March 4, 2014
Wednesday, March 5 -- at UNLV (Las Vegas, Nev.), 10 a.m. PST
Saturday, March 8 -- at Texas (Austin, Texas), Noon CST
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The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team will play its first outdoor matches of the season this weekend as part of its annual spring break trip. U-M will first face UNLV on Wednesday (March 4) at 10:30 a.m. PST before wrapping up the trip at No. 26 Texas on Saturday (March 8) at noon CST. It is the first time Michigan will play two matches in a week since the Wolverines played three in three days at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship (Feb. 7-9).
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. Singles matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.
Michigan will play outdoors for the first time this season this week, playing in Las Vegas and Austin, Texas. All eight of Michigan's matches up to this point have been played indoors.
In addition to the week's two matches, Michigan will use the week off from classes as a chance to practice outdoors and train in better weather than in Michigan. U-M went to San Diego last season for its spring break trip.
UNLV enters Wednesday's (March 5) match with a 5-4 record after back-to-back wins over Utah State and Loyola Marymount. It will be the first time Michigan and UNLV have faced each other.
Texas (4-7) and Michigan are facing each other for the third straight season and the fifth time in program history. U-M knocked off the Longhorns, 5-2, at the VTC last season after sweeping all three doubles matches and winning the last three matches off court. Texas features No. 16 Breaunna Addison, No. 76 Ratnika Bantra and No. 106 Elizabeth Begley. Addison teams up with Pippa Horn to form the No. 40-ranked doubles pair in the country.
This week's matches are just the second and third true road matches for U-M this season. Michigan is 1-0 on the road, defeating Tennessee, 6-1, in Knoxville on Feb. 2.
The Maize and Blue shut out Western Michigan, 7-0, in its last action on Feb. 22. The win marked head coach Ronni Bernstein's 300th career win. Following the match, the Wolverines threw Bernstein a surprise party to commemorate the milestone.
Michigan's 7-0 win against Western Michigan was its second shutout of the season and first 7-0 decision of the year. U-M blanked Yale, 4-0, in the ITA Kick-Off (Jan. 26) for its other shutout.
Michigan is close to finishing the non-conference schedule, with just three opponents remaining before Big Ten play starts. After this week's matches, U-M will host Virginia on March 14 for its non-conference finale. The Wolverines kick off Big Ten action on March 16 at Michigan State.
Ronit Yurovsky (3-0), Emina Bektas (8-0), Brooke Bolender (4-0), Annie Wierda (1-0) and Laura Ucros (1-0) are all undefeated in singles action during dual match play.
Freshman Annie Wierda picked up her first dual-match win against Western Michigan when her opponent defaulted in the second set. Eight of the nine Wolverines on the roster have won at least one singles dual match.
Emina Bektas has won 10 straight matches and sports a perfect 8-0 mark in dual matches at the No. 1 spot. She has not lost since dropping a match to No. 7 Hayley Carter of North Carolina on Nov. 8 at the ITA National Indoor Championships. She has already been named Big Ten Athlete of the Week twice this season.
Michigan has used five different doubles lineups in dual-match action, with three different combinations coming at No. 3. Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender have played all eight matches at No. 1, with Sarah Lee and Amy Zhu playing all eight at No. 2. At No. 3, Kristen Dodge has been paired with Ronit Yurovsky and Laura Ucros. Ucros and Yurovsky played together in Michigan's last three matches at No. 3, winning both matches.
U-M won't return to the Varsity Tennis Center until hosting Virginia on March 14.
With one more singles win, senior Brooke Bolender will become the fourth Wolverine in program history to eclipse 100 career wins. Denise Muresan (2008-11) set the standard with 111 during a four-year career. Bolender is also in striking distance of Whitney Taney's (2008-11) career doubles win mark of 114. Bolender currently has 109 doubles wins, making her the third U-M player with at least 100 doubles wins.
The Wolverines have won six doubles points on the season, going 6-0 when winning the match's first point.
Michigan features four ranked singles players in Emina Bektas (No. 13), Ronit Yurovsky (No. 20), Sarah Lee (No. 99) and Brooke Bolender (No. 125). On the doubles side, Bektas and Bolender come in at No. 1, Yurovsky and Lee are No. 21 and Lee and Amy Zhu are No. 53.
Michigan comes in at No. 13 as a team in this week's edition of the ITA Rankings, the first time a computer was used for the rankings.
Brooke Bolender and Kristen Dodge will serve as Michigan's team captains this season. Bolender was named captain for the second straight season and Dodge is in her first year as a captain. It is the first time since the 2010-11 season that U-M has two captains.
Senior Brooke Bolender is the team's lone senior this season, marking the third straight year that Michigan has featured just one senior.
Since taking over the Wolverines in 2007-08, U-M is 71-7 at the Varsity Tennis Center under head coach Ronni Bernstein. In her seventh season at Michigan this year, Bernstein is 135-39 as the leader of the Wolverines.
The Wolverines are coming off their fourth straight Big Ten championship and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2013. U-M went 23-6 last season, finishing with a No. 10 ranking. It was also U-M's fourth consecutive 20-win season. Four of Michigan's six 20-win seasons have occurred under head coach Ronni Bernstein.
Friday, March 14 -- vs. Virginia (Varsity Tennis Center), 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 16 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 2 p.m.