Wolverines Shut Out MSU in Big Ten Opener
Kristen Dodge

Feb. 22, 2012

Site: East Lansing, Mich. (MSU Indoor Tennis Facility)
Score: #11 Michigan 7, Michigan State 0
Records: U-M (6-3, 1-0 Big Ten), Michigan State (6-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 2 -- at Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii), 3 p.m. HST

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team took all six singles matches -- five in straight sets -- to complete a dominant 7-0 shutout in its Big Ten Conference opener at Michigan State on Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 22) at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility.

After quick wins on the No. 1 and No. 2 singles courts, freshman Sarah Lee (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) clinched the Wolverine win from the No. 3 position, defeating Marina Bohrer, 6-4, 6-4, to remain unbeaten in dual play. Lee trailed in the second set after giving up an early break but broke back to even the score at 4-4 before claiming the final two games to close out the match.

Sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep) and freshman Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels HS) made quick work of their Spartan opponents as the first two off court. Bolender, ranked 56th, went up early breaks in both sets en route to a 6-1, 6-0 win against Olga Chernova, while fifth-ranked Bektas rolled past Nicole Herzog, 6-2, 6-1, at the top spot. Betas extended her win streak to 11 straight matches; like Lee, she is 8-0 in dual-match action.

With the team victory assured, Michigan kept its momentum going at the remaining positions. Sophomore Sam Critser (Mountain View, Calif./Mountain View HS) was victorious in her singles dual debut, securing a 6-4, 6-4 decision over Katarina Lingl at the No. 4 spot. Critser, ranked 62nd, rallied from an early break to claim the first set before going up an immediate break to take the second. With the Wolverine serving for the win, Lingl fought off four match points before Critser ended the match on an overhead winner.

Freshman Kristen Dodge (Barrington, Ill./Barrington HS) and senior Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Mich./Campbell Hall HS) rounded out the singles competition with wins at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions, respectively. Dodge reeled off six straight points in a third-set tiebreaker to beat Julianne Gruber, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 1-0 (3), while Sulahian knocked off Dana Guenter, 6-3, 6-2.

Michigan claimed the doubles point with wins from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Bektas and Bolender won the final seven games to dominate in the former, defeating Herzog and Lingl, 8-2. Bektas served out the match, opening the 10th game with back-to-back aces, as the Wolverine duo earned its fifth straight doubles win.

After trading early breaks at the No. 2 position, Sulahian and junior Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan HS) ended on a similar tear, claiming the final four games to defeat Bohrer and Gruber, 8-4, and secure the dual's initial point.

The Wolverines will hit the road for spring break, traveling to Honolulu, Hawaii, to face Hawaii on Friday, March 2. The match is slated for a 3 p.m. HST start at the UH Tennis Complex.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 5 Emina Bektas (U-M) d. Nicole Herzog (MSU), 6-2, 6-1
No. 2 -- No. 56 Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. Olga Chernova (MSU), 6-1, 6-0
No. 3 -- Sarah Lee (U-M) d. Marina Bohrer (MSU), 6-4, 6-4
No. 4 -- No. 62 Sam Critser (U-M) d. Katarina Lingl (MSU), 6-4, 6-4
No. 5 -- Kristen Dodge (U-M) d. Julianne Gruber (MSU), 6-1, 6-7 (5), 1-0 (3)
No. 6 -- Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Dana Guenter (MSU), 6-3, 6-2

No. 1 -- No. 19 Emina Bektas/Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. Nicole Herzog/Katarina Lingl (MSU), 8-2
No. 2 -- No. 59 Mimi Nguyen/Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Marina Bohrer/Julianne Gruber (MSU), 8-4
No. 3 -- Hilary Hager/Dana Guentert (MSU) d. Kristen Dodge/Sarah Lee (U-M), 8-6

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


• The Wolverines improved to 44-17 in the all-time series against Michigan State. U-M has won 11 in a row against the Spartans.

• Michigan has won 26 consecutive regular-season Big Ten dual matches, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign. U-M boasted perfect 10-0 conference record in each of the last two seasons.

• Today's shutout victory was the third for Michigan this season. The Wolverines defeated Western Michigan, 7-0, in the dual opener and knocked off Clemson, 4-0, at the ITA National Indoor Championships.

• Senior Michelle Sulahian improved to 79-42 in her collegiate singles career to claim sole possession of the 13th position among Michigan's all-time career win leaders. She needs one more win to reach the 12th spot, currently held by Danielle Lund (80, 1997-2000).

• Sophomore Sam Critser missed the Wolverines' first five duals with injury before appearing in the doubles lineup at the ITA National Indoors. Today marked her first singles match of the semester.


Michigan Head Coach Ronni Bernstein
On winning the Big Ten opener ... "It's a good start for us. Every Big Ten win is important, and every match today was important. The girls knew that and responded well. It was another road match; the courts are a little different. We've got some things we need to get better at, but overall, I'm pretty happy. We'll take it."

On Michigan's preparation for today ... "We took some days off. It was more about us getting healthy. Mimi [Nguyen] wasn't feeling great today, so we only played her in doubles. We need to get everybody feeling good; I think that's our biggest challenge right now. We gave them a couple days off after indoors and spent some time working on a few things with the girls."

On the Wolverines' doubles play ... "Our doubles still needs to improve. It's about energy, and it's something that we can control. Doubles is all about playing together as a team and having good energy and good body language. That starts in practice. They need to do a better job in practice and a better job with warming up before the match. Again, that's something we can control, so there really is no excuse. We're going to continue to expect that from the girls. That's why we've been successful in doubles in the past. You need to show a positive force to your opponent on the other side of the net. It's a pro set -- only eight games -- so you need to be ready to go from the beginning."

On the return of sophomore Sam Critser ... "It was great to have her back on the court. I think this was a very important match for her as we get into the season. It's about getting her match tough and trusting the knee. Today was a good start for her. It's definitely a nice sight to see her out on the court."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423