Minnesota’s hot start and solid season paid off Wednesday. The Gophers will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014-15. “I don’t think that will pose, necessarily, any different challenge,” said head coach Geoff Young.
When the women’s tennis team fell behind 3-0, it looked like head coach Chuck Merzbacher would end his career with a blowout loss. But the team tied it up at 3-3, only to fall in the dual’s final match of the day. The women’s team lost 4-3 on Thursday against Nebraska, while the men won Thursday versus Indiana 4-2, but lost at the hands of Ohio State 4-0 on Friday. “They just fought so hard,” said head coach Chuck Merzbacher.
Minnesota’s regular season ended with splits on both sides. The Gophers men’s team pulled off a win Sunday against Indiana 4-3 after a close loss against Purdue 4-3 Friday.
Junior Caroline Ryba has demonstrated her high-scoring abilities.on the tennis court and in the classroom. Ryba, achemical engineering major, maintains one of the highest grade point averages on the entire tennis and dominates the No. 1 spot on the court. “There have been tough times,” Ryba said.
Minnesota has another departure this offseason – this time it comes from behind the bench. The Gophers’ assistant coach and former captain, Grant Potulny, left Minnesota to become the head coach at Northern Michigan University Tuesday.
The women’s team had a successful showing over the weekend for the Gophers, especially for their head coach. Minnesota had two decisive victories this weekend over Purdue 6-1 Friday and Indiana 5-2 Sunday. “We played hard,” said head coach Chuck Merzbacher.
No matter the sport, no matter the setting, competitiveness is in his blood. One of Minnesota’s newest golfers, freshman Thomas Longbella is a competitive player for many reasons. “It was always a goal of mine to beat [my older brother] — to be better than him,” Longbella said.
Minnesota took a trip east this weekend, and they made it worthwhile. The Gophers shot an 869, and finished fourth out of 14 teams at the Princeton Invitational in Princeton, New Jersey this weekend. After the first two rounds on Saturday, the Gophers held first place overall.
Though the season ended nearly two weeks ago, Minnesota found its first early men’s hockey departure. Defenseman Ryan Collins signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL Wednesday and will forgo his senior year with the Gophers and his remaining NCAA eligibility.
Minnesota’s season ended earlier than anticipated — but now three Gophers players will pursue lifelong dreams sooner. So far, seniors Vinni Lettieri, Jake Bischoff and Justin Kloos have signed with National Hockey League teams since the Gophers’ defeat Saturday. Each of these players will join other Minnesota alumni at their NHL destinations.