March 11, 2014
Friday, March 14 -- vs. No. 5 Virginia (Varsity Tennis Center), 3:30 p.m.
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Sunday, March 16 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 2 p.m.
The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (8-2) wraps up the non-conference portion of the season on Friday (March 14), hosting No. 5 Virginia (9-3) at 3:30 p.m. U-M then starts its quest for a fifth straight Big Ten championship on Sunday (March 16), traveling to East Lansing to take on Michigan State (12-2) at 2 p.m.
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 returns home to the Varsity Tennis Center after three weeks away to host No. 5 Virginia on Friday afternoon (March 14) at 3:30 p.m. Virginia is Michigan's highest ranked opponent so far this season and its second top-10 opponent. U-M is 1-0 against top-10 teams, knocking off then-No. 9 Miami at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship on Feb. 9.
The Wolverines kick off Big Ten action on Sunday (March 16), taking on Michigan State in East Lansing. U-M is looking for its fifth straight Big Ten championship this year. In the past four years, the Maize and Blue has gone 40-2 in conference matches. Since head coach Ronni Bernstein took over before the 2007-08 season, Michigan is 58-4 in Big Ten action.
No. 5 Virginia (9-3) will play at Georgia prior to coming to Ann Arbor on Friday. The Cavaliers feature four ranked singles players in No. 4 Julia Elbaba, No. 42 Stephanie Nauta, No. 47 Rachel Pierson and No. No. 58 Danielle Collins. Pierson and Elbaba team up as the No. 9-ranked doubles pair, with Nauta and Maci Epstein coming in at No. 41. Michigan knocked off Virginia last season in consolation action at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, 4-2. The all-time series between the two schools is tied at 1-1.
Virginia's trip to Ann Arbor marks the second straight season that a top-five opponent has come to the VTC. Last season, U-M knocked off No. 2 Duke (4-3), marking the highest ranked opponent Michigan has ever defeated.
Michigan State (12-2) has won five matches in a row heading into Sunday's conference opener. The Spartans do not feature any ranked singles players or doubles teams. Michigan is 45-17 all-time against MSU and has won 12 in a row against the Spartans. The last time U-M went to East Lansing, the Wolverines came away with a 7-0 win (Feb. 22, 2011).
Michigan is 4-0 at the VTC this season, only dropping two singles matches and winning all four doubles points at home.
U-M went 2-0 during its spring break trip to Las Vegas and Texas, shutting out both UNLV and No. 24 Texas. Michigan also played outdoors for the first time all season during its time out west.
In dual match play, Michigan sports a 43-10 singles mark. In its last five matches, U-M has dropped just two singles matches (No. 9 Miami, No. 22 Notre Dame, Western Michigan, UNLV, No. 24 Texas).
The Wolverines have recorded three straight 7-0 wins for a total of four shutout wins this season (4-0 vs. Yale).
Emina Bektas has won 12 straight singles matches and sports a perfect 10-0 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. Bektas already has 82 career wins, which ranks 13th all-time at U-M.
Seven of the nine Wolverines on the roster carry current winning streaks of three matches or more.
The top of the lineup has been effective for Michigan, with the Wolverines totaling a 19-1 record at No. 1 and No. 2 singles through 10 matches.
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 10 matches at No. 1, with Sarah Lee and Amy Zhu playing all 10 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 five matches at No. 3 and have not dropped a match in dual action.
The Wolverines have won eight doubles points on the season, going 8-0 when winning the match's first point.
Michigan features four ranked singles players in Emina Bektas (No. 7), Ronit Yurovsky (No. 20), Brooke Bolender (No. 98) and Sarah Lee (No. 103). On the doubles side, Bektas and Bolender come in at No. 18, Yurovsky and Lee are No. 45 and Lee and Amy Zhu are No. 75.
Michigan comes in at No. 13 as a team in this week's edition of the ITA 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 137-39 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 21 -- vs. Ohio State (Varsity Tennis Center), 3 p.m.
Sunday, March 23 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.) 11 a.m.