Week #8: Michigan to Hit the Court Twice in the Lone Star State
MGOBLUE Michelle Sulahian
MGOBLUE
Michelle Sulahian
MGOBLUE

March 7, 2012

THIS WEEK
Friday, March 9 -- at No. 15 Texas A&M (College Station, Texas), noon CST
Live Video/Scoreboard
Sunday, March 11 -- at No. 9 Texas (Austin, Texas), 11 a.m. CST

The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (7-3) will conclude its extended road swing with a pair of weekend non-conference duals in the Lone Star State. On Friday (March 9), Michigan will face No. 15 Texas A&M at noon CST at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, before wrapping up the weekend on Sunday (March 11) with an 11 a.m. CST match against No. 9 Texas at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin.

A Look at Texas A&M -- The Aggies are 8-1 on the season with eight consecutive wins, including decisions over BYU (7-0) and South Florida (5-2) last weekend. They will host William & Mary on Tuesday (March 6) before facing the Wolverines. Texas A&M boasts three nationally ranked singles players, including No. 4 Cristina Sanchez-Quaintanar, who is 22-4 overall and 9-0 in dual competition. Michigan trails in the all-time series against Texas A&M, 1-2, but claimed the most-recent meeting, 6-1, in 2009.

A Look at Texas -- The Longhorns carry a 5-3 season record after beating Northwestern, 6-1, last Friday (March 2) in Austin. They will host two duals -- against William & Mary and SMU -- before welcoming the Wolverines. Texas has a pair of ranked singles players, most notably No. 30 Aeriel Ellis, who is 13-9 and 4-3 in duals. Michigan is 1-0 all-time against Texas, claiming the only previous meeting, 5-2, at the 2009 ITA Kick-Off.

Where We Rank -- The Wolverines fell a few spots to the No. 16 spot in the latest ITA rankings, released Tuesday (March 6), and boast four individual singles rankings and a pair of doubles rankings. Freshman Emina Bektas holds the No. 10 ranking, a drop from her previous No. 5 listing. Sophomores Brooke Bolender and Sam Critser check in at No. 57 and No. 75. On the doubles side, Michigan's duo of Bektas and Bolender shot up to No. 5 and junior Mimi Nguyen and senior Michelle Sulahian climbed to No. 48. [ ITA Rankings ]

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 played to completion.

Last Time Out -- Michigan swept the doubles competition and claimed three singles wins en route to a rain-shortened 4-1 decision at Hawaii last Friday (March 2) over its annual spring-break trip. The Wolverines earned quick singles wins from freshmen Sarah Lee and Kristen Dodge at the No. 4 and No. 6 positions, respectively, before junior Mimi Nguyen subsequently clinched with a 6-3, 6-3 decision at the No. 3 spot. The match was called when rain rolled in again after Nguyen's clinching victory. [ Full Recap ]

WOLVERINES BITES

Quick Hits

• Freshmen Emina Bektas and Sarah Lee boast perfect dual records. Lee is 9-0, while Bektas is 8-0.

• Bektas carries an 11-match win streak, covering every singles match of the 2012 calendar year. Included in her winning streak are six decisions over nationally ranked opposition. She has had two matches abandoned, including her most-recent outing at Hawai'i.

• The Wolverines' No. 1 doubles pairing of Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender own a six-match winning streak.

• Michigan swept the doubles competition for the second time this season against Hawai'i. U-M has claimed the doubles point in five of 10 dual matches, including each of the last two.

Fabulous Freshman -- Freshman Emina Bektas has won each of her last 11 appearances, earning six wins over ranked opponents, including five in the nation's top 20, over the stretch. Bektas, who owns an overall 10-3 record against ranked opponents this season, is the first freshman to play at the No. 1 singles position under Ronni Bernstein's tenure at Michigan. Her previous No. 5 listing in the ITA singles rankings marks the highest individual ranking for a Wolverine player in program history. Denise Muresan ended the 2010-11 season with the No. 6 listing.

Big Start in the Big Ten -- Adding its win at Michigan State in the Big Ten opener on Feb. 22, the Wolverines extended their Big Ten winning streak to 26 consecutive regular-season dual matches, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign. U-M boasted perfect 10-0 conference record in each of the last two seasons.

Climbing the Charts -- With her dual win at Michigan State, senior Michelle Sulahian improved to 79-42 in her collegiate singles career to claim sole possession of the 13th position among Michigan's all-time career win leaders. She needs one more win to reach the 12th spot, currently held by Danielle Lund (80, 1997-2000).

No. 2 to Tango -- The Wolverines dropped the nation's No. 2 singles player and No. 2 doubles pairing in their ITA National Indoors finale against Georgia. Freshman Emina Bektas knocked off the Bulldogs' Chelsey Gullickson, 6-2, 7-5, behind an early break in the first set and late break in the second. With the performance, she avenged an earlier-season loss to Gullickson, the 2010 NCAA singles champion and a three-time All-American. Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender also claimed an 8-5 victory over Georgia's pairing of Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist, the nation's No. 2 doubles team.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein is in her fifth year in Ann Arbor, compiling an 92-25 overall record and 39-2 Big Ten mark in her first four years. The Wolverines have strung together the best two-year span in program history during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, going 24-5 in both campaigns while winning two Big Ten championships. For her efforts, Bernstein has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and ITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in both seasons. Teryn Ashley-Fitch is in her sixth year at Michigan and was promoted to associate head coach last summer after earning ITA Midwest Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2010.

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UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Sunday, March 18 -- vs. North Carolina (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Wednesday, March 21 -- vs. Notre Dame (Varsity Tennis Center), 4 p.m.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

   

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