After its final off week of the 2011 regular season, the Minnesota women’s tennis team will play at home for the first time in 27 days when it hosts 8th-ranked Michigan on Saturday at the Baseline Tennis Center at 11 a.m. The Gophers will also play No. 60 Michigan State on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Before last week, Minnesota went on a Spring Break road trip where it played four games in seven days, dropping all four contests. The Gophers have lost seven consecutive matches dating back to Feb. 20, but have had top players Natallia Pintusava, Alessandra Ferrazzi, and Yuliana Umanets all available at the same time only once in that span. Six of the seven losses have come against ranked opponents.
The trio of 56th-ranked Pintusava, Ferrazzi, and Umanets has a combined 11-4 singles ledger when all three players are in the lineup. The team is 2-7 when one of them does not compete.
Michigan comes to town boasting one of the strongest lineups in the nation. The 13-3 Wolverines have four top-100 singles players in Denise Muresan (No. 7), Sam Critser (No. 69), Brooke Bolender (No. 73), and Whitney Taney (No. 98). Bolender is a part of two ranked doubles teams, pairing with Muresan to form the eighth-ranked duo and partnering with Mimi Nguyen to make up the 54th-ranked tandem.
Minnesota is 15-22 all-time against Michigan and is winless it its last seven meetings with the Wolverines.
MSU, who will be playing at Wisconsin on Saturday, is 12-4 on the season and has split its only four road contests on the year. The Spartans have the nation’s 19th-ranked doubles team of Amy Barton and Marina Bohrer and have won four of their last five matches.
The Gophers are 23-13 all-time against Michigan State and beat MSU 6-1 last season. Ferrazzi, Alexa Palen, and Magdalena Wiecha each won in singles and UM swept the doubles competition.
Minnesota will hit the road for its next four matches after this weekend before coming home to finish the regular season against Illinois and Iowa.