The nation’s top-ranked team visits the Baseline Tennis Center this weekend as the Gophers play their final home matches of the season on Saturday and Sunday.
Minnesota has been the victim of several tight losses in recent weeks, dropping its overall record to 9-9 and a 2-4 mark in Big Ten play. The Gophers lost a 4-3 decision at Indiana last Sunday after falling to Illinois 7-0 on Saturday in a contest that saw them drop three three-set matches. Minnesota is tied for sixth in the Big Ten standings and one of four squads with two victories.
Northwestern comes to Minneapolis with a No. 1 ranking for the second straight year on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Wildcats enter a match on Thursday at William and Mary at 17-1 overall and 6-0 in the Big Ten, having won nine straight matches since a 4-3 loss to fifth-ranked Duke. They feature four ranked players, including the nation’s second-ranked player in Maria Mosolova, who is 27-6 for the season. Northwestern beat the Gophers 7-0 last season, though two of the victories came in third set super-tiebreakers.
The Gophers have lost three 4-3 decisions among their last nine matches, but welcome back Alessandra Ferrazzi to the lineup this weekend. Ferrazzi, who has a 14-10 singles record and played No. 2 singles for much of the season, has missed the past four matches with an injury. She and Karina Chiarelli have teamed for a 6-0 record at No. 1 doubles and are ranked 52nd in the country. Chiarelli has played most of the season at No. 1 singles and is 14-12 with seven of her losses coming to nationally-ranked opponents.
Tijana Koprivica leads the team in victories with a 19-12 record, including a 12-4 mark in dual matches. She has played at five different singles positions and has also joined Niltooli Wilkins for an 8-3 record in doubles.
Minnesota concludes its home season on Sunday at 11 a.m. with a matchup against Wisconsin, which is currently 5-13 overall and 0-6 in the Big Ten. The Gophers defeated the Badgers 7-0 last season.
Chiarelli and Alex Seaton are the Gophers’ lone seniors and will play their final home matches this weekend.