Weekly Release #9: U-M Looks to Extend Win Streak With Two Big Ten Foes

March 22, 2010

Saturday, March 27 -- at #18 Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), 11 a.m. CDT
Sunday, March 28 -- at Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.), Noon CDT
Live Results

The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (11-3), which is riding a five-match win streak, remains on the road this weekend for a pair of Big Ten Conference matches. First up is a trip to the University of Iowa to take on the No. 18-ranked Hawkeyes (10-2, 0-1 Big Ten) on Saturday (March 27) at 11 a.m. CDT. U-M will then head north to Minneapolis, Minn., for a Sunday (March 28) matchup with No. 57 Minnesota (8-6, 1-0 Big Ten).

7-0 at State -- U-M picked up its fifth consecutive win with a 7-0 shutout win over Michigan State (Saturday, March 20) to kick off Big Ten Conference action. The Wolverines won all nine matches on the afternoon to improve to 42-17 all-time versus the Spartans.

Five in a Row -- The Wolverines have won five matches in a row, not having lost a match since a 5-2 setback at No. 6 Duke (Feb. 20). It is the second winning streak of at least four matches this season, as U-M started the campaign with a 4-0 mark. The longest-ever winning streak for the Wolverines was a 16-match tear during the 2008 season. The Maize and Blue did not drop a match from Feb. 22 through April 26 during Ronni Bernstein's first year at the helm.

Wig Gets in the Lineup -- Junior Kari Wig (Cochrane, Alberta/Cochrane) made her 2010 dual-match season debut at Michigan State last weekend, playing at No. 6 singles. The junior made the most of her opportunity, picking up a 6-1, 6-2 win over Christine Milliken. Wig, who had not seen court action since the Michigan Invitational (Jan. 16-18), has won her last five singles matches.

Streaking -- In addition to the team's winning streak, the Wolverines have been hot as individuals. Freshman Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) has won her last six dual matches, with her last defeat coming when she retired against No. 14 Clemson (Feb. 14) after the Wolverines had already clinched the upset win. Junior Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) is on a five-match winning streak, while sophomore Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall School) has won four in a row. The doubles pairing of junior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) and Tania Mahtani (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) has won five in a row since moving to the No. 3 slot.

MY Turn to Go Home -- After the four California natives on the team -- Tania Mahtani, Mimi Nguyen, Michelle Sulahian and Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) -- got to spend a week at home over U-M's spring break trip to the Golden State, it is now Whitney Taney's chance to go home. The junior from Edina, Minn., will be playing in her home state for the second time in her Michigan career. In a 2008 matchup at Minnesota (March 30), Taney paired with Denise Muresan at No. 2 doubles for an 8-4 win while winning (6-3, 6-0) at No. 2 singles as the Wolverines posted a 7-0 sweep of the Golden Gophers. Edina is about 10 miles away from Minneapolis.

Three in Doubles --The Wolverines feature three players that have already reached the double-digit win plateau in dual matches. Mimi Nguyen leads the way with a 12-2 record through the first 14 matches. Michelle Sulahian is 10-2, while Whitney Taney is 11-3. Denise Muresan (9-5) is one win away from joining the trio in the double-digit win club.

Accomplishing BIG Things -- The Wolverines have had quite a start to the 2010 season. So far this season, U-M has garnered its highest ranking in program history (No. 6), defeated a top-10 team for the first time ever (No. 6 Miami) and followed that up with its first win over a top-five opponent (No. 5 Baylor). The 11-3 start is the best start since Michigan opened the 2004 dual-match season with a 12-1 record.

Bernstein Against the Big Ten - Since taking over in Ann Arbor in the fall of 2007, head coach Ronni Bernstein is 19-2 against Big Ten opposition. The only team that Bernstein's Wolverines have not defeated has been Northwestern, which was ranked No. 1 in 2009 and No. 2 in 2008. The third-year head coach is perfect against the other nine schools.

On the Road -- The Wolverines are in the midst of a seven-match road swing. After matches at Loyola Marymount (March 3) and No. 37 Pepperdine (March 5) three weeks ago, U-M is now back in the Midwest for Big Ten play. Michigan kicked off conference action with a win at Michigan State (March 20) before heading to Iowa (March 27), Minnesota (March 28), Northwestern (April 3) and Wisconsin (April 4). On the year, Michigan sports a 3-1 road record, having also played four neutral site matches.

Doubles Success -- The Wolverines have won the doubles point in all but one match this season (vs. No. 4 Florida). When starting off with the one-point advantage heading into singles play, U-M is 11-2. The pairing of Mimi Nguyen and Michelle Sulahian and the duo of Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno are both 11-2.

Michigan in the Rankings -- The Wolverines are currently ranked No. 6 as a team with junior Denise Muresan garnering the only singles ranking (No. 26).

Playing the Best -- Through the first 14 matches of the year, U-M has faced 10 ranked opponents, including eight top-25 foes. Michigan has gone 7-3 in those matches, falling to No. 4 Florida (5-2), No. 6 Duke (5-2) and No. 13 Notre Dame (4-3). The Maize and Blue has knocked off No. 5 Baylor (4-3), No. 6 Miami (4-3), No. 14 Clemson (5-2), No. 16 South Carolina (4-3), No. 18 Arkansas (5-2), No. 32 TCU (4-3) and No. 35 Pepperdine (6-1).

About the Opponents
No. 18 Iowa -- The Hawkeyes, ranked No. 25, are 10-2 (0-1 Big Ten) on the season with losses to Notre Dame (6-1) and Minnesota (6-1). Iowa has won five straight with its last win a 4-3 decision over No. 33 Tulsa. Sophomore Sonja Molnar is the only Hawkeye ranked nationally, carrying a No. 74 ranking. Molnar also pairs with senior Merel Beelen to form the No. 23 doubles duo. Iowa started the season unranked but has steadily climbed in the rankings to No. 18, using an upset over No. 24 DePaul and a pair of five-match win streaks to garner national attention. U-M is 26-11 all-time against Iowa and has won the last five matches against the Hawkeyes.

No. 54 Minnesota -- The Golden Gophers will play host to Michigan State before welcoming the Wolverines to the Baseline Tennis Center. Minnesota (8-6, 1-0 Big Ten) has lost two straight heading into the weekend, a pair of 4-3 losses to Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State. Alessandra Ferrazzi (9-3) and Magdalena Wiecha (9-4) lead the way for Minnesota in singles action, while the Gophers have used 10 different doubles combinations on the year. Michigan leads the all-time series 20-15 over Minnesota, winning the last six matchups.

Dual Match Format -- 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. Matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.

Bernstein and the Shutout -- In her third season now at Michigan, head coach Ronni Bernstein's teams have shut out opponents 20 times after 7-0 blankings of Western Michigan (Jan. 24), Syracuse (Feb. 6), Loyola Marymount (March 3) and Michigan State (March 20). The Wolverines have earned a 7-0 shutout 16 times and a 4-0 shutout three times. The 4-0 decision comes in postseason play, when matches in progress are abandoned after the dual match is clinched.

Oh Captain! -- Junior Whitney Taney was voted by her teammates as the captain of the 2009-10 Wolverines. Taney was Michigan's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree last season, in addition to being named an ITA Scholar Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten. Every other Wednesday during the 2010 season, Taney will give a glimpse into the women's tennis team in her blog, Serving It Up.

From Afar -- Out of the eight athletes on the tennis team, not one of them is a native of Michigan. Four hail from California with Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas and Canada each producing one student-athlete. The only other varsity team at the University of Michigan that is full of non-Michiganders is, coincidentally, the men's tennis team.

Duo Signs to Join Wolverines -- Brooke Bolender, a Blue Chip recruit, along with five-star recruit Samantha Critser will join the Wolverines for the 2010-11 season. Together, the two make up the No. 6 recruiting class in the country. [ Release

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein enters her third season at the helm of Michigan women's tennis. In her first two seasons in Ann Arbor, Bernstein has compiled an impressive record of 37-13 with an 18-2 Big Ten Conference mark. She has led the Wolverines to postseason play in both seasons.

A Look Back at 2009 -- The Wolverines ended the 2009 dual-match season with an 18-7 overall record to go along with a 9-1 mark in Big Ten action. U-M concluded the season with a No. 18 ITA national team ranking, improving on the No. 19 finish in 2008. U-M made it to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive season before bowing to No. 5 Notre Dame in the second round. Chisako Sugiyama became the program's leader in all-time singles wins, eventually ending her career with 104 victories while earning All-Big Ten honors for the third consecutive season. Sugiyama completed her senior season with a No. 69 ITA national ranking. Rika Tatsuno earned All-Big Ten laurels for the first time in her career, ending the season ranked No. 102.

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.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, 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. 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. [ Check out both in our new publications section! ]

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. Just this past summer, outdoor chair back seating was added overlooking six of the outdoor courts.

Saturday, April 3
-- at Northwestern (Evanston, Ill.), 11 a.m. CDT
Sunday, April 4 -- at Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.), 11 a.m. CDT