The regular season comes to an end for Minnesota’s women’s tennis team this weekend as the Gophers travel to Indiana for a pair of matches.
Minnesota will face Indiana State in a non-conference match in Terre Haute on Saturday and then travels to West Lafayette to take on Purdue in the regular season finale on Sunday. The Gophers have lost five straight matches to sit at 9-11 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten.
Injuries have taken a major toll on the Gophers, who lost to Wisconsin on Sunday without three of their regulars in the singles lineup. Alessandra Ferrazzi, Alex Seaton and Magdalena Wiecha all missed the match and Minnesota even had to forfeit one of the six positions to the Badgers.
Niltooli Wilkins and Tijana Koprivica each picked up wins over Wisconsin as Wilkins won at No. 3 singles to improve to 13-8 for the season, while Koprivica was a winner at No. 2 singles to push her mark to 20-13 overall. Koprivica, a junior from Serbia, has now won at least 20 singles matches in three straight seasons and also moved into 20th place on the Gophers’ all-time wins list with her 67th career victory.
No. 4 singles has proved to be a critical position for the Gophers, who are 9-0 when winning the No. 4 match and 1-9 when the opponent wins. The lower positions have hurt Minnesota in recent matches as the Gophers have lost all three matches at Nos. 4-6 singles during their five-match losing streak.
Saturday’s matchup with Indiana State marks the first-ever meeting between the Gophers and Sycamores, who are 7-9 overall and 5-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference, entering a pair of league duals on Wednesday and Friday of this week. The Sycamores started the season 1-8, but have won seven of their last eight matches entering this week.
Minnesota swept two matches from Purdue last season, beating the Boilermakers in the regular season finale and the Big Ten quarterfinals. The Boilermakers are 7-11 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten, making Sunday’s match pivotal for Big Ten tournament seeding purposes.
The Big Ten tournament runs April 23-26 at Wisconsin and Minnesota currently sits in a tie for ninth place with Iowa and just one-half match behind Wisconsin and Penn State, which are both 2-6 in league play. Penn State plays Wisconsin this weekend and Iowa plays Purdue, so Minnesota can earn as high as the No. 7 seed with a win and the right combination of other results.