Weekly Release #3: Wolverines Host a Pair of Weekend Matches

Feb. 2, 2010

Saturday, February 6 -- vs. Syracuse (Varsity Tennis Center), 1 p.m.
Live Video/Live Results
Sunday, February 7 -- vs. No. 6 Notre Dame (Varsity Tennis Center), 11 a.m.
Live Video/Live Results

The No. 19-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (3-0) returns to the Varsity Tennis Center for two matches after picking up two wins at the ITA Kick-Off. Up first for the Wolverines is Syracuse on Saturday (Feb. 6) at 1 p.m. U-M will then take on its highest ranked opponent of the season to date, No. 6 Notre Dame, on Sunday (Feb. 7) at 11 a.m.

Match Promotions
Post-match Autographs -- After each home match the Michigan women's tennis team will sign autographs on the viewing level of the Varsity Tennis Center.

Saturday, February 6 -- vs. Syracuse
Rec &Ed Weekend -- All active Rec & Ed members are invited to cheer on Michigan women's tennis! Vouchers for a special Rec & Ed raffle are available for pickup at the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed Office.

Family Club -- Michigan women's tennis invites the Michigan Family Club to the Varsity Tennis Center for this Saturday afternoon match.

Sunday, February 7 -- vs. Notre Dame
Youth Day/Sunday Sundaes! -- Who says you can't enjoy ice cream in February? Join the Michigan women's tennis team for the very special Youth Day Sunday Sundaes. There will be an ice cream bar on the viewing level of the Varsity Tennis Center complete with multiple ice cream flavors and all of your favorite toppings!

Kids go Blue Club Day -- All active members of the Michigan Kids Go Blue Club are invited to attend this meet as the Kids Go Blue Club travels to California, the home state of four current Wolverines. For more information, please contact eallett@umich.edu or visit www.kidsgoblueclub.com.

Wii Tennis -- Not quite a tennis pro? Practice your tennis skills by playing Wii Tennis before the match!

ITA Kick-Off Weekend Recap -- The Wolverines made their mark at the second annual ITA Kick-Off event, winning the Arkansas regional to advance to the National Team Indoor Championships (Feb. 12-15) for the first time in school history. After falling behind 3-1 to No. 16 South Carolina (Jan. 29), freshman Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) and sophomore Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall School) won at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions to tie the match at 3-3. Junior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) stormed back for a three-set win at No. 1 singles over No. 38 Ana Zubori to put U-M in the championship match. Against No. 18 Arkansas (Jan. 30), U-M won the doubles point and four-of-six singles matches to defeat the host Razorbacks, 5-2, advancing to the national tournament. The Wolverines are the only No. 3 regional seed to advance and one of only three non-No. 1 seeds to head to Madison, Wis., for the 16-team tournament.

About the Opponents -- Michigan will first host Syracuse before playing host to No. 6 Notre Dame this weekend.

Syracuse -- The Orange will embark on a Michigan road trip this weekend, taking on Eastern Michigan (Feb. 5), Michigan (Feb. 6) and Michigan State (Feb. 7). Syracuse is 3-0, including a 2-0 mark in BIG EAST play, defeating Albany, St. John's and Rutgers. The Orange feature three ranked singles players on the roster in No. 74 CC Sardinha, No. 102 Simone Kalhorn and No. 102 Alessondra Parra, who are all 3-0 this season. U-M is 1-0 all-time versus Syracuse, winning 9-0 during the 1998 season.

No. 6 Notre Dame -- Before coming to Ann Arbor, the No. 6-ranked Irish take on Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., on Feb. 5. Notre Dame sports a 3-1 record after losing to No. 17 North Carolina in the regional championship of the ITA Kick-Off (Jan. 31). UND boasts the No. 30 player in the country, Kristy Frilling, who is a perfect 4-0 on the season. Frilling teams up with Kali Krisik in doubles for the No. 12 pair in the country, as the duo is also a perfect 4-0 on the young season. Notre Dame leads the overall series with U-M, 21-9, winning both of last season's meetings in South Bend. The last time the Irish were at the Varsity Tennis Center, Michigan came away with a 4-3 win (Jan. 31, 2008).

Ranked Opponents, No Problem -- In the first three dual matches of the season, Michigan has already knocked off two top-25 opponents in No. 16 South Carolina and No. 18 Arkansas. The Wolverines will have plenty of opportunities against the best competition in the country as U-M has five more matches against teams currently ranked in the top 25, including No. 1 Duke (Feb. 20), No. 2 Northwestern (April 3) and No. 5 Baylor (Feb. 26).

Diminutive Duo -- The two smallest players on the roster have made a big impact during the first two weeks of the dual-match season. Mimi Nguyen and Michelle Sulahian are both listed at 5-4, making them the smallest Wolverines by three inches apiece. In U-M's three dual matches, both Nguyen and Sulahian are 3-0 and were instrumental in Michigan's come-from-behind victory over South Carolina (Jan. 29). Sulahian clinched the match against Arkansas (Jan. 30) with a win at No. 6 to send the Wolverines to the National Team Indoor Championships for the first time in school history. The pair has also combined in doubles to go 3-0 in dual-match action and 9-1 overall while riding a seven-match winning streak.

Closing in on 100 at the VTC -- The Wolverines are tough to beat at home and are closing in on the program's 100th win at the Varsity Tennis Center. U-M is 95-36 (.725) all-time record at the Varsity Tennis Center in its 13-plus seasons. Including the two matches this weekend, the Wolverines have eight home matches remaining on the schedule to reach the 100-win plateau in 2010. The Maize and Blue has won 44 of the last 51 dual matches at the VTC, dating back to the 2005 season. Michigan has dropped only one contest in head coach Ronni Bernstein's tenure, a 6-1 loss to then-No. 1 Northwestern.

Bernstein and the Shutout -- In her third season now at Michigan, head coach Ronni Bernstein's teams have shut out opponents 17 times after the 7-0 blanking of Western Michigan. The Wolverines have earned a 7-0 shutout 14 times and a 4-0 shutout three times. The 4-0 decision comes in postseason play, when matches in progress are abandoned after the dual match is clinched.

Michigan in the Rankings -- In the first ITA singles rankings of the season (Jan. 5), junior Denise Muresan earned the first ranking of her career, coming in at No. 36. As a team, the Wolverines moved up to No. 19 in the second team rankings (Jan. 26) after starting the season at No. 20.

Dual Match Format -- This weekend's dual matches will be contests for the best-of-seven team points. The dual will begin with three doubles matches consisting of eight-game pro sets. The team that wins two of these three matches will enter the singles competition with one of seven points. After a brief intermission, six singles matches will be played. Each singles match will be the best-of-three tie-break sets and worth one point towards the team competition. The overall dual match will be decided when one team secures four total points. Matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.

Michigan Invitational Ends Tournament Play -- The women's tennis team put an exclamation point on its tournament season, hosting the three-day Michigan Invitational. The tandem of freshman Mimi Nguyen and sophomore Michelle Sulahian went 3-0 on the weekend to win the doubles title. As a team, U-M only dropped one doubles match, coming at the hands of the No. 3 duo in the country. In singles play, Sulahian and junior Kari Wig (Cochrane, Alberta/Cochrane) were both undefeated in singles while junior Denise Muresan defeated her second top-10 opponent of the season. Muresan came away with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over No. 6 Caitlin Whoriskey of Tennessee. On the weekend, U-M sported a 7-1 doubles mark and a 12-9 singles mark.

Muresan Has a Break-Out Fall -- Junior Denise Muresan made a name for herself during the tournament portion of the season, going 15-5 while defeating two top-10 opponents. Muresan started off the fall season by winning the Maize flight at the Wolverine Invitational (Oct. 2-4). The junior then made a run to the ITA Midwest Regional semifinals (Oct. 22-26) before falling to the No. 1-ranked player in the country. In the fall tournament finale, Muresan came away with a perfect 5-0 record to win the ASU Thunderbird (Nov. 6-8). While in Tempe, she knocked off three ranked opponents to become the second Wolverine in five years to win the tournament.

Oh Captain! -- Junior Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) was voted by her teammates as the captain of the 2009-10 Wolverines. Taney was Michigan's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree last season, in addition to being named an ITA Scholar Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten. Each Wednesday during the 2010 season, Taney will give a glimpse into the women's tennis team in her blog, Serving It Up.

From Afar -- Out of the eight athletes on the tennis team, not one of them is a native of Michigan. Four hail from California with Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas and Canada each producing one student-athlete. The only other varsity team at the University of Michigan that is full of non-Michiganders is, coincidentally, the men's tennis team.

Bolender Signs to Join Wolverines -- Brooke Bolender, a Blue Chip recruit, signed to join the Wolverines for the 2010-11 season. One of the top junior competitors in the country, Bolender is currently listed as the No. 9-ranked senior on tennisrecruiting.net and is No. 99 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings. She has been training at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., since 2005 and also has been a member of the USTA High Performance Development Program.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein enters her third season at the helm of Michigan women's tennis. In her first two seasons in Ann Arbor, Bernstein has compiled an impressive record of 37-13 with an 18-2 Big Ten Conference mark. She has led the Wolverines to postseason play in both seasons.

A Look Back at 2009 -- The Wolverines ended the 2009 dual-match season with an 18-7 overall record to go along with a 9-1 mark in Big Ten action. U-M concluded the season with a No. 18 ITA national team ranking, improving on the No. 19 finish in 2008. U-M made it to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive season before bowing to No. 5 Notre Dame in the second round. Chisako Sugiyama became the program's leader in all-time singles wins, eventually ending her career with 104 victories while earning All-Big Ten honors for the third consecutive season. Sugiyama completed her senior season with a No. 69 ITA national ranking. Rika Tatsuno earned All-Big Ten laurels for the first time in her career, ending the season ranked No. 102.

Michigan women's tennis is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_tennis) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. [ Check out both in our new publications section ]

Completed in 1997, the $6 million indoor and outdoor complex provides the Wolverine tennis programs with a state-of-the-art on-campus training and competition site that is an excellent recruiting tool, and a premier and nationally competitive facility to nurture Michigan tennis players for many more decades to come. The Varsity Tennis Center has undergone a number of extensive upgrades over the past five years, including the addition of indoor and outdoor electronic scoreboards, individual video cameras on each indoor court, and new indoor and outdoor audio systems. Just this past summer, outdoor chair back seating was added overlooking six of the outdoor courts.

Fri-Mon., Feb. 12-15
-- at ITA National Team Indoor Championships (Madison, Wis.)