April 20, 2010
The University of Michigan men's tennis team (11-8, 7-1 Big Ten) concludes the regular season this weekend with a pair of road matches. The Wolverines will face No. 14 Illinois at 3 p.m. CDT on Friday (April 23) in Champaign, Ill., then turn around and face Indiana at 1 p.m. on Sunday (April 25) in Bloomington, Ind.
Big Ten Championships Approaching
The 2010 Big Ten Tournament is right around the corner! All 11 schools will descend on the IU Tennis Center in Bloomington, Ind., beginning with the first round on Thursday, April 29, and concluding with the championship match on Sunday, May 2. [ Big Ten Tournament Information ]
Scouting the Competition
Illinois -- Illinois is 15-9 on the season and 7-1 in Big Ten play after losing to No. 2 Ohio State, 7-0, last Sunday (April 18). The Fighting Illini have made eight straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and have three players with 20-plus singles wins: Marek Czerwinski (24-9), Dennis Nevolo (23-14) and Abe Souza (29-6). Illinois has shuffled its doubles lineup all season, combining to go 35-32 in dual-match play over all three positions. The Fighting Illini are 9-2 at home and 12-9 against nationally ranked opponents.
Indiana -- Indiana sits at 14-8 on the season and 4-4 in Big Ten play after defeating Penn State, 5-2, last Sunday. The Hoosiers have five players that have tallied 20-plus singles wins: Santiago Gruter (23-11), Isade Juneau (27-9), Will Kendall (20-12), Jeremy Langer (20-14) and Josh MacTaggart (29-12). MacTaggart and Lachlan Ferguson are 9-1 at No. 1 doubles, while Gruter and Langer are 9-1 at No. 2 doubles. The Hoosiers are 7-2 at home and 8-8 against nationally ranked opponents.
U-M vs. Opponents
Illinois -- Friday's match with Illinois is the 93rd all-time meeting between the two schools, with Michigan holding a 62-28-2 (.763) record. Michigan upset then-No. 11 Illinois last season, 4-3, last season after both George Navas (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Preparatory) and Mike Sroczynski (Chatham, N.J./Laurel Springs Prep) won both of their three-set matches. With last season's win, Michigan has beaten Illinois in only two of the last 17 meetings, dating back to the 1997 season.
Indiana -- Sunday's match with Indiana will be the 74th all-time meeting between the two schools, with Michigan holding a 58-14-1 (.794) record. Michigan has won six of its last seven against Indiana, including a 6-1 win last season in Ann Arbor.
Berque Goes Back to Champaign
Prior to coming to Michigan, head coach Bruce Berque was an assistant at Illinois for six years. After joining the Fighting Illini as a volunteer assistant coach in January of 1999, Berque served as the associate head coach under Craig Tiley for the next five years. During his tenure, Illinois captured four NCAA championships (one team, one singles and two doubles), two ITA National Team Indoor championships, six Big Ten regular-season titles, five league tournament titles and an NCAA-record 64 consecutive dual-match victories. Tiley and Berque brought Illinois to its first-ever No. 1 ITA national ranking on February 27, 2002.
Following the 2002-03 campaign, which saw the Illini go undefeated at 32-0 and claim the NCAA and ITA National Team Indoor team titles, Berque was honored as the ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year. He is also a two-time ITA Midwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year (2000, '03).
Last Time Out
In its only match last weekend, Michigan celebrated Senior Day with a 5-2 victory over Purdue in the home finale at the Varsity Tennis Center on Sunday (April 18). Holding on to a slim 3-2 lead over the Boilermakers, Michigan's only two seniors, Navas and Sroczynski, won their matches at No. 4 and 3, respectively, to secure the win for the Wolverines.
The Wolverines handed out two awards at the team's banquet last Saturday (April 17). Navas received the Leadership Award and junior Jason Jung (Torrance, Calif./West Torrance) was named the team's Most Improved Player. The Most Valuable Player award will be given out at the conclusion of the season and will be voted on by the team.
Four men's tennis players received the University of Michigan Athletic Academic Achievement award. Navas and Jung each received the award for the third time in their respective careers. Sophomore Duncan Muil (Lake Jackson, Texas/The Kings School) and freshman Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan) were first-time honorees.
Mr. Clutch (Or is it "Clinch"?)
Junior Chris Madden (Lotus, Calif./Ponderosa) is almost used to having the pressure on him, having clinched five of Michigan's 11 wins this season. He was the first Wolverine this season to reach the 20-win mark in singles, holding a 20-10 record (13-6 in dual matches, 7-4 in tournaments; 7-1 in Big Ten) and giving him three years of at least 20 wins in singles. For his three-year career, Madden is 64-35 in singles and holds a 24-3 record in Big Ten Conference play. He will play his 100th career singles match at Michigan this Friday at Illinois.
Big Ten Outlook
The winner of the Michigan/Illinois match on Friday will be in sole possession of second place at 8-1 behind undefeated Ohio State. Currently, both Michigan and Illinois sit at 7-1 in the conference.
Madden and Navas are both 7-1 in Big Ten singles play. Over in doubles, King is 7-1, while Jung is 6-1.
New Addition for 2011
On Tuesday (April 20), Berque announced the signing of Barrett Franks (Christchurch, New Zealand/Shirley Boys') to a national letter of intent for the 2010-11 season.
Franks has been ranked as high as No. 67 in the ITF Junior rankings and is a member of the New Zealand Junior Davis Cup team. He holds four ITF titles (two singles and two doubles) and was among the final 32 at the Australian Open Juniors in 2010. Franks holds a career record of 58-34 in singles and 45-33 in doubles. He also holds U-14 and U-16 national titles in New Zealand.
He joins Shaun Bernstein (Plainview, N.Y./Plainview Old Bethpage JFK) and Justin Rossi (Novi, Mich./Laurel Springs Prep) as the other signees in the class, which is ranked No. 3 in the country by tennisrecruiting.net. Both Bernstein and Rossi are rated as 'blue chip' recruits.
U-M in ITA Rankings
Despite a win against Purdue in its only competition of the week, Michigan moved down one spot to No. 26 in the new ITA poll, released April 20. Jung moved up three spots in singles to No. 33, while King dropped to No. 123, despite winning at No. 1 singles against the Boilermakers. Two of Michigan's doubles teams dropped in the rankings: Jung and King are the No. 40 doubles team (down three spots from No. 37), while Navas and Sroczynski are No. 58 (down 20 spots from No. 38).
New rankings will be released on April 27.
Tested Against the Best
Michigan once again faces one of the toughest schedules in the country. This year, the Wolverines will face 18 opponents ranked in the ITA team rankings (the ITA ranks the top 75 teams). Michigan has faced only two unranked teams: Michigan State on March 20 and Purdue on April 18 (both wins).
A complete table of opponent rankings and date played is listed below:
NOTE: Team rankings are reflected on the most-recent poll (April 20)
|TEAM||OPP. RANKING||MATCH DATE/RESULT|
|Vanderbilt||32||W, 4-3 (Jan. 23)|
|North Carolina State||51||L, 4-3 (Jan. 24)|
|Kentucky||12||L, 4-2 (Jan. 30)|
|Minnesota||35||W, 4-2 (Jan. 31)
W, 5-2 (March 27)
|Pepperdine||22||L, 5-2 (Feb. 7)|
|Notre Dame||38||W, 4-3 (Feb. 13)|
|North Carolina||18||L, 6-1 (Feb. 20)|
|Wake Forest||23||L, 5-2 (Feb. 27)|
|California||16||W, 5-2 (March 4)|
|Texas||3||L, 6-1 (March 13)|
|Stanford||7||L, 5-2 (March 25)|
|Iowa||59||W, 6-1 (March 28)|
|Northwestern||57||W, 5-2 (April 3)|
|Wisconsin||27||W, 4-3 (April 4)|
|Penn State||75||W, 4-3 (April 9)|
|Ohio State||4||L, 6-1 (April 11)|
|Illinois||14||April 23 (Champaign, Ill.)|
|Indiana||39||April 25 (Bloomington, Ind.)|
Through the month of March, Michigan is fifth in the nation in overall attendance, drawing 2,191 fans to the Varsity Tennis Center so far this season. In terms of average attendance, the Wolverines are ranked third nationally with 313 fans per home match. Both of those figures put Michigan atop the Big Ten.
Michigan went 7-3 at the Varsity Tennis Center this season, with all seven wins coming against Big Ten opponents. Michigan has outscored Big Ten opponents 31-11 at home this season. U-M is 110-33 (.769) overall in 14 years at the complex.
The Wolverines have been masterful in doubles, winning the point in 14 of their 19 dual matches. Michigan is 10-4 this season when it wins the doubles point and 1-4 when it does not.
The senior tandem of Sroczynski and Navas each have 21 doubles wins this season, most on the team (12-6 in dual matches). The two have alternated between the top two doubles spots this season (3-23 at No. 1; 9-3 at No. 2). Both earned career doubles win No. 80 earlier this season (Navas against Iowa on March 28; Sroczynski against Notre Dame on Feb. 13). Navas owns a career record of 82-56 (.594) in doubles, while Sroczynski is 88-49 (.642).
King is proving his mettle against some of the nation's top players. On the season, King is tied with Jung for second-most singles wins (18-12, 11-8 in dual matches) and has alternated between No. 1 and No. 2 singles. King has been partnered with Jung in doubles, and the two have alternated between the top two spots, going 7-5 at No. 1 and 4-1 at No. 2.
Navas Elected Captain
Navas was chosen as the team's captain for the 2009-10 season by his teammates. During the fall season, Navas went 2-3 in singles action and reached the doubles final at the Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional Championships with Jung. An exceptional student, Navas was named an ITA Scholar-Athlete for the 2008-09 season and is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. He is one of two seniors on this year's roster, along with Sroczynski.
Leader of the Wolverines
Bruce Berque is in his sixth season as the head coach of the University of Michigan men's tennis team. He has taken the Wolverines to four straight NCAA Championships, including the Sweet 16 in 2008. Berque owns a career dual-meet record of 93-58, including a 41-17 mark in Big Ten play. In addition, the Wolverines have finished in the top half of the Big Ten in each of Berque's first five years at the helm, finishing no lower than fourth place.
He is assisted by associate head coach Sean Maymi, who is in his fourth season, and volunteer assistant Scott Oudsema, who is in his first.
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2009-10 Record Book and Yearbook!
Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need and it was just added to MGoBlue.com. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook.
With the regular season over, Michigan heads back to Bloomington, Ind., beginning on Thursday (April 29) for the Big Ten Tournament. The tournament runs culminates with the championship on Sunday, May 2. Check back MGoBlue.com next week for more details to find out where the Wolverines will end up.