Minnesota Travels to Ohio State, Penn State

Go Gophers!
Tereza Brichacova won both of her matches at No. 1 singles last weekend.

Go Gophers!
Tereza Brichacova won both of her matches at No. 1 singles last weekend.
Go Gophers!

April 3, 2014

Live Scoring (Ohio State)

The No. 55 Minnesota women’s tennis team will continue its Big Ten schedule this weekend when it heads to Columbus, Ohio to take on No. 53 Ohio State Friday at 2 p.m. CT Friday before trekking to Penn State for an 10 a.m. CT Sunday match against the Nittany Lions.

About Minnesota
Off to a solid 14-4 start, Minnesota jumped into the national rankings for the first time all season this week at No. 63 two weeks ago and moved up to No. 55 after a weekend in which it saw its six-match winning streak snapped at the hands of Purdue before toppling then-No. 35 Indiana at home. The Gophers, who won just three Big Ten matches all of last season, started 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 1999 have now won four league contests (4-1). The team sits in third place in the league standings behind Michigan and Northwestern, both 5-0.

About Ohio State
No. 53 Ohio State has been a formidable opponent at home, boasting a perfect 7-0 record at the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus. Overall, the Buckeyes are 11-7 with a 2-3 mark in conference with losses in three of their last four matches. Gabriella De Santis has been the team’s primary No. 1 singles player with a 7-5 ledger that includes wins over three ranked opponents. Grainne O'Neill and Noelle Malley are ranked No. 69 in doubles with a 5-5 record at No. 1, while Ferny Angeles Paz and Miho Kowase are No. 79 with a 9-0 mark that spans across all three positions.

About Penn State
Penn State, which hosts Wisconsin Friday, is one of two Big Ten teams searching for its first win along with Nebraska. PSU fell to No. 37 Illinois and No. 11 Northwestern last weekend to extend its losing streak to six and fall to 4-13 overall on the season—the Nittany Lions are 4-5 at home. Dasha Sapogova has been the team’s top singles player with a 10-7 record that includes a 6-1 ledger at No. 3. Sapogova and Marie Bedard have been PSU’s most-utilized No. 1 doubles pair and are 4-7 together overall.

Against the This Weekend’s Opponents
All-time, the Gophers have a winning record against both of their opponents this weekend. Minnesota is 24-18 against OSU after dropping a 5-2 contest at Baseline Tennis Center last season. The Maroon and Gold is 19-6 against Penn State and has won three matches in a row, including a victory in last year’s Big Ten Tournament.

Merzbacher Returns
Minnesota head coach and Findlay, Ohio native Chuck Merzbacher served as the head coach of the Ohio State women's tennis program for 16 seasons from 1997-2012 and racked up a school-record 234 wins. Merzbacher, the Gopher men’s team’s all-time singles wins leader, guided the Buckeyes to the NCAA tournament nine times, including six-consecutive trips from 1999-04.

Doubles Improvement
With six matches to go in the regular season, the Gophers boast a 37-13 record in dual match doubles. A season ago, Minnesota finished 32-32. Julia Courter and Natallia Pintusava lead the way with a 15-2 mark at No. 2 doubles that includes a 14-2 record at No. 2.

Match Format Experiment Over
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.