Weekly #6: U-M to Play At Least Three at ITA Indoor National Championships

Feb. 15, 2011

ITA Indoor National Championships
(ITA Tournament Central)
Friday, Feb. 18
-- vs. No. 13 Georgia Tech (Charlottesville, Va.), 7:30 p.m.
Live Scoring
Saturday, Feb. 19 -- vs. Opponent TBD, Time TBD
Sunday, Feb. 20 -- vs. Opponent TBD, Time TBD
Monday, Feb. 21 -- vs. Opponent TBD*, Time TBD
* each team is guaranteed three matches, with two playing a fourth in the championship Feb. 21.

The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (6-0) received the No. 8 seed and will head to Charlottesville, Va., for their second consecutive appearance in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. First up for Michigan is No. 13 Georgia Tech on Friday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Each team is guaranteed three matches, and the two schools that make it to the championship match will play four total matches.


Indoor Championships Again -- For the second straight year, the Wolverines qualified for the ITA Indoor Championships by winning their ITA Kick-Off. U-M knocked off Auburn (7-0) and No. 18 Southern California (5-2) at the Varsity Tennis Center, Jan. 29-30, to advance to the national tournament. Michigan, which received the No. 8 seed, is making its second-ever appearance at ITAs and has a 2-1 record at the tournament. Last season, U-M fell to No. 4 Florida (5-2) in the opening match before bouncing back for a 4-3 win over No. 6 Miami and a 5-2 victory over No. 14 Clemson.

A Look at No. 13 Georgia Tech -- Georgia Tech comes to the championship with a 4-1 overall record, only falling to No. 16 Georgia. Both teams squared off in the final tournament action of the 2010-11 season at the Michigan Invitational, with the Wolverines going 2-2 in doubles and 4-4 in singles against the Yellow Jackets. GT features three ranked singles players, led by No. 61 Jillian O'Neill. Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 1-0, defeating Michigan (4-2) in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament.

Knocking Off Two Ranked Opponents -- Michigan continued its perfect start to the season with a pair of 4-3 victories this past week over No. 13 Notre Dame (Feb. 10) and No. 18 Vanderbilt (Feb. 13). Senior Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) was the lone Wolverine to go unbeaten over the two-match stretch, as she provided the deciding point against the Commodores. U-M swept all six doubles matches to win both doubles points and moved its record against top-25 teams to 3-0.

Not Like the First Time...Part Two -- In the past two weeks, Michigan has avenged its only 7-0 losses during the Ronni Bernstein era. U-M dropped a pair of 7-0 decisions to Kentucky and Vanderbilt to start the 2008 season, Bernstein's first as head coach. U-M blanked Kentucky, 7-0, on Feb. 5, before knocking off No. 18 Vanderbilt, 4-3, on Feb. 13.

Moving Up in the Rankings -- Michigan stayed at No. 8 as a team in the latest version of the ITA rankings, but five Wolverines received singles rankings. Senior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) moved into the top 10 for the first time in her career, grabbing the No. 8 spot. Freshman Sam Critser (Mountainview, Calif./Mountainview) jumped from No. 105 to No. 34, while Whitney Taney is No. 71. Freshman Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan) and sophomore Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) both moved into the rankings for the first time in their careers, coming in at No. 104 and No. 123, respectively. Bolender and Muresan are also ranked No. 22 as a doubles pair.

Best Start Under Bernstein -- With their 6-0 record, the Wolverines are off to their best start under fourth-year head coach Ronni Bernstein. The 2010 squad started 4-0 before dropping its next two matches to move to 4-2, the previous best. U-M is also off to its best start since 2004 when the Wolverines opened 7-0.

Perfection in Dual Matches -- The Wolverines feature two players with perfect records in singles and two doubles teams that remain unbeaten since starting dual-match play. Whitney Taney is 5-0, with Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall School) sporting a 2-0 record. Denise Muresan and Brooke Bolender carry a 6-0 doubles record and Sulahian has paired with Tatsuno for a 2-0 mark.

Keep the Awards Coming! -- Whitney Taney became the third Wolverine to garner Big Ten Athlete of the Week in 2011 when she won the award this week after helping U-M to wins over No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 18 Vanderbilt. Sam Critser and Denise Muresan have also earned the distinction this season, as U-M has won three of the five awarded. Of the nine Wolverines, six have earned the weekly award at some point during their career.

TV Time -- Michigan's 4-3 win over Vanderbilt will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network on Sunday (Feb. 20) at 11 a.m. EST.
[ Release ]

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

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 36-2 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 94 in her career. The senior All-American is 94-41 in her career, tying her with Tania Mahtani (2007-10) at the No. 5 spot on the all-time list. Her .696 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 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 abandoned at the ITA Championships.

Nine to 500 -- The Wolverines need nine 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 491-322, 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.

Friday, Feb. 25 -- vs. Michigan State (Varsity Tennis Center), 5 p.m.
Wednesday, March 2 -- at Miami (Miami, Fla.), 2 p.m.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423