Feb. 12, 2013
Saturday, Feb. 16 -- vs. No. 11 Texas A&M (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Free Admission | Live Scoring/Live Video
The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (5-2) returns to the Varsity Tennis Center this weekend for a match against No. 11-ranked Texas A&M. The teams are meeting for the first time since U-M knocked the Aggies out of the 2012 NCAA Tournament with a 4-3 win last season at the VTC.
This weekend's dual match will be a contest 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. Singles matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.
Michigan returns home to kick off a four-match homestand this weekend, first welcoming Texas A&M to the Varsity Tennis Center on Saturday (Feb. 16). U-M does not play another match away from the VTC until March 8.
The Wolverines and Aggies are meeting for the first time since U-M eliminated Texas A&M from the NCAA Tournament last season at the Varsity Tennis Center. Michigan dropped the doubles point in that match to fall behind early. With the match tied 3-3, junior Brooke Bolender rallied after dropping the first set for a three-set victory at No. 2 to seal Michigan's 4-3 win and third straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. The all-time series between the two teams is tied, 2-2.
Michigan completed action at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships over the weekend (Feb. 8-10), going 2-1. U-M fell to No. 7-ranked Cal in the first round (4-0) but regrouped to beat No. 12 Virginia (4-2) and No. 21 Vanderbilt (4-2). It was Michigan's first win over Virginia in program history. U-M made its fourth straight appearance at the national tournament. All four appearances have come under sixth-year head coach Ronni Bernstein.
Head coach Ronni Bernstein has continued tinkering with her doubles lineup, using two new pairings over the weekend in Sarah Lee and Ronit Yurovsky at No. 2 and Kristen Dodge and Mimi Nguyen at No. 3. In the dual-match season alone (seven matches), U-M has already used seven different lineups. The Wolverines are 11-8 on the doubles court in dual matches, winning four doubles points this season.
Freshman Ronit Yurovsky is 3-0 in dual matches this season and has not lost a singles match since Oct. 21, 2012, at the ITA Midwest Championships. She has won 11 consecutive matches that have finished and carries a 15-4 overall record.
Michigan comes in at No. 13 in this week's ITA rankings after going 2-1 at the National Team Indoor Championships. It is the highest the Wolverines have been ranked this season. Texas A&M moved up to No. 11 in this week's edition, as the Aggies will be Michigan's sixth consecutive top-25 opponent.
The Wolverines have already played some of the best teams in the country, taking on top-25 opponents in five of their seven dual matches to date. Michigan's next two opponents are also ranked in the top 25 in No. 11 Texas A&M and No. 14 Texas (Feb. 24). U-M is 3-2 against ranked foes this season.
Senior Mimi Nguyen, limited this season so far in singles action, has moved into 11th place on the all-time singles win list with 83. With two more wins, she will move into the top 10 and into a tie with Michelle Sulahian (2009-12) at No. 10.
As a team, Michigan went 52-35 in singles during the tournament portion of the season. Freshman Ronit Yurovsky led the Wolverines with a 12-4 record and has won eight consecutive matches entering dual-match action. On the doubles side, the Maize and Blue compiled a 26-16 record by using 12 different lineups. [ Statistics ]
The Wolverines welcome back five of their top singles players from last season in senior Mimi Nguyen, junior Brooke Bolender and the sophomore trio of Sarah Lee, Emina Bektas and Kristen Dodge. All five Wolverines recorded at least 23 singles victories, led by Lee and Bektas each totaling 32.
Brooke Bolender will serve as Michigan's team captain this season. It is her first season as captain and the first time since the 2009-10 season that U-M will be captained by a junior.
Senior Mimi Nguyen is the team's lone senior this season, marking the second straight season that Michigan has featured just one senior.
Since taking over the Wolverines in 2007-08, U-M is 52-4 at the Varsity Tennis Center under head coach Ronni Bernstein. In her sixth season at Michigan, Bernstein is 109-32 as the leader of the Wolverines.
The Wolverines are coming off their third straight Big Ten championship and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2012. U-M went 21-8 last season, finishing with a No. 14 ranking. It was also U-M's third consecutive 20-win season. Three of Michigan's five 20-win seasons have occurred under head coach Ronni Bernstein.
In the Spotlight (Five Questions)
On the most fun part of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships ... "The most fun part of competing at the ITA Indoor Championships (besides being able to have some quality bonding time with my team) was being able to compete against some of the best teams in the nation. It is an honor to be part of the tournament and a great experience altogether. This weekend was a good indicator of the potential we have as a team."
On the biggest thing she learned from her freshman year ... "The one thing that I learned from my freshman year was how to maintain energy throughout my matches. That is something our coaches preach to us and after a year of college tennis, I have finally figured out what it means to have energy and how to maintain it. Energy and having good body language is crucial in tennis. It can have a big impact not only in your own match but can have an effect on your teammates."
On what makes college tennis different than juniors ... "The biggest difference I find between juniors and college tennis is the aspect of having a team. Tennis is a very individual sport, and the great thing about college is it gives a tennis player the chance to play for something other than his or herself. Being part of a team is something I certainly looked forward to, and I am so happy that I am able to be on this team here at Michigan."
On what she wants to do after graduation ... "When I graduate from the University of Michigan, I hope to go to law school. But as of right now I am not completely sure what exactly I would like to do in terms of a career. I do know, however, that I would like to follow in one of my parents' footsteps, whether that is a lawyer like my mother or run a business like my father. My siblings and I also have a pact that when we are all out of college, we will live in the same town together with our families."
On being a student-athlete at Michigan ... "Being a student-athlete at Michigan means upholding the great reputation of the leaders and best. It is an honor to be able to put on a Block M every day, whether it is during practice or a match. To be able to represent this university is something I have always wanted to do since I was little girl. And now that I am lucky enough to be a student-athlete here, I hope to maintain and pass on what it means to be a Wolverine."
Sunday, Feb. 24 -- vs. Texas (Varsity Tennis Center), 11 a.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 27 -- vs. Michigan State (Varsity Tennis Center), 3:30 p.m.