The 56th-ranked University of Minnesota women's tennis team wrapped up the 2007 regular season today with a 5-2 win over Illinois at the Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers (11-10, 4-6 Big Ten) went 1-2 in doubles before rallying in singles play with a 5-1 mark to post their best conference record at 4-6 since capturing the 2003 Big Ten regular season title with a 9-1 mark. Minnesota's 11 wins also mark the most in a season since the 2003 team went 18-7.
Between doubles and singles, Head Coach Tyler Thomson recognized Minnesota's three seniors - Ida Malmberg, Ashley Schellhas and Jenna Tellefsen - in addition to assistant coach Luciano Battaglini who will leave the Golden Gophers to become the head women's tennis coach at Carleton College.
Beginning outside under sunny skies, Illinois (5-16, 1-9) picked up doubles wins at Nos. 2 and 3 to take a 1-0 lead into singles play. The Maroon and Gold got its lone doubles win at No. 1 as Lindsay Risebrough and Ashley Schellhas downed Megan Fudge and Emily Wang, 8-3. With the win, Risebrough and Schellhas improved to 4-2 as a doubles duo this spring.
The Golden Gophers rallied in singles action with five straight wins to cruise to the 5-2 team victory. The singles matches were approximately halfway completed when rain forced the teams to the indoor courts. Tijana Koprivica got Minnesota on the board with a quick 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Momei Qu at No. 2. The win pushed Koprivica's dual record to 10-10, including a 5-5 mark in the Big Ten. Danielle Mousseau then put the Maroon and Gold ahead for good at No. 5 with her 6-0, 6-4 win over Wang.
Schellhas struggled to open her match against Fudge at No. 1, falling behind 3-0 in the first set before rebounding to win a tiebreaker, 7-5. The Minnesota senior cruised in the second set with a 6-0 win to improve to 7-3 in the Big Ten this season. Risebrough then made it 4-1 with her 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 victory over Shivani Dav at No. 3. The win was Risebrough's fifth straight and moved her Big Ten record to 6-4.
The Golden Gophers wrapped up their victories at No. 4 with Karina Chiarelli's 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 triumph over Kristina Minor. With the win, Chiarelli improved to 2-8 in conference matches this season. The Fighting Illini closed out the dual at No. 6 with Alejandra Meza Cuadra's 6-3, 6-4 win over Mikayla Rogers.
"We made a big step in our energy and our positive spirit today," Minnesota head coach Tyler Thomson said. "We need to have that same effort to be successful in the Big Ten Championship."
Minnesota hosts the 2007 Big Ten Women's Tennis Championship on Thursday-Sunday, April 26-29 at the Baseline Tennis Center. The Maroon and Gold owns the No. 7 seed for the tournament and will face No. 10 Illinois in the first round at 3 p.m., on Thursday. The winner of that match advances to the quarterfinals to face No. 2 seed Indiana. Admission is free to the conference tournament.
#56 Minnesota vs. Illinois
April 22, 2007
Baseline Tennis Center
1. #73 Ashley Schellhas (MINN) def. Megan Fudge (UI), 7-6 (5), 6-0
2. Tijana Koprivica (MINN) def. Momei Qu (UI), 6-4, 6-2
3. Lindsay Risebrough (MINN) def. Shivani Dav (UI), 4-6, 6-0, 6-0
4. Karina Chiarelli (MINN) def. Kristina Minor (UI), 6-3, 1-6, 6-4
5. Danielle Mousseau (MINN) def. Emily Wang (UI), 6-0, 6-4
6. Alejandra Meza Cuadra (UI) def. Mikayla Rogers (MINN), 6-3, 6-4
Order of finish: 2,5,1,3,4,6
1. Risebrough/Schellhas (MINN) def. Fudge/Wang (UI), 8-3
2. Dav/Meza Cuadra (UI) def. Koprivica/Mousseau (MINN), 8-4
3. Minor/Qu (UI) def. Chiarelli/Sperling (MINN), 8-3
Order of finish: 1,3,2
#56 Minnesota def. Illinois, 5-2
Minnesota: 11-10, 4-6 Big Ten
Illinois: 5-16, 1-9 Big Ten