U-M Knocks Off Iowa to Earn Spot in Big Ten Tourney Final

May 1, 2010

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Site: Iowa City, Iowa (Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Semifinals)
Score: #4 Michigan 4, Iowa 1
Records: U-M (22-3), Iowa (16-6)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, May 2 -- vs. No. 5 Northwestern - Big Ten Tournament Finals (Iowa City, Iowa), Noon CDT

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Despite losing the doubles point, the No. 4-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team rallied to defeat Iowa, 4-1, on Saturday morning (May 1) in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex, punching its ticket to the tournament championship tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, May 2, noon CDT). The victory over the Hawkeyes gives Michigan 22 wins on the season, a new program best. It is also the Wolverines' 16th straight dual-match win, tying a program record for consecutive wins.

The Wolverines found themselves in a quick 1-0 hole after losing the doubles point for only the second time this season. Michigan's No. 23-ranked doubles tandem of junior Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) and junior Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) gave the Wolverines an early advantage for the point, grabbing an upset win at No. 1 over Iowa's No. 15-ranked doubles team of Sonja Molnar and Merel Beelen, 8-3. It was Taney and Tatsuno's 14th straight win in doubles play. Iowa bounced back, however, and won the doubles point by virtue of wins at Nos. 2 and 3.

Michigan rebounded in singles play as senior Tania Mahtani (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) evened up the score at 1-1 by downing Kelcie Klockenga (Iowa), 6-3, 6-2, and from there, it was all Michigan. Sophomore Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall School) followed with a win at No. 6 over Alexis Dorr (Iowa), 6-2, 6-3, to give Michigan a 2-1 advantage.

Big Ten Freshman of the Year Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) put U-M up 3-1 with a, 7-5, 6-2, defeat of Beelen, before Taney dispatched of Lynne Poggensee-Wei (Iowa), 6-3, 6-2, to clinch the match for the Wolverines by a final score 4-1.

The Wolverines now advance to the finals for the sixth consecutive season, taking on No. 5 Northwestern tomorrow (Sunday, May 2) at noon CDT. The championship match will air on the Big Ten Network on May 9 at 5 p.m.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 62 Sonja Molnar (Iowa) v. No. 20 Denise Muresan (U-M), 7-6 (2), 3-1 (Abandoned)
No. 2 -- Whitney Taney (U-M) d. Lynne Poggensee-Wei (Iowa), 6-3, 6-2
No. 3 -- Mimi Nguyen (U-M) d. Merel Beelen (Iowa), 7-5, 6-2
No. 4 -- Rika Tatsuno (U-M) v. Jessica Young (Iowa), 7-6 (3), 1-3 (Abandoned)
No. 5 -- Tania Mahtani (U-M) d. Kelcie Klockenga (Iowa), 6-3, 6-2
No. 6 -- Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Alexis Dorr (Iowa), 6-2, 6-3

No. 1 -- No. 23 Taney/Tatsuno (U-M) d. Molnar/Beelen (Iowa), 8-3
No. 2 -- Poggensee-Wei/Dorr (Iowa) d. Nguyen/Sulahian (U-M), 8-6
No. 3 -- Klockenga/Young (Iowa) d. Mahtani/Muresan (U-M), 8-5

Order of Completion: Doubles 1-3-2, Singles 5-6-3-2*
*Clinched match

• Previous Results: Quarterfinal


• Matches in progress when the dual match is clinched are abandoned during postseason play.

• The only other match Michigan lost the doubles point was in its 5-2 loss to Florida on Feb. 12.

• The Wolverines set a program record for wins in a season (22). The previous best came in 1997 when U-M went 21-5.

• The last time Michigan won 16 straight matches was in 2008, Ronni Bernstein's first year in Ann Arbor. That season, the Wolverines did not lose a dual match from Feb. 22 to April 26.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423