Notes & Quotes: #15 U-M 4, #19 Texas A&M 3 - NCAA Second Round

May 12, 2012

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• With today's win, the Wolverines evened their all-time series record against Texas A&M at 2-2. U-M has claimed the last two meetings against the Aggies. The two teams were scheduled to play in College Station, Texas, earlier this season, but the match was canceled due to rain.

• U-M heads to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season and fourth time in program history.

• Michigan improved to 15-12 all-time in NCAA Tournament matches. The Wolverines are 8-4 in NCAA matches during head coach Ronni Bernstein's tenure.

• The Wolverines went 10-2 in home matches this season.

• It was the last home match for senior Michelle Sulahian, who contributed to U-M's 45-5 record at the Varsity Tennis Center during her career.

• Sophomore Brooke Bolender is 2-1 this season in duals decided by her final match. She propelled U-M into the ITA Indoor Team Championships with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) victory over Yale's Blair Seideman in the Kickoff Weekend finale on Jan. 29. Two weeks ago, she fell to Purdue's Lynda Xepoleas, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5), in the Big Ten Tournament championship match.

• Freshman Sarah Lee improved to 32-9 in singles play this season and shares the Wolverine team wins lead with fellow freshman Emina Bektas (32-9). She moved to fifth among Michigan's single-season win leaders, where she is tied with freshman Bektas, Christine Schmeidel (1990) and senior Michelle Sulahian (2010). Lee needs just one more win to reach the fourth spot, currently held by Denise Muresan (33, 2010).

• Michigan lost the doubles point for the first time in nine matches. The Wolverines have rallied from giving up the initial point four times this season.


Michigan Head Coach Ronni Bernstein
On today's dual match ... "It was a really close match, and obviously I'm very excited that we got through. For them to step up today after losing a tough doubles point and against a good team like Texas A&M is a great achievement. We lost three first sets, so I knew we needed to turn one of them around or our season would be done. I was with Brooke [Bolender] and really trying to encourage her, and I know that both Emina [Bektas] and Mimi [Nguyen] both had close second sets. I'm really proud of the way we competed today."

On Brooke Bolender's clinching performance ... "For as happy as I am for the team win, I'm equally happy for Brooke. I didn't want her to have to go through the feeling that she had against Purdue. You could see how happy she was at the end of the dual, and it's a relief for her, because she cares so much for the program. Under that kind of pressure, for her to come through for the team is huge."

On U-M's team effort ... "We've had different people step up every match. That's what a team is, and that's what is so special about college tennis. It's an individual sport, but in the college format, you need everyone on your team to perform. It doesn't matter where the point comes from. You don't need your No. 1 to win every day; you just need to get four points. That's the beauty of college tennis."

On reaching the Sweet 16 for the third straight year ... "We're very young. We faced some adversity this season and had a few disappointments this year, which I think is the sign of being young, so getting back to the Sweet 16 is exciting, and it's especially exciting for the new kids who we relied on so much this season. For us to get there three years in a row is a great accomplishment and a sign of where the program has come. It's a credit to this team and their hard work."

U-M Sophomore Brooke Bolender
On clinching in the final match ... "I guess I've just accepted that I'm always going to be the last match. It's a kind of a rare situation, but I've been in it before. Regardless of whether I've won or lost in the past, I know what it feels like. I actually wasn't too nervous today in that third set, which was nice. Getting that big lead helped a lot, and Mimi [Nguyen] helped a lot too. She was still on the court when I was up 4-0, so without her, I don't know how I would have handled it."

On today's dual and environment at the Varsity Tennis Center ... "We had an awesome crowd here today. A bunch of our friends were here and just a bunch of Michigan supporters. It was a very intense dual match, so a great crowd like that really helps. Texas A&M is a good team, so losing that doubles point was a little nerve racking. But we worked hard and were fortunate to pull out four singles matches."

U-M Senior Michelle Sulahian
On her singles win ... "I just tried to play my game in singles and win as fast as I could. After you lose the doubles point, it's so important to get that first singles win. Teammates love seeing that 1-1; everyone feels a little better and easy. Sarah [Lee] got off really fast too to make it 2-1, so that made it even better."

On advancing to her third straight NCAA Sweet 16 ... "It's pretty sweet, no pun intended. It will be a lot of fun to go back. Georgia is a great place to play, and I'm looking forward to it. We really had to fight for it this season, but every week we learned something. It's finally coming together; everyone is playing well, and we're peaking right now. It's a good time for it."