Weekly Release #6: Michigan Returns Home for a Pair of Weekday Matches

Feb. 22, 2010

Wednesday, Feb. 24 -- vs. No. 32 TCU (Varsity Tennis Center), 6 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 26 -- vs. No. 5 Baylor (Varsity Tennis Center), 6 p.m.
Live Results/Video

With the second-highest ranking in program history, the No. 8-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (6-3) returns home to the Varsity Tennis Center for a pair of weekday matches. First up for U-M is No. 32 TCU (1-4) on Wednesday (Feb. 24) at 6 p.m. Michigan will then play its second top-five opponent of the season in No. 5 Baylor (6-1) on Friday (Feb. 26) at 6 p.m.

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.

Wednesday, Feb. 24 -- vs. TCU, 6 p.m.
Campus Night -- Whether you are a first-year undergrad or a seasoned PhD student, Michigan women's tennis invites you to the Varsity Tennis Center for a special evening of student-only prizes and giveaways!

Alumni Association Day -- Members of the University of Michigan Alumni Association are invited to cheer on Michigan tennis. Remember your roots, Go Blue!

Friday, Feb. 26 -- vs. Baylor, 6 p.m.
High School Team Night -- Local high school women's tennis teams are invited to attend this exciting Friday evening match.

Faculty/Staff/Professor Night -- Want to see your professor in jeans? U-M faculty and staff are invited and will be recognized during intermission.

U of M Camper Reunion -- All current and former Michigan women's tennis campers are invited to cheer on the Wolverines as they take on the Baylor Bears.


Highest Ranking in Program History -- After a 2-1 weekend at the ITA Indoors (Feb. 12-15) with wins over No. 6 Miami and No. 14 Clemson, Michigan shot up to No. 7 in the ITA rankings after spending three weeks at No. 16. It was the highest ranking in the history of the program and the first time the Wolverines have ever been ranked in the top 10. The highest U-M had ever been previously ranked was No. 16. After a tough loss at No. 6 Duke (Feb. 20), U-M fell one spot to No. 8 in the Feb. 23 edition of the rankings. the Junior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) moved up to No. 16 in singles after going 6-2 in the first eight matches. She began the season at No. 36.

Coming Up Just Short at No. 6 Duke -- In only their second true road contest and first outdoor match of the season, the Wolverines dropped a close 5-2 match at No. 6 Duke. U-M won the doubles point and split the first two singles matches to take an early 2-1 lead. Duke, the defending national champion, then won the last four singles matches to take the team match. Moving up to No. 1 doubles for the first time this season, juniors Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) and Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) ran their dual-match record to 8-1, while freshman Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) and sophomore Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall School) did the same with a win at the No. 3 position. Nguyen was the lone Wolverine to win a singles match, defeating No. 73 Monica Gorny (6-1, 6-2) at No. 5.

Playing the Best -- Through the first nine matches of the year, U-M has faced seven top-25 opponents -- all higher ranked the Wolverines. Michigan has gone 4-3 in those matches, falling to No. 4 Florida (5-2), No. 6 Duke (5-2) and No. 13 Notre Dame (4-3). The Maize and Blue has knocked off No. 6 Miami (4-3), No. 14 Clemson (5-2), No. 16 South Carolina (4-3) and No. 18 Arkansas (5-2). The tough schedule continues this week, as Michigan hosts No. 27 TCU (Feb. 24) and No. 5 Baylor (Feb. 26).

Stepping Up -- Even though the Wolverines feature five upperclassmen, U-M only returned two players that had experience at No. 1 singles. Senior Tania Mahtani (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) lost her only match at No. 1, while Rika Tatsuno was 4-4 in eight matches at the top spot. After Denise Muresan went 15-5 in tournament action to earn a No. 36 singles ranking to begin the year, she has stepped into the No. 1 spot and has performed well. Through nine matches, the junior is 6-3 with wins over No. 9 Josipa Bek of Clemson, No. 15 Lauren Embree of Florida and No. 38 Ana Zubori of South Carolina.

Stepping Up Part Two -- The same can be said about the younger part of the Wolverine team as Mimi Nguyen and Michelle Sulahian have solidified the bottom of the lineup. Nguyen, 7-2 on the year, saved a match point in the second set before going on to defeat No. 93 Gabriela Mejia and clinch the upset win over No. 6 Miami (Feb. 13). Sulahian has a 6-2 record and won her first five matches before dropping a three-set decision to Florida's Claire Bartlett. The diminutive duo, both listed at 5-4, has also has combined for an 8-1 mark in doubles, helping Michigan win all but one doubles point this season.

See You in April! -- After this week's action, Michigan will hit the road for seven consecutive matches before returning to the Varsity Tennis Center on April 10. U-M will head out west to California for matches at Loyola Marymount (March 3) and Pepperdine (March 5) before returning to the Midwest to kick off Big Ten action at Michigan State (March 20). During the seven-match road swing, U-M will also travel to Iowa (March 27), Minnesota (March 28), Northwestern (April 3) and Wisconsin (March 4).

About the Opponents
No. 27 TCU -- TCU (1-4) enters the match coming off a 5-2 loss to No. 18 Arkansas. The Lady Frogs have played ranked opponents in all five matches, picking up their lone win against No. 30 Texas (4-3). No. 56 Katariina Tuohimaa is the only Lady Frog to feature a winning record, going 3-2 in dual matches at the No. 3 spot. TCU won the first two doubles points of the season before dropping the point in its last three matches. The Lady Frogs lead the all-time series with U-M, 2-1, but the Wolverines defeated TCU (4-3) last season in Fort Worth, Texas.

No. 5 Baylor -- Michigan and Baylor meet for the second consecutive season, with the Bears winning the only matchup between the two schools, 5-2, at Baylor (March 6). Baylor, coming off a 6-1 win over No. 35 Pepperdine, is 6-1 on the year and ranked No. 5 in the latest ITA rankings. The Bears feature five ranked singles players, led by No. 9 and undefeated Lenka Broosova. The doubles pairing of Csilla Borsanyi and Broosova is ranked No. 12 in the country with a 5-1 mark.

Dual Match Format -- This week's dual matches 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. Matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.

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 96-37 (.722) all-time record at the Varsity Tennis Center in its 13-plus seasons. Including the two matches this week, the Wolverines have six home matches remaining on the schedule to reach the 100-win plateau in 2010. The Maize and Blue has won 45 of the last 53 dual matches at the VTC, dating back to the 2005 season. Michigan has dropped only two contests in head coach Ronni Bernstein's tenure, a 6-1 loss to then-No. 1 Northwestern and a 4-3 decision to then-No. 13 Notre Dame.

Bernstein and the Shutout -- In her third season now at Michigan, head coach Ronni Bernstein's teams have shut out opponents 18 times after 7-0 blankings of Western Michigan (Jan. 24) and Syracuse (Feb. 6). The Wolverines have earned a 7-0 shutout 15 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.

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. Every other 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.

Wednesday, March 3
-- at Loyola Marymount (Los Angeles, Calif.), 1:30 p.m. PST
Friday, March 5 -- vs. Pepperdine (Malibu, Calif.), 1:30 p.m. PST