Wolverines Cannot Overcome Early Deficit in Loss at Tennessee
Sarah Lee

Feb. 5, 2012

Site: Knoxville, Tenn. (Goodfriend Tennis Center)
Score: #17 Tennessee 5, #10 Michigan 2
Records: U-M (4-1), Tennessee (4-2)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Feb. 10 -- vs. Clemson at ITA National Indoor Championships (Charlottesville, Va.), 9 a.m.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team could not overcome an early deficit and suffered its first loss of the season, 5-2 at No. 17 Tennessee, on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 5) at the Volunteers' Goodfriend Tennis Center.

The Wolverines dropped the doubles point for the third straight dual appearance with losses at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. Freshmen Kristen Dodge (Barrington, Ill./Barrington HS) and Sarah Lee (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) rallied from a 7-1 deficit in the latter match, winning five straight games to get back on serve, but the Volunteers' Joanna Henderson and Kata Szekely broke in the 14th game to win 8-6 and clinch the first point.

Freshman Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels HS) and sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep) won at No. 1 doubles, battling back from a pair of breaks against Natalie Pluskota and Caitlyn Williams to claim an 8-6 decision.

Tennessee took three of the first four singles matches completed to secure the dual win, earning a quick win at No. 5 before rallying from deficits at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. The Volunteers' Boren, ranked 27th, used a pair of late breaks to rebound from a 5-0 deficit in the first set and ultimately edge 46th-ranked Bolender, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

Szekely, ranked 59th, clinched the dual from the No. 3 spot, rebounding from a first-set loss to cruise in the second and third frames to defeat junior Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan HS), 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Lee put U-M on the board at the No. 4 position, using early breaks to claim the first and third sets en route to a 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 decision over Williams.

Bektas also won in three sets to secure the Wolverines' other singles victory, a 5-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 decision over 24th-ranked Pluskota at the No. 1 position. The Wolverine rookie, ranked 36th, dropped the first set in a tiebreaker but took advantage of early breaks in the remaining two sets to extend her win streak to eight straight matches and claim her fifth win over a ranked opponent this semester.

The Wolverines will travel to Charlottesville, Va., next weekend (Friday-Monday, Feb. 10-13) for the annual ITA National Indoor Championships at Boar's Head Sports Club. No. 8-seeded Michigan will face Clemson in the first round at 9 a.m. Friday.

Following are match-by-match results

No. 1 -- No. 36 Emina Bektas (U-M) d. No. 24 Natalie Pluskota (Tennessee), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3
No. 2 -- No. 27 Brynn Boren (Tennessee) d. No. 46 Brooke Bolender (U-M), 7-6 (3), 6-2
No. 3 -- No. 59 Kata Szekely (Tennessee) d. No. 113 Mimi Nguyen (U-M), 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
No. 4 -- Sarah Lee (U-M) d. Caitlyn Williams (Tennessee), 6-2, 1-6, 6-1
No. 5 -- Sarah Toti (Tennessee) d. Michelle Sulahian (U-M), 6-4, 6-2
No. 6 -- Joanna Henderson (Tennessee) d. Kristen Dodge (U-M), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (3)

No. 1 -- Bektas/Bolender (U-M) d. Pluskota/Williams (Tennessee), 8-6
No. 2 -- #18 Boren/Toti (Tennessee) d. Nguyen/Sulahian (U-M), 8-1
No. 3 -- Henderson/Szekely (Tennessee) d. Dodge/Lee (U-M), 8-6

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

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423