Jan. 29, 2014
Sunday, Feb. 2 -- at Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.), 11 a.m.
The No. 11-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (2-0) hits the road for the first time this season, traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on No. 26 Tennessee (1-1). The Maize and Blue will be looking for its first win in Knoxville in school history. The Wolverines are 2-0 on the young season after knocking off Virginia Tech and Yale last weekend (Jan. 25-26) in the ITA Kick-Off.
This weekend's dual match will be a contest for the best-of-seven team points. The dual will begin with three doubles matches each consisting of a six-game set, with a tiebreaker played at 6-6. The team that wins two of these three matches will enter the singles competition with one of seven points. Once the doubles point has been clinched, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. After a brief intermission, six singles matches will be played. Each singles match will be the best of three sets and worth one point towards the team competition. If the first two sets are split, a 10-point tiebreaker will be used in lieu of a full third set to determine the winner. The overall dual match will be decided when one team secures four total points. Singles matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion. This format of college tennis will be in effect until through the National Indoor Championships (Feb. 7-10).
The Wolverines are coming off a 2-0 weekend at the ITA Kick-Off, defeating Virginia Tech (6-1) and Yale (4-0) to advance to their fifth consecutive National Team Indoor Championship. The national tournament is set for Feb. 7-10 in Charlottesville, Va.
Since the ITA started Kick-Off weekends to qualify for the National Indoor Championships (2008-09), U-M has qualified in five of those six seasons. The Wolverines have hosted the event the past four seasons.
Michigan has started with a 2-0 record for the sixth straight season. The Wolverines have opened the dual-match season with a win in all but one of head coach Ronni Bernstein's seasons in Ann Arbor.
U-M went 8-1 in singles action last weekend, with juniors Emina Bektas (No. 1), Sarah Lee (No. 2) and Kristen Dodge (No. 6) each going 2-0. Senior Brooke Bolender and sophomore Amy Zhu also earned wins for Michigan in singles play.
With Ronit Yurovsky out of the lineup last weekend, head coach Ronni Bernstein had to shuffle the doubles lineup. Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender took their usual spot at No. 1, but Sarah Lee and Amy Zhu played together at No. 2 for just the fourth time as a pair. The twosome went 2-0, clinching the doubles point for U-M against Yale. Equally as impressive was the duo of Kristen Dodge and Laura Ucros, paired for just the second time after dropping a match last weekend at the Michigan Invitational, went 2-0 at No. 3 as U-M won both doubles points.
The Wolverines are 4-11 all-time against Tennessee, but U-M won last season's meeting against the Lady Vols in Ann Arbor (4-3). Michigan is looking for its first win in Knoxville.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
No. 32 Tennessee enter Sunday's dual match with a 1-1 record after defeating Purdue before falling to Clemson last weekend in the ITA Kick-Off. The Lady Vols feature two ranked singles players in No. 53 Eve Repic and No. 99 Joanna Henderson. On the doubles side, Henderson teams up with Caitlyn Williams to form the No. 43-ranked pair. Co-head coaches Mike Patrick (27th season) and Sonia Hahn-Patrick (17th season) lead the Lady Vols.
Michigan features three ranked singles players in Ronit Yurovsky (No. 20), Emina Bektas (No. 21) and Sarah Lee (No. 100). On the doubles side, Bektas and Brooke Bolender come in at No. 9, and Yurovsky and Lee rank No. 11. The next player rankings come out on Feb. 11.
Michigan comes in at No. 11 as a team in the second edition of the ITA rankings for the 2014 season. U-M is one of three Big Ten schools ranked in the top 25, joining Northwestern (No. 15) and Nebraska (No. 25).
The Wolverines welcome back their entire postseason singles lineup from last season in Emina Bektas (No. 1), Ronit Yurovsky (No. 2), Sarah Lee (No. 3), Brooke Bolender (No. 4), Amy Zhu (No. 5) and Kristen Dodge (No. 6). All six Wolverines recorded at least 18 singles victories, led by Yurovsky with 32 and Lee with 27.
The Maize and Blue features three freshmen on this year's roster in Annie Wierda, Sara Remynse and Laura Ucros. Wierda (Holland, Mich.) and Remynse (Richland, Mich.) are the first Michigan natives on the roster since the 2001-02 season.
Michigan returns two All-Americans in the doubles team of Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender. The pair received the honor last season for earning a seed (No. 5-8) in the NCAA Doubles Tournament. It was the second All-America honor for both players, with Bektas earning the singles distinction in 2012 and Bolender a doubles honor in 2011. Entering the dual-match season, the pair is ranked No. 9 by the ITA.
Brooke Bolender and Kristen Dodge will serve as Michigan's team captains this season. Bolender was named captain for the second straight season, and Dodge is in her first year as a captain. It is the first time since the 2010-11 season that U-M has two captains.
Senior Brooke Bolender is the team's lone senior this season, marking the third straight year that Michigan has featured just one senior.
Since taking over the Wolverines in 2007-08, U-M is 69-7 at the Varsity Tennis Center under head coach Ronni Bernstein. In her seventh season at Michigan this year, Bernstein is 130-37 as the leader of the Wolverines.
The Wolverines are coming off their fourth straight Big Ten championship and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2013. U-M went 23-6 last season, finishing with a No. 10 ranking. It was also U-M's fourth consecutive 20-win season. Four of Michigan's six 20-win seasons have occurred under head coach Ronni Bernstein.
Fri-Mon., Feb. 7-10 -- at ITA National Team Indoor Championships (Charlottesville, Va.)
Saturday, Feb. 15 -- vs. Notre Dame (Varsity Tennis Center), 1 p.m.