Minnesota's women's tennis team epitomized team unity Friday in its victory over 45th-ranked Denver and followed it up Sunday with a win over Cincinnati.
The Gophers rallied around one another's singles victories en route to a convincing 6-1 win over the Pioneers and a 7-0 shutout of the Bearcats at Baseline Tennis Center. The wins moved the team's record to 4-3, which already surpasses last year's 22-dual win total (3-19).
"We had been talking all week about how the (Denver) match was going to be a big step for us," coach Tyler Thomson said. "The win was a real boost."
In the win over Denver, captain Nischela Reddy got things started with a quick 6-1, 6-2 victory in No. 1 singles over 98th-ranked Yannick Dullens. Shortly after Reddy's victory, freshman Jane Anderson finished off her opponent 6-1, 6-4.
The two then took no time to wind down as they kept the pressure on Denver, cheering on their Gophers teammates from the sidelines.
The team responded by winning three of its remaining four singles matches, clinching the victory.
The Gophers sealed the deal by winning the doubles point as well.
Minnesota starts Big Ten play in a couple of weeks, traveling to Iowa on March 4.
Doubles partners Reddy and Ida Malmberg said they feel as if team unity was created from the win over Denver and that it must be kept at a high level going into conference play.
"There is a team confidence that is building," Reddy said.
Men's doubles troubles
Minnesota's men's tennis team lost again Friday, largely because of a continued inability to win the doubles point.
The 37th-ranked Gophers dropped their third dual in a row in a 5-2 loss to No. 56 Oregon at Baseline Tennis Center.
The team looks to solve its doubles problem this weekend as it travels to Dallas to face Southern Methodist, Texas and Texas A&M.
The Gophers have only won one doubles point in seven duals this spring, and the trend of falling behind early has grown old with players.
"We came out a little bit flat," freshman Adam Altepeter said. "You put yourself behind the eight ball when you fall behind 1-0 and you have to win four of the singles matches."
The Gophers No. 1 singles team of Avery Ticer and Adrien Debreyne won its match to improve to 9-3 on the season.
Altepeter said he thinks that if the Gophers' doubles troubles continue, so might their losing streak.
"We're going to have to work on some things in practice," Altepeter said. "It's definitely been our Achilles' heel."
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