A pivotal weekend lies ahead for the Minnesota women's tennis team as the Gophers host a pair of nationally-ranked opponents at the Baseline Tennis Center.
The Gophers enter the weekend ranked 60th in the nation with a 10-8 overall record and 3-2 Big Ten mark. This weekend, Minnesota faces two teams in which it will be battling for position in the Big Ten standings and NCAA tournament field. The Gophers host 34th-ranked Indiana on Friday at 6 p.m. and 36th-ranked Illinois on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Due to a scheduling quirk, Indiana and Illinois are playing at Minnesota for the first time since the Gophers played both teams during the Big Ten Tournament on April 26-27, 2007.
Minnesota is coming off a 7-0 blanking of Penn State on Sunday, which was the team's second shutout of the season and first Big Ten sweep in nearly two years. The Gophers lost to Ohio State 7-0 last weekend in a match that saw the Buckeyes win three singles matches in three sets and take the doubles point by winning the decisive match 9-7.
Alessandra Ferrazzi and Alexa Palen won both of their No. 1 doubles matches last week to improve to 9-7 overall and 8-5 during the spring season. Ferrazzi is now 22-11 in singles this season with five of her losses coming to nationally-ranked opponents and five losses coming in three sets. Tijana Koprivica is 22-14 overall with six of her losses coming against ranked foes.
Indiana downed Purdue 6-1 last week to jump 10 spots in this week's rankings. The Hoosiers are 12-5 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten, beating Wisconsin and Purdue after opening league play with losses to Northwestern and Illinois. Lindsey Stuckey and Evgeniya Vertesheva are ranked 52nd in the country in doubles.
Illinois also won its only match last weekend 6-1 over Purdue and has now won six of its last seven outings. The Fighting Illini, who play Saturday at Iowa, take a 9-7 overall record and 3-1 Big Ten mark into the weekend. Six of Illinois' seven losses are to top 20 opponents. Senior Megan Fudge is ranked 106th in the nation and she teams with Leigh Finnegan to form the nation's 50th-ranked doubles tandem.
The Gophers have lost to Indiana seven straight times and are 6-30 all-time against the Hoosiers after a 4-3 setback last season. Minnesota trails the all-time series to Illinois 16-22 and has lost to the Illini the past two years after winning the previous three matchups. Illinois swept the Gophers 7-0 last season.