Leandro Toledo is calm, quiet and aggressive on the tennis court.
The 6-foot-1-inch freshman from Hamburg, Germany, doesn’t display the same emotion as his Gophers teammates. Rather than yelling after winning a big point, Toledo opts for a subdued fist pump or, if the point is especially big, a short rally cry — “Let’s go!”
Results tell a different story. In terms of success, Toledo has made more noise than any of his teammates.
Second singles player Leandro Toledo has upset four top-35 opponents this season.
Losing six of seven individual matches at home typically isn’t a good result — unless the opponent is Ohio State.
Minnesota fell 6-1 to the third-ranked Buckeyes on Sunday at Baseline Tennis Center. It was the Gophers’ third loss in four matches, but it was the first time since 2008 that it won an individual match against Ohio State.
“Today was a good match,” head coach Geoff Young said Sunday. “I think we played better today than on Friday, but Ohio State’s a really good team, and it’s tough to close them out.”
Both the men and women’s teams defeated Penn State and lost to Ohio State.
It’s not often that a team simply shrugs off two important road losses.
But the No. 47 Gophers men’s tennis team, after losing at Northwestern and Illinois last weekend, is attempting to do just that in preparation for this weekend’s home matches against Penn State and Ohio State.
Head coach Geoff Young said he thinks the team is playing well and with confidence despite the losses, which ended a seven-match winning streak. Minnesota is 8-5 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten.
The women’s team will attempt to end a three-match losing streak against two lower-ranked opponents.
While the Gophers women’s tennis team has engineered a dramatic reversal from its disappointing 2011 season, the men’s team has put together a mid-season turnaround, which began a week after it lost its third consecutive match Feb. 4.
The Gophers were 1-3 in nonconference play — 0-3 on the road — when they won three consecutive home matches to boost their confidence heading into a two-match road trip.
The women’s team will try to recover from its first loss in a month with two difficult tests at home.
The women lost their first match since Feb. 5 while the men upset Michigan at home.
The Gophers women’s tennis team hasn’t had much luck lately against Michigan.
The Wolverines, ranked 20th nationally this season, have dominated the Big Ten in recent years. Minnesota, which has often been near the bottom of the conference, has lacked the talent, experience and health to compete with them.
“In past years, it’s maybe been a bit of a pipe dream [to beat Michigan],” Gophers head coach Tyler Thomson said. “They’ve just been a level better than us.”
Not this year.
Each team will also play Michigan State over the weekend.
The first six weeks of the Gophers women’s tennis team’s season was a test, and Minnesota aced it with nine wins in its first 10 matches.
This past weekend, Minnesota tacked on some extra credit.
No. 34 Minnesota won its seventh and eighth consecutive matches, rallying to defeat No. 52 Tulane 4-3 on Thursday and No. 50 Louisiana State on Saturday in its final two matches of the nonconference season.
The Gophers defeated No. 52 Tulane and No. 50 LSU on the road.
Few teams understand that better than the Gophers women’s tennis team.
No. 30 Minnesota won its sixth-straight match Sunday, defeating No. 60 Wisconsin 5-2 in Madison, Wis., in its conference opener.
The Gophers had losing streaks of four and eight matches during their 2011 campaign, which they finished with an 8-16 record. They have already won nine matches to start 2012, with their lone loss Feb. 5 at home to then-No. 28 Washington.
The women won their ninth consecutive match to surpass last year’s win total.