Minnesota looks to keep pace in the Big Ten standings with a pair of conference road matches this weekend at Wisconsin and Northwestern.
The Gophers lost last weekend to both Indiana and Illinois, but are 10-10 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten to remain just one loss behind Purdue, Ohio State and Indiana, which are all 3-3 in league play. Wisconsin enters the weekend 6-13 overall and 1-5 in the Big Ten, while Northwestern is ranked ninth in the country and owns a 14-6 overall record and 5-1 Big Ten mark.
Friday's match at Wisconsin has been moved up an hour to a 4 p.m. start to allow for potential outdoor play. The Gophers will play at Northwestern on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Minnesota's Tijana Koprivica continues to move up on the school's all-time singles wins list and enters the weekend tied for fourth in school history with 92 career wins. She can tie Nora Sauska (1996-2000) for third place with one victory and can move into a tie for second place with Jenelle Johnson (1978-82) with two wins. Koprivica had a three-set win on Sunday against Illinois for Minnesota's lone victory to move her season record to 23-15.
Jackie Sperling has won six of her last 11 matches at four different singles flights for the Gophers, while Alessandra Ferrazzi and Alexa Palen had a three-match winning streak at No. 1 doubles snapped in a loss to Illinois. Ferrazzi and Palen are 10-8 overall for the season.
Wisconsin has lost six of its last eight matches and dropped a 4-3 decision to Purdue in its only outing last weekend. The Badgers and Gophers have had similar results this season as both won easily against Michigan State, lost a 4-3 match to Indiana and suffered losses to highly-ranked Illinois and Michigan.
Northwestern is coming off a brutal stretch of matches in which it played four of the nation's top six teams. The Wildcats have lost five of their last six, including losses to second-ranked Baylor and 20th-ranked Texas last weekend. Maria Mosolova is ranked 13th in the country and Samantha Murray is ranked 37th. Northwestern had a streak of 81 straight Big Ten victories snapped when it lost to Michigan on April 3.