Wolverines Defeat Michigan State in Big Ten Opener

March 20, 2010

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
Score: Michigan 6, Michigan State 1
Records: Michigan (5-6, 1-0 Big Ten), Michigan State (11-5, 0-1 Big Ten)
Next Event: Thursday, March 25 -- vs. Stanford (Varsity Tennis Center), 6 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- In the 110th meeting between the in-state rivals, the University of Michigan men's tennis team downed Michigan State, 6-1, in the Big Ten opener on Saturday (March 20) inside the Varsity Tennis Center. With top player Jason Jung (Torrance, Calif./West Torrance) sitting out, the Wolverines managed to take five-of-six singles matches for their sixth straight win against the Spartans.

Michigan State jumped out to an early advantage in doubles, leading on all three courts at one point. The Wolverines, however, overcame their slow start and started to hit on all cylinders, beginning with junior Chris Madden (Lotus, Calif./Ponderosa) and freshman Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan), who teamed together to score the first win at No. 2. They were tied 4-4 with Jason Norville and Joe Vallee (MSU) but reeled off four straight game wins to take the match, 8-4. The Spartans evened up doubles with a win at No. 3 over freshman Chris Cha (Eureka, Mo./University of Missouri High School) and sophomore Duncan Muil (Lake Jackson, Texas/The Kings School) by the same score (8-4).

With the doubles point in question, the senior tandem of Mike Sroczynski (Chatham, N.J./Laurel Springs School) and George Navas (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Preparatory), No. 46-ranked doubles team in the country, gave Michigan an early 1-0 match advantage by virtue of their win at No. 1 over Austin Brooks and John Stratton (MSU), 8-6. Michigan has now won the doubles point in 9 of its 11 dual matches this season.

The Wolverines stormed out to early advantages on almost every singles court, beginning with a straight-set win from King at No. 1, dispatching Ron Huelwicz (MSU) fairly easily, 6-1, 6-3. After King's win, three matches ended in a span of about two minutes, two of which went Michigan's way. Navas won at No. 4 over Jason Norville (MSU), 6-4, 6-4, and Cha scored his second dual-match win of the season with a 7-5, 6-4 triumph over John Stratton (MSU) at No. 5. After Muil lost at No. 6 to Clark Richardson (MSU), Sroczynski grabbed one point back for Michigan, his third straight singles win, this time over Austin Brooks (MSU), 7-6 (4), 6-4. Madden closed the evening out with a decisive three-set win over Denis Bogatov (MSU) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Michigan will look to build upon its momentum as steps outside of conference play for the final time, hosting nationally ranked Stanford this Thursday (March 25) at 6 p.m. at the Varsity Tennis Center.

The following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 103 Evan King (U-M) d. Ron Huelwicz (MSU), 6-1, 6-3
No. 2 -- Mike Sroczynski (U-M) d. Austin Brooks (MSU), 7-6 (4), 6-4
No. 3 -- Chris Madden (U-M) d. Denis Bogatov (MSU), 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
No. 4 -- George Navas (U-M) d. Jason Norville (MSU), 6-4, 6-4
No. 5 -- Chris Cha (U-M) d. John Stratton (MSU), 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
No. 6 -- Clark Richardson (MSU) d. Duncan Muil (MSU), 7-5, 6-4

No. 1 -- No. 46 George Navas/Mike Sroczynski (U-M) d. Austin Brooks/John Stratton (MSU), 8-6
No. 2 -- Evan King/Chris Madden (U-M) d. Jason Norville/Joe Vallee (MSU), 8-4
No. 3 -- Clark Richardson/Denis Bogatov (MSU) d. Chris Cha/Duncan Muil (U-M), 8-4

Order of Completion: Doubles 2-3-1, Singles 1-4-6-2*-5-3


• Tonight's match was Michigan's first home match since losing to North Carolina on Feb. 20. It's also the first of six straight matches at the Varsity Tennis Center over the next two weeks.

• Michigan is now 91-19 (.827) all-time against Michigan State in dual matches. Head coach Bruce Berque is 6-0 all-time in dual matches against Michigan State. Michigan's last loss to Michigan State came in the 2003-04 season.

• Sroczynski and Navas each have 17 wins on the season in doubles. They are now 8-2 in dual matches.

• Jung did not play in tonight's match against Michigan State. Everybody moved up one spot from their normal spot in the singles lineup, and Muil was inserted into No. 6 singles.

• It was Muil's first court action since the Big Ten Individuals in November.

• Attendance was 410.


Michigan Head Coach Bruce Berque
On the team's performance ... "I thought we played alright. We had a little bit of a slow start in doubles, which was an unusual situation for us. I think the top two teams were feeling a little bit of pressure, forcing both teams to make some difficult plays. Overall, I felt we were pretty focused coming in. It's certainly a nice start to the conference season for us."

On the rivalry ... "It's always a little bit different, these big rivalries. Like football or any other sport, Michigan State is right up there with Ohio State and Notre Dame as far as rivalries go. We know we were going to get their best tonight. I think the difference between the two teams is that we have played a very competitive schedule and it made us alert. We couldn't take a night off, and you can't in the Big Ten."

On Duncan Muil ... "It was his first dual match ever, but I thought he did a pretty good job. He's been battling an ankle injury, which has affected his movement in some areas and he seemed to tweak it a little bit during the early stages of his singles match. But he gave himself an opportunity to compete. He wasn't 100 percent coming in, but I thought he battled and showed a lot of toughness out there."

U-M Freshman Evan King
On his play Saturday ... "I could have played better. I was able to come out and hit some shots and serve well, which helped my confidence early on. I thought I did a nice job of dictating the match, not letting the other guy get going and I was able to take it to him."

On playing at No. 1 singles ... "It doesn't matter if you play at No. 1, No. 2 or No. 6, you are going to face the same type of player, same competition. You've got to be ready. I mean, obviously it's nice to play at No. 1 because most people watch that. I like to feed off of energy no matter where I am playing, and this environment today was especially unbelievable. It really gets you ready to focus."

On coming back home ... "We came into this match having lost a tough one last week to Texas, and we wanted to come out at our place and really take it to them. Michigan State was pretty energetic at the start of doubles, but I liked how we picked our intensity up as team as the matches went along. Big Ten tennis is awesome. There's no easing in. You are going to face good teams every day and you have to be ready."

U-M Senior Mike Sroczynski
On his third straight singles win ... "I've gotten tougher. That's been a little bit of a problem for me earlier in the season and it gave me something to work on. I've been trying to fight and stay in points a little bit longer. I've played a lot of three-setters so far this season and not many of them have gone my way, but I've been starting to get some now. It feels good."

On the atmosphere of the rivalry ... "It honestly felt like a neutral-court tonight. Our fans were great as usual, but there were also a lot of Michigan State fans here. We knew coming in that they were definitely going to want to beat us. There's a lot of intensity in this rivalry, but we were able to come up with some real good shots and pull out the win."

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423