Minnesota head women’s tennis coach Chuck Merzbacher said this week his team needed both wins over the weekend.
They got ’em.
The Gophers have struggled to start the season, but they appear to have hit their stride in the past couple of weeks. They stretched their winning streak to four matches this weekend with wins over Mississippi State and Wisconsin at the Baseline Tennis Center.
Minnesota beat Mississippi State 4-3 on Friday night and beat rival Wisconsin 7-0 on Sunday to kick off the Big Ten season.
“I think people are starting to come together,” senior Doron Muravnik said Sunday. “It was an adjustment period with the new coaches and new teammates, but it’s coming together.”
Muravnik has battled injuries all season, and her right arm was laced with three separate bags of ice after her match with Wisconsin.
It didn’t seem to affect her this weekend, as she didn’t lose a match.
“I’m still pretty beat up,” she said. “I’m not going to lie, but I don’t really think about it in the matches. It worked for me this weekend.”
Merzbacher said players on the team are still healing from injuries, but he said his team is about as healthy as it’s been all season.
He added he was impressed with the way his team responded from its early season struggles.
“I had a feeling that we could do this,” Merzbacher said. “I felt once we healed up and got all our players, we’d be a different team. In the last 10 days or so, we’ve really started to develop an identity.”
Minnesota will now have three weeks off from matches before it resumes play March 18 against Connecticut.
The Gophers men’s tennis team continued its recent struggles with a 4-3 loss to Wisconsin.
Minnesota entered the match ranked higher but didn’t play like it Saturday afternoon in Madison, Wis.
Minnesota head coach Geoff Young said he was upset with his team’s performance. He said he felt the team gave a good effort but didn’t make good decisions.
“It’s different for every guy,” he said, “but we have to be better all around.”
Young said earlier in the week that the doubles point was important for his team, as it has coincided with wins this season.
The Gophers got the doubles point against Wisconsin, but that was one of their only bright spots. And it wasn’t that bright in Young’s eyes.
“We won it, but it doesn’t mean we did well,” Young said. “We’re trying to be as good as we can be, and we can definitely play better.”
Rok Bonin and Leandro Toledo were the only Gophers players to capture a win on the singles side Saturday. Bonin and Toledo dominated in their respective matches at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, but their teammates didn’t follow suit.