March 19, 2013
The No. 9-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (9-3, 1-0 Big Ten) plays a pair of Big Ten matches this weekend at Wisconsin (2-10, 0-1 Big Ten) on Saturday (March 23) and Minnesota (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) on Sunday (March 24). Both matches start at 11 a.m. CDT.
This weekend'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 stayed at No. 9 in this week's ITA rankings, marking its third straight week in the top 10. U-M entered the top 10 two weeks ago after a 4-3 win over then-No. 2 Duke (March 1).
The Wolverines are back on the court for the first time since a 4-2 win over San Diego on March 8. With rain in the forecast, the teams did not play doubles and started the match with singles play. Emina Bektas, Sarah Lee, Brooke Bolender and Mimi Nguyen all were victorious for the Maize and Blue against the Toreros.
With a 7-0 win over MSU on Feb. 28, U-M is now 49-3 in conference matches under head coach Ronni Bernstein.
U-M has won four consecutive matches, its longest winning streak this season. The Wolverines won three matches to start the year before falling in the first match of ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 8.
Michigan leads the all-time series against Wisconsin, 25-23. U-M has won eight straight over the Badgers, including a pair of 7-0 shutouts the past two seasons. UW enters weekend action with a 2-10 overall record and 0-1 Big Ten mark.
U-M has won nine consecutive matches over Minnesota and leads the all-time series with the Gophers, 24-15. Minnesota enters the weekend with a 7-6 record, including a 1-0 Big Ten record after knocking off Wisconsin (7-0). Former Wolverine Whitney Taney (2007-10), Michigan's all-time leader in doubles wins with 114, is in her second season at Minnesota. She was promoted to assistant coach after serving as the volunteer assistant in 2011-12.
Michigan will return to the VTC on March 30 to host Purdue at 11 a.m. The Wolverines have five home matches remaining on the schedule.
U-M is now 5-3 against top-25 competition this season. Michigan's next ranked opponent is No. 15 Notre Dame on March 27.
Michigan features three ranked singles players in sophomore Emina Bektas (No. 29), freshman Ronit Yurovsky (No. 33) and sophomore Sarah Lee (No. 80). On the doubles side, Bektas and junior Brooke Bolender are the No. 2 pair in the country, with Yurovsky and Lee ranking No. 49.
Michigan has won three consecutive doubles points after mixed results early in the season. U-M's teams of Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender at No. 1, Sarah Lee and Ronit Yurovsky and Sarah Lee at No. 2 and Amy Zhu and Mimi Nguyen at No. 3 seem to be the right combination, as Michigan has won all three doubles points with this combo.
With the ITA National Team Indoor Championships complete, college tennis is back to regular scoring in doubles. Prior to the national championships and at the tournament, teams were using no-ad scoring. Also, tiebreakers were used at 7-7, as opposed to 8-8.
Michigan has already had three players take home Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week honors this season in sophomore Sarah Lee, freshman Ronit Yurovsky and sophomore Emina Bektas. Yurovsky has won the award twice.
Senior Mimi Nguyen, limited this season so far in singles action, has moved into 11th place on the all-time singles win list with 84. With one more win, she will move into the top 10 and into a tie with Michelle Sulahian (2009-12) at No. 10.
The Wolverines welcome back five of their top singles players from last season in senior Mimi Nguyen, junior Brooke Bolender and the sophomore trio of Sarah Lee, Emina Bektas and Kristen Dodge. All five Wolverines recorded at least 23 singles victories, led by Lee and Bektas each totaling 32.
Brooke Bolender will serve as Michigan's team captain this season. It is her first season as captain and the first time since the 2009-10 season that U-M will be captained by a junior.
Senior Mimi Nguyen is the team's lone senior this season, marking the second straight season that Michigan has featured just one senior.
Since taking over the Wolverines in 2007-08, U-M is 55-5 at the Varsity Tennis Center under head coach Ronni Bernstein. In her sixth season at Michigan, Bernstein is 114-34 as the leader of the Wolverines.
The Wolverines are coming off their third straight Big Ten championship and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2012. U-M went 21-8 last season, finishing with a No. 14 ranking. It was also U-M's third consecutive 20-win season. Three of Michigan's five 20-win seasons have occurred under head coach Ronni Bernstein.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
On her favorite moment at Michigan ... "I've had so many great memories in my year and a half here with the team, but my favorite experience at Michigan so far has to be playing Duke a couple weeks ago. It got pretty intense towards the end, but once Ronit (Yurovsky) put that last point of the board, we were all so ecstatic. Duke is a great team, and our performance shows how hard we have been working and with a total team effort, we can really do some damage this season."
On enrolling early last year... "Last year was a great experience for me. I was able to get a feel of what the team college atmosphere was like without the pressures of actually playing. I also got to work a lot on my game and learn new things that I could add into my repertoire."
On the spring break trip ... "Spring break was really fun. The weather was pretty good. The sun was out, we could see the beach from our hotel room porch, we chilled in the pool and hot tub every day, we got to be outside without wearing our huge coats all the time and most importantly, the food was amazing, so life was pretty good. Also, all of our rooms connected so it was like we were all living in an extremely large hotel room. We couldn't ask for much more. I think the best part of the trip was getting Teryn's (Ashley-Fitch) two-year old daughter Abby to finally give me a hug. We all asked her to give us hugs, and I was the first person she chose. We're basically best friends now."
On her plans following graduation ... "My dream has always been to compete and play tennis professionally, but obviously that is a very hard route. But if that doesn't work out, I'm trying to apply for the Ross School of Business in a couple of weeks and, hopefully, I can do some kind of business in the tennis world."
On being a student-athlete at Michigan ... "Being a student-athlete at Michigan is a great honor and privilege. We know that every time we put on the block M, we are representing the Maize and Blue both academically and athletically. We work hard both in the classroom and in our sport, and that's what is expected. It's great to think that we have the chance here at Michigan to get a great education while pursuing a sport that we love and are devoted to. Go Blue!"
Wednesday, March 27 -- at Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.), 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 -- vs. Purdue (Varsity Tennis Center), 11 a.m.
Sunday, March 31 -- vs. Indiana (Varsity Tennis Center), 11 a.m.