Weekly #7: Michigan to Open Big Ten Slate Hosting Michigan State

Feb. 22, 2011

Friday, Feb. 25
-- vs. Michigan State (Varsity Tennis Center), 5 p.m.
Live Video/Scoreboard

The No. 5-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (8-1) opens up Big Ten play this week, hosting in-state rival Michigan State (7-1) on Friday (Feb. 25) at 5 p.m. inside the Varsity Tennis Center. Michigan has won nine in a row against the Spartans, including a 7-0 win in East Lansing last season.

Friday is Michigan Student Fan Group Appreciation Day as members of the Maize Rage, Maize Mob, Zone, Ultras and Children of Yost will receive free pizza while supplies last. There will also be free pizza for all intramural tennis participants who come to cheer on the Wolverines. Also, all fans can enter to win a gift card from the MDen.


Big Ten Opener For the Defending Champs -- Friday's match against Michigan State marks the beginning of Big Ten action for the Wolverines, who won the 2010 Big Ten championship with a perfect 10-0 record in conference play. Since fourth-year head coach Ronni Bernstein took over in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines are 28-2 in Big Ten action. U-M went 50-10 in singles last season, led by sophomore Mimi Nguyen's (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) 10-0 mark and senior Denise Muresan's (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) 9-1 record. The Wolverines won all 10 doubles points last season en route to a 28-2 doubles record during conference play.

Looking for 4-0 Against the Spartans -- The senior class has never lost to Michigan State and has only yielded one point to the Spartans during its tenure. In fact, the only Big Ten team the senior class of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina), Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) and Kari Wig (Cochrane, Alberta/Cochrane) has lost to is Northwestern.

A Look at Michigan State -- The Spartans enter Friday's match with a 7-1 record, with their only loss coming to Akron. MSU has not left the state of Michigan in 2011, playing all but one match at home. Michigan leads the all-time series, 42-17, winning the past nine matches. U-M kicked off Big Ten action last season against the Spartans, coming away with a 7-0 victory in East Lansing. MSU features the No. 60-ranked doubles team of Amy Barton and Marina Bohrer.

2-1 at the ITA Indoor Championship Again -- The Wolverines advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship (Feb. 18-20) for the first time ever. U-M knocked off No. 13 Georgia Tech, 4-1, in the opening round before falling to top-ranked and eventual tournament champion Stanford, 4-1, as one of only two teams to score against the Cardinal. The Maize and Blue rebounded for a 4-2 victory over No. 12 Clemson on the final day. It was the second straight year the Wolverines came away from the tournament with a 2-1 record, pushing their overall record at the tournament to 4-2.

Doubles Make a Statement -- Michigan won all three doubles points at the indoor championship, compiling a perfect 6-0 record on the weekend. The Wolverines took the first two doubles matches in all three matches, grabbing the early lead against No. 13 Georgia Tech, No. 1 Stanford and No. 12 Clemson. Freshman Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan) and Denise Muresan went 3-0 at the top spot for the Wolverines, knocking off three ranked teams, including the No. 2 and No. 3 pairs in the country. Against No. 1 Stanford, Bolender and Muresan defeated No. 3 Hilary Barte and Mallory Bardette, 8-3, before defeating No. 12 Clemson's No. 2-ranked pair of Josipa Bek and Keri Wong, 8-2. Rounding out the U-M duo's wins was an 8-4 victory over No. 70 Sasha Krupina and Elizabeth Kilborn of GT.

Déjà vu at the Championship -- For the second straight year, Michigan and Clemson squared off against one another at the ITA National Indoor Championship in the final match of the weekend. Last season, U-M defeated the Tigers by a 5-2 score before running the win streak over Clemson to two with a 4-2 win on Sunday. In both matches, the Wolverines scored the doubles point and Denise Muresan knocked off Josipa Bek at the top spot. In both 2010 and 2011, Clemson was Michigan's sixth top-25 ranked opponent of the season.

More About the Doubles -- The Wolverines have won the doubles point in eight-of-nine matches this season, racking up a 21-2 dual-match record in doubles play. Both of Michigan's losses on the doubles court came to No. 18 Southern California, the only time U-M failed to secure the first point of the match. The Wolverines are 7-1 when scoring the first point of the match.

Beating the Best -- Michigan is 5-1 this season against top-25 competition, defeating No. 12 Clemson, No. 13 Notre Dame, No. 13 Vanderbilt, No. 18 Vanderbilt and No. 18 Southern California while only falling to No. 1-ranked and defending NCAA champion Stanford.

The View From Up Here is Nice -- In its nine matches this season, Michigan has only trailed in two of them. U-M dropped the first point of the match to No. 18 Southern California before scoring the first two points in singles play en route to the 5-2 win. The only other time Michigan has trailed this season came against No. 1 Stanford, falling behind 2-1 before dropping the next two singles matches in the 4-1 defeat. U-M has outscored its opposition, 43-15, this season.

Moving Up in the Rankings -- Michigan jumped into the top five in this week's ITA rankings, moving from No. 8 to No. 5 after its 2-1 record at the ITA Indoor Championship. Individually, senior Denise Muresan 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. Brooke Bolender and Mimi Nguyen 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.

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 last week (Feb. 15) 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.

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 34-2 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 95 in her career. The senior All-American is 95-42 in her career, tying her with Jaimie Fielding (1992-95) at the No. 3 spot on the all-time list. Her .693 career winning percentage is the fifth-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 match 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

Seven to 500 -- The Wolverines need seven more 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 493-323, good for a .604 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.

Wednesday, March 2
-- at Miami (Coral Gables, Fla.), 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 5
-- at Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.), 11 a.m.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423