Weekly #5: Two Ranked Foes on Tap for Michigan This Week

Feb. 8, 2011

Thursday, Feb. 10 -- at No. 13 Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.), 4:15 p.m.
Live Blog | Live Scoring
Sunday, Feb. 13 -- vs. No. 18 Vanderbilt (Varsity Tennis Center), 10:30 a.m. (Big Ten Network, tape-delay)
Live Scoreboard/Live Video

The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (4-0) hits the road for the first time this season, heading to No. 13 Notre Dame (3-2) for a match on Thursday (Feb. 10) at the Eck Tennis Center in South Bend, Ind., before returning home to host No. 18 Vanderbilt (4-1) on Sunday (Feb. 13) at the Varsity Tennis Center. Sunday's contest will air on tape-delay on the Big Ten Network on Feb. 20 at 11 a.m.


Wolverines Sweep Kentucky -- Michigan won all three doubles matches before sweeping all six singles matches in a 7-0 win over Kentucky this past weekend (Saturday, Feb. 5), improving to 4-0 on the season. Senior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) and freshman Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan) moved up to the No. 1 slot in doubles for the first time this season, coming away with an 8-5 victory. All six Wolverines won their singles matches, five of which in straight sets. Freshman Sam Critser (Mountainview, Calif./Mountainview) won in three set, rallying for a 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-5) victory to keep UK off the board. [ Michigan Daily Recap ]

Not Like the First Time -- Michigan's 7-0 win over Kentucky was a vast difference than the last time these two teams squared off. The Wolverines dropped a 7-0 decision at Kentucky to start the 2008 season, which was also Ronni Bernstein's first dual match as head coach.

And Do THAT Again This Weekend -- The only other 7-0 loss during Ronni Bernstein's tenure came against Vanderbilt on the same season-opening road trip in 2008. Sunday's match marks the first time the teams have faced each other since 2008.

Let's All Play Each Other -- Michigan, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt will all play each other this week, starting with Thursday's match at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will then play host to Vanderbilt on Saturday (Feb. 12). The Commodores complete the trio of matches with a trip to Ann Arbor on Sunday.

TV Time -- Michigan's match against Vanderbilt on Feb. 13 will be broadcast on a tape-delay on the Big Ten Network. The match can be seen on the BTN on Feb. 20 at 11 a.m. [ Release ]

A Look at No. 13 Notre Dame -- The Fighting Irish enter Thursday's contest with a 3-2 overall record after splitting a pair of weekend contests at No. 5 North Carolina (5-2 loss) and at Wake Forest (6-1 win). Notre Dame features the No. 9-ranked singles player in Kristy Frilling, along with No. 79 Kristen Rafael, No. 104 Shannon Mathews and No. 106 Jennifer Kellner. The Irish won last year's match at the Varsity Tennis Center, clinching the final match at the No. 3 position for the 4-3 victory. Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 22-9.

A Glance at No. 18 Vanderbilt -- The Commodores will play at Notre Dame on Saturday before heading to Ann Arbor for Sunday's televised match. Entering the weekend, Vanderbilt is 4-1 on the season, with its lone loss coming to Clemson during the ITA Kick-Off weekend. The Commodores, who defeated Northwestern earlier this season, feature five ranked singles players, led by No. 50 Alex Leatu, and two ranked doubles teams. VU won the last match-up between the two teams in 2008, with the all-time series knotted at 3-3.

4-0 Again...And Dominating -- For the second straight season, Michigan has started the season with a 4-0 record. U-M has yielded only two team points this season, both coming against No. 18 Southern California in a 5-2 win. Michigan features six players with perfect dual-match records.

We're Going Streaking -- Dating back to last season, the Wolverines have won 18 regular-season dual matches in a row. The Maize and Blue won its final 14 matches of the 2010 regular season before starting this year off with a 4-0 record. The last time U-M lost during the regular season was a 5-2 decision at then-No. 6 Duke (Feb. 20, 2010). Individually, Sam Critser has won 11 in a row, with Brooke Bolenderand sophomore Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) upping their streaks to five straight.

The Freshman Impact -- Check out a video feature on the impact of freshmen Brooke Bolender and Sam Critser. [ Video ]

No Doubles Point, No Problem -- The Wolverines dropped the doubles point against No. 18 Southern California but rallied to win five-of-six singles matches for the 5-2 win to advance to the ITA Championships. U-M lost just four doubles points during 2010, going 1-3 when failing to secure the first point of the match. The Wolverines' lone win without the doubles point came against Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament.

Because Singles are Solid -- U-M has a 23-1 dual-match record in singles action through four matches. The Wolverines are a perfect 4-0 at each of the Nos. 2-6 positions.

Mixing It Up on the Doubles Court -- In all of 2010, Michigan used only three doubles lineups. The Wolverines have already used four different lineups to start the 2011 season. The pairs of Brooke Bolender and Denise Muresan, along with Sam Critser and Mimi Nguyen, have played all four matches together. Seniors Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) and Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) have played two matches together, while Tatsuno has paired with junior Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall School) for two.

Keep the Awards Coming! -- Sam Critser was named the Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week last week (Feb. 1) after her performance at the ITA Kick-Off that included a win over No. 10 Danielle Lao. Denise Muresan earned the honor earlier this season, on Jan. 18, after a 3-0 mark at the Michigan Invitational. U-M has won two of the three weekly awards of 2011. Of the nine Wolverines, six have earned the weekly award at some point during their career.

Ronni's Team Tough at Home -- Since head coach Ronni Bernstein took over the Michigan program prior to the 2008 dual-match season, the Wolverines have compiled a 35-2 record at home. U-M lost to then-No. 1 Northwestern during the 2009 season and then-No. 13 Notre Dame during 2010 to account for the only two losses at the Varsity Tennis Center during Bernstein's tenure.

Muresan Keeps Moving Up -- Denise Muresan keeps moving up the career wins list, now with 93 in her career. The senior All-American is 93-40 in her career, putting her at No. 5 on the all-time wins list. Her .699 career winning percentage is the third highest in program history, and she is one of only three on that top-10 list with at least 90 wins.

Dual Match Format -- This week'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.

Where We Rank - Michigan is currently ranked No. 8 in the ITA rankings. All-American Denise Muresan comes in at No. 11 in the first edition of the 2011 rankings, with senior captain Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) ranking No. 61 and Sam Critser slotted at No. 105. [ ITA Rankings ]

11 to 500 -- The Wolverines need 11 wins to reach 500 program wins. This season marks the 37th year of women's tennis, as the Wolverines have an all-time mark of 489-322, good for a .601 winning percentage. The first season for women's tennis at U-M was 1973-74 when the Wolverines went 5-0 with a sixth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships.

From All Over -- Of the nine Wolverines on the 2011 roster, four hail from California, with one each from Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota and Alberta. The women's tennis team is the only varsity team at U-M without a Michigan native.

A Look Back -- The 2010 season was the most successful in school history, with the Wolverines winning their first Big Ten Championship since 1997. U-M won a program-best 24 matches and advanced to the Sweet 16 at the NCAA Championships. Denise Muresan became the first All-American since Marian Kremer in 1981. Muresan (Big Ten Player of the Year), Mimi Nguyen (Big Ten Freshman of the Year) and head coach Ronni Bernstein (Big Ten Coach of the Year) swept the conference awards as Michigan went 10-0 during the regular season for the Big Ten crown.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein is in her fourth year leading the Wolverines. In 2010, she was named Big Ten Coach of the Year and ITA Midwest Coach of the Year after leading U-M to a 24-5 overall record, a Big Ten Championship and the Sweet 16. Since coming to Ann Arbor, Bernstein has compiled a 61-18 overall record and a 28-2 Big Ten mark. Teryn Ashley-Fitch, in her fifth year at U-M, was elevated to associate head coach over the summer with Kristen Schlukebir joining the Wolverines as the volunteer assistant coach for the 2011 season.

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. Most recently, outdoor chair back seating was added overlooking six of the outdoor courts.

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. Each of our varsity athletic teams will have a Record Book and a Yearbook. 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. [ Publications ]

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.

Michigan women's tennis is also on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/UofMTennis. Facebook is a social network service and website with more than 500 million active users.

Fri-Mon., Feb. 18-21 -- at ITA National Indoor Team Championships (Charlottesville, Va.)
Friday, Feb. 25
-- vs. Michigan State (Varsity Tennis Center), 5 p.m.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423