Michigan Dispatches Ohio State, Earns Third Straight Big Ten Title
Brooke Bolender

April 22, 2012

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
Score: #14 Michigan 5, Ohio State 2
Records: U-M (17-6, 10-1 Big Ten), OSU (9-15, 4-7 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Thu-Sun., April 26-29 -- at Big Ten Tournament (Columbus, Ohio)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 14-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team claimed a share of its third consecutive Big Ten Conference championship Sunday afternoon (April 22), cruising to a 5-2 decision against rival Ohio State in its regular-season finale at the Varsity Tennis Center. U-M swept the doubles and claimed four of six singles contests against the Buckeyes.

The Wolverines were perfect in doubles play for the fourth straight dual match, winning handily on all three courts to garner the early advantage. Michigan's freshman duo of Sarah Lee (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) and Kristen Dodge (Barrington, Ill./Barrington HS), playing together for the first time in eight weeks, rolled at the No. 3 position, claiming the final eight games to beat Kelsey Haviland and Noelle Malley, 8-1, in the first match off court.

Michigan clinched the doubles point at the No. 1 position, as freshman Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels HS) and sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep) surged past Kara Cecil and Kelsey Dieters, 8-4, for their eighth consecutive win. The U-M duo, listed eighth in the latest ITA rankings, broke in the 10th game, taking advantage of back-to-back OSU double faults, to take control in the match. They added another break in the 12th game to end the match and improve to 19-3 in dual-match play.

The two teams split six singles first sets as well as the first two matches off court. Bektas, ranked 13th, won at the No. 1 position in a 6-0, 6-1 romp against Haviland before the Buckeyes' Gabby Steele responded with a 6-0, 7-5 win on the No. 5 court to stay within one on the scoreboard.

The Wolverines pulled away with three straight wins to seal the dual. Dodge and Bolender won on adjacent courts, earning straight-set decisions at the No. 6 and No. 2 positions, respectively. Dodge used a late second-set break to defeat Tiffany Dittmer, 6-3, 7-5, for her sixth straight singles win. The Wolverine rookie jumped to an early 4-1 advantage to control the first set and broke to 6-5 in the second before serving out the match.

Bolender, ranked 73rd, broke early in both sets en route to a 6-3, 6-4 win against Cecil. The Buckeye player rallied to even the second-set score at 3-3 before Bolender immediately retook the advantage with a break in the next game. With Bolender serving for the win, Cecil fought off three match points before the Wolverine sophomore put it away with an unplayable cross-court forehand.

Lee picked up the Wolverines' final win at the No. 3 spot, rallying to a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 decision against Fidan Manashirova. Lee trailed after an early break in the second but won the set's final four games before using a late break to take the third.

The Wolverines (17-6, 10-1 Big Ten) will head to Columbus, Ohio, next week to compete in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, which runs Thursday through Sunday (April 26-29) at OSU's Varsity Tennis Courts.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 13 Emina Bektas (U-M) d. Kelsey Haviland (OSU), 6-0, 6-1
No. 2 -- No. 73 Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. Kara Cecil (OSU), 6-3, 6-4
No. 3 -- Sarah Lee (U-M) d. Fidan Manashirova (OSU), 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 -- Kelsey Dieters (OSU) d. No. 108 Mimi Nguyen (U-M), 6-1, 3-6, 2-3 ret.
No. 5 -- Gabby Steele (OSU) d. Michelle Sulahian (U-M), 6-0, 7-5
No. 6 -- Kristen Dodge (U-M) d. Tiffany Dittmer (OSU), 6-3, 7-5

No. 1 -- No. 8 Bolender/Bektas (U-M) d. Cecil/Dieters (OSU), 8-4
No. 2 -- Nguyen/Sulahian (U-M) d. Manashirova/Steele (OSU), 8-4
No. 3 -- Lee/Dodge (U-M) d. Haviland/Noelle Malley (OSU), 8-1

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

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423