have won their only conference match of the season, a 6-1 decision against Nebraska. Iowa is led in singles by 86th-ranked senior Ruth Seaborne, who is 6-3 at the No. 1 position. She is 6-2 at No. 1 doubles with junior Morven McCulloch.

About Nebraska
The Cornhuskers are 8-6 on the season coming into a weekend in which it will travel to Wisconsin before Sunday’s meeting with Minnesota. Nebraska is 0-1 in Big Ten play after a March 14 loss to Iowa. The Huskers, once ranked as high as 25th in the nation, enter their match with the Badgers on a two-match losing streak. Maggy Lehmicke leads the team with an 11-1 record at No. 1 singles and an 8-4 mark at No. 1 doubles with Mary Hanna.

Against the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers
Minnesota is 35-22 in 57 meetings against Iowa after the Hawkeyes handed the Gophers a 6-1 loss in the teams’ final contest of the regular season in the 2013. Minnesota did the same to Iowa in the schools’ last match in Minneapolis in 2012. The Gophers are 12-5 all-time against Nebraska, but the Cornhusker have won the last five meetings. UN defeated Minnesota 6-1 and 4-0 in a seven-day span in 2013 with the latter match eliminating the Gophers from the Big Ten Tournament. 

Wins All Over
Seven of Minnesota's 11 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 four road contests this season, downing Montana, Wisconsin, Marquette, and Florida Gulf Coast. 

Doubles Success
The Gophers have vastly improved in doubles from a season ago. 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 31-7 to start this season. Julia Courter and Natallia Pintusava are 11-2 after an 8-0 start, while the team’s No. 1 doubles tandem of Tereza Brichacova and Jessika Mozia is 10-2. 

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. 

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.