U-M Staves Off No. 18 USC, Earns Spot in ITA National Indoor Championships

Jan. 30, 2011

Notes & Quotes

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
Event: ITA Kick-Off (Day 2 of 2)
Result: #8 Michigan 5, #18 Southern California 2
Records: U-M (3-0), Southern California (3-1)
Next U-M Match: Saturday, Feb. 5 -- vs. Kentucky (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Sophomore Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millkan) provided the deciding point at No. 4 singles as the No. 8-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team defeated No. 18 Southern California (5-2) on Sunday (Jan. 30) at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines' victory sends them to the ITA National Championship, to be held Feb. 18-21 in Charlottesville, Va..

With the Wolverines clinging to a 3-2 lead, both Nguyen and freshman Sam Critser (Mountainview, Calif./Mountainview) were left on court. Nguyen was the first one to finish, clinching the match with a three-set (6-3, 5-7, 7-5) win at No. 4 singles, giving Michigan its fourth team point of the afternoon. The sophomore shook off an early break in the final set, breaking Kaitlyn Christian to go on top, 6-5, with an the opportunity to serve out the match. Nguyen allowed just one point in the final game, sending Michigan to its second consecutive ITA Indoor Championship. Critser also came out victorious after the team outcome was decided, rallying for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 10 Danielle Lao.

The Wolverines regrouped after the intermission and failing to secure the doubles point, grabbing straight-set singles wins at No. 3 and No. 6 to pull ahead, 2-1. Bolender easily dispatched of Alison Ramos at No. 3 (6-1, 6-1), followed by senior Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) pulling out a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 6.

Senior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) then fell at the No. 1 slot as the Trojans evened the team score at 2-2. Senior captain Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5 moments after Muresan fell to stake the home team a 3-2 lead and set Nguyen up for the deciding point.

Michigan dropped the doubles point for the first time this season, only pulling out an 8-3 win at No. 2 when Muresan and freshman Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan) combined for the victory. After USC grabbed an 8-4 win at No. 1, the No. 3 match became the decider.

U-M's No. 3 duo of Critser and Nguyen held a 7-4 lead with the opportunity to serve out the match, but USC rallied and won four of the next five games to force a tiebreaker. The Wolverines had two match points in the tiebreaker, but the Trojans rallied again to win the breaker (8-6) and the doubles point.

The Wolverines wrap up their four-match home stand to start the season next Saturday (Feb. 5), hosting the Kentucky at noon.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 3 Maria Sanchez (USC) d. No. 11 Denise Muresan (U-M), 6-0, 6-2
No. 2 -- No. 105 Sam Critser (U-M) d. No. 10 Danielle Lao (USC), 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 -- Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. Alison Ramos (USC), 6-1, 6-1
No. 4 -- Mimi Nguyen (U-M) d. Kaitlyn Christian (USC), 6-3, 5-7, 7-5
No. 5 -- No. 61 Whitney Taney (U-M) d. Christy Andrews (USC), 6-1, 6-1
No. 6 -- Rika Tatsuno (U-M) d. Lyndsay Kinstler (USC), 6-3, 6-1

No. 1 -- No. 80 Sanchez/Christian (USC) d. Taney/Tatsuno (U-M), 8-4
No. 2 -- Bolender/Muresan (U-M) d. Lao/Kintsler (USC), 8-3
No. 3 -- Ramos/Andrews (USC) d. Nguyen/Critser (U-M), 9-8 (6)

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


• Michigan improves to 5-1 in the ITA Kick-Off event.

Sam Critser has won 10 consecutive singles matches.

• It is the second consecutive season U-M has won its ITA Kick-Off to advance to the ITA National Championship. It will be the second appearance for the Wolverines at the indoor event.

• U-M improves 1-1 all-time against USC.

• Michigan used the same singles lineup for both ITA Kick-Off matches (Muresan, Critser, Bolender, Nguyen, Taney and Tatsuno).

• The doubles pair of Brooke Bolender and Denise Muresan remained a perfect 3-0 on the season.


Michigan Head Coach Ronni Bernstein
On rebounding from not winning the doubles point ... "The whole day was just crazy, from doubles to singles. It was such an up and down match. After we lost that doubles point, everyone came into the team room like they had seen a ghost. I just sat them down and emphasized that it was just one point. We would like to always get the early advantage, but there were still six singles matches to go, and more importantly, six points out there. As deflated as you feel, you just have to be ready to go out and play your singles matches. I thought that everyone did such a great job of putting the doubles behind them and focusing on their singles matches."

On the end of singles ... "I was really happy that Sam (Critser) and Mimi (Nguyen) were able to pull it out in singles. They were the ones in doubles that really felt it and got tight. I was really happy with Mimi because she had match point in the second but had to play that third set. She got a little tight, so for her to pull that out, it was great for her. The other thing that I really liked about those two at the end was that they stayed in their own matches instead of just hoping the other one would take care of it for the team. It was a great a team effort across the board today, and I am really proud of our girls."

On what the win means for the team ... "USC is a great team, and we really had to fight for every point we got against them today. We want to go to the ITA Indoor Championships and are happy we are going, but today was a quality win no matter what. We are happy we are going and have the opportunity for some more matches as the season progresses. I am just really proud of the team, especially our younger kids like Mimi, Sam and Brooke (Bolender). They all stepped up this weekend and really played like upperclassmen."

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423