Champs Again! U-M Tames No. 17 Wildcats to Win Second Straight Big Ten Title

April 23, 2011

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
Score: #10 Michigan 6, #17 Northwestern 1
Records: U-M (20-3, 10-0 Big Ten), Northwestern (16-7, 8-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Match: Thu-Sun, April 28-May 1 -- host Big Ten Championships (Varsity Tennis Center)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team completed its second consecutive undefeated conference season for its second straight Big Ten championship, defeating No. 17-ranked Northwestern, 6-1, on Saturday afternoon (April 23) at the Varsity Tennis Center.

Michigan won the doubles point by virtue of wins at No. 1 and No. 2, followed by taking the first five singles matches off court.

U-M's No. 1 doubles team of senior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) and freshman Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan) raced out to a 5-0 advantage en route to an 8-3 victory. Seniors Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) and Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) clinched the point moments later with an 8-2 win, breaking NU's duo at 3-2 and coasting the rest of the way. NU won the final match at No. 3.

The Maize and Blue continued to cruise during singles play, winning the first set on all six courts. Taney was the first Wolverine to get off court, winning a 6-2, 6-3 match over No. 71 Brittany Wowchuk at No. 3 to increase Michigan's lead to 2-0. Tatsuno was right behind Taney, taking a 6-4, 6-2 decision over Stacy Lee at No. 5.

Needing just one more point to put the match away, Muresan delivered a 7-5, 6-2 victory over No. 13 Maria Mosolova at No. 1. Muresan survived to win the first set before jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second to clinch Michigan's second straight Big Ten championship.

Freshman Sam Critser (Mountain View, Calif./Mountain View) continued Michigan's winning ways with a three-set win (7-6, 3-6, 1-0) over Kate Turvy at No. 4. Bolender completed Michigan's singles wins on the afternoon over No. 73 Belinda Niu (6-3, 3-6, 6-1).

Michigan has earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Big Ten Tournament (Thu-Sun., April 28-May 1), to be held at the Varsity Tennis Center. U-M will play on Friday (April 29) at 10 a.m. against the winner of the No. 8-No. 9 match. The winner of the tournament will earn the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 8 Denise Muresan (U-M) d. No. 13 Maria Mosolova (NU), 7-5, 6-2
No. 2 -- No. 86 Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. No. 73 Belinda Niu (NU), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
No. 3 -- No. 100 Whitney Taney (U-M) d. No. 71 Brittany Wowchuk (NU), 6-2, 6-3
No. 4 -- No. 66 Sam Critser (U-M) d. Kate Turvy (NU), 7-6, 3-6, 1-0 (8)
No. 5 -- Rika Tatsuno (U-M) d. Stacy Lee (NU), 6-4, 6-2
No. 6 -- Linda Abu-Mushrefova (NU) d. Mimi Nguyen (U-M), 6-7, 6-0, 7-5

No. 1 -- No. 7 Brooke Bolender/Denise Muresan (U-M) d. Linda Abu-Mushrefova/Elana Chernykova (NU), 8-3
No. 2 -- No. 65 Whitney Taney/Rika Tatsuno (U-M) d. Brittany Wowchuk/Nida Hamilton, 8-2
No. 3 -- Belinda Niu/Maria Mosolova (NU) d. Sam Critser/Mimi Nguyen (U-M), 8-5

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


• Michigan won its second consecutive and third overall Big Ten title.

• Michigan outscored its Big Ten opponents, 66-4, this season and never surrendered more than one point to any opponent.

Denise Muresan, Brooke Bolender and Whitney Taney all ended the conference season with perfect 10-0 records.

• U-M won all 10 doubles points during Big Ten play.

• Michigan has won 25 consecutive Big Ten matches in a row and has not lost since March 29, 2009.

• The Wolverines went 56-4 in singles play during the Big Ten season.

• The senior class of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney, Rika Tatsuno and Kari Wig went 38-2 in the Big Ten during their career.

• It is the first time Michigan has ever won back-to-back titles.

Ronni Bernstein moves her record to 2-2 all-time against Northwestern during the regular season.

• Director of Athletics Dave Brandon presented the Big Ten trophy to the team following the match.

• U-M moves to 6-3 this season against top-25 competition.

• The match was played outdoors and started at approximately 11:40 a.m. Michigan is 4-2 this season in outdoor matches.


Michigan Head Coach Ronni Bernstein
On winning their second straight Big Ten championship ... "We are really excited with the win. It was really cool that it came down to this match. You could have looked at our schedule from the beginning and guess that it would come down to this match, and it was great that everything fell into place so that happened. Northwestern is such a great team, and we needed to play our best. I am really proud of the girls. They responded and they handled the pressure so well. Everyone, top to bottom, did such a great job."

On the match ... "I thought we did a great job in doubles and that set the tone. We got such great starts at No. 1 and No. 2 and then just ran away with them. Getting the doubles point against a team like that is just so important. We then continued that and got all six first-set wins. I thought that Mimi (Nguyen), Sam (Critser) and Denise (Muresan) all battled well in those first sets. Those were really tough conditions out there, but the girls just found ways to win out there.

"I thought it was really great that all three seniors (Rika Tatsuno, Whitney Taney and Denise Muresan) were all on the same side and got those first three points for us. For them to be out there on the court and close it out like that, it really shows what they mean to this program."

On the crowd ... "It was just an unbelievable crowd. It was definitely the best crowd I have seen since I have been here. They definitely help us out. It is almost like a point in the match. They were a huge advantage. We heard them, we felt them. I think it definitely helps being home for a big match like this. Hopefully we can get a crowd like that for the Big Ten Tournament. The season starts again next week with that. We are excited about what we did this season, but a new one starts soon. We like where we are right now and continue to get better. You want to be playing your best tennis in May and I think we are heading for that."

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423