Wolverines Cruise Past Maryland to Advance to ITA Kick-Off Final
Mimi Nguyen

Jan. 28, 2012

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
Event: ITA Kickoff Weekend
Result: #10 Michigan 5, Maryland 2
Records: U-M (2-0), Maryland (1-1)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Jan. 29 -- vs. Notre Dame or Yale - ITA Kick-Off Final (Varsity Tennis Center), 2 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team swept all three doubles matches and won the first four singles matches off court en route to a 5-2 victory over Maryland in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 28) at the Varsity Tennis Center.

The Wolverines quickly clinched the doubles point with a pair of lopsided victories at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions before rallying to complete the sweep with a tiebreaker win at No. 1. Freshman Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels HS) and sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep), ranked 24th, trailed for much of their match against the Terps' No. 37-ranked pair of Ana Belzunce and Welma Luus at the top spot but used a late break to force the tiebreaker, where they strung together two late points to seal an 8-7 (6) win.

Bektas made quick work of Maryland's No. 28-ranked Cristina Stancu at No. 1 singles, cruising to a 6-0, 6-2 victory to claim her third win over a ranked opponent this month. Bektas improved to 13-4 on the season and extended her win streak to four in a row.

Junior Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan HS) and freshman Sarah Lee (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) finished in quick succession at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions to clinch the Wolverines' dual victory. Nguyen used a late first-set break and a pair of early breaks in the second to defeat Welma Luus, 6-4, 6-2, while Lee broke late in the second to seal up a 6-1, 6-4 decision over Jordan Hanbrough.

Senior Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) rounded out Michigan's singles winners with a 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (6) comeback win over Mikele Irazusta at the No. 6 spot. Sulahian surged to a 9-2 lead in the 10-point tiebreaker for the third set and after Irazusta narrowed the gap with four straight points, Sulahian put the match away on a missed shot from the Terrapin.

Maryland closed the final gap with singles wins in the last two matches off the court, including a three-set decision at the No. 2 position.

The Wolverines will play in tomorrow's (Sunday, Jan. 28) ITA Kick-Off Weekend championship match, facing either Notre Dame or Yale at 2 p.m. in the Varsity Tennis Center.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 36 Emina Bektas (U-M) d. No. 28 Cristina Stancu (Maryland), 6-0, 6-2
No. 2 -- Ana Belzunce (Maryland) d. No. 46 Brooke Bolender (U-M), 6-4, 1-6, 1-0 (5)
No. 3 -- No. 113 Mimi Nguyen (U-M) d. Welma Luus (Maryland), 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 -- Sarah Lee (U-M) d. Jordan Hansbrough (Maryland), 6-1, 6-4
No. 5 -- Vroni Van Berlo (Maryland) d. Kristen Dodge (U-M), 7-6 (7), 6-4
No. 6 -- Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Mikele Irazusta (Maryland), 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (6)

No. 1 -- No. 24 Emina Bektas/Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. Ana Belzunce/Welmca Luus (Maryland), 8-7 (6)
No. 2 -- Mimi Nguyen/Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Cristina Stancu/Mikele Irazusta (Maryland), 8-2
No. 3 -- Sarah Lee/Kristen Dodge (U-M) d. Jordan Hansbrough/Vroni Van Berlo (Maryland), 8-3

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

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423