Weekly Release #10: U-M Gears Up for No. 4 Northwestern, Wisconsin

March 30, 2010

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

The No. 8-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (13-3, 3-0 Big Ten) heads Evanston, Ill., to take on No. 4 Northwestern (13-3, 4-0 Big Ten) for a top-10 showdown with the Wildcats on Saturday (April 3) at 11 a.m. CDT. U-M will then head north to take on Wisconsin (5-11, 0-3 Big Ten) to end the seven-match road swing on Sunday (April 4) at 11 a.m. CDT in Madison, Wis.


Showdown with Northwestern -- The rematch of last season's Big Ten title match takes place this weekend in Evanston, Ill., with the Wolverines putting their seven-match winning streak on the line. Northwestern and Michigan have been atop the conference for the recent past, with the two teams facing off for the Big Ten title the past five seasons.

First Top 10 Battle for U-M in Big Ten Action -- In a season of firsts for the Wolverines, this weekend adds another one to the list. Michigan will square off in a battle of top-10 Big Ten teams when the No. 8 Wolverines head to No. 4 Northwestern. Already this season, U-M has earned its highest ITA ranking (No. 6), beaten a top-10 team (No. 6 Miami) and beaten a top-5 team (No. 5 Baylor).

Back to Wisconsin -- The last time Michigan was in Madison, the Wolverines went 2-1 at the ITA National Indoor Championships (Feb. 12-15). This weekend's match will be the fourth time the Wolverines have competed at the Nielsen Tennis Center. Michigan has only played five matches at the Varsity Tennis Center all season.

Weekend Sweep -- The Wolverines kept up their winning ways last weekend, defeating Iowa (March 27) by a 6-1 margin and shutting out Minnesota (March 28), 7-0. U-M dropped only one singles match all weekend and won all six doubles matches.

Lucky 7 -- The Wolverines have won seven 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.

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 eight 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 seven-match winning streak, while sophomore Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall School) has won six 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 seven in a row since moving to the No. 3 slot.

MY Turn to Go Home -- So far this season, five Wolverines have had a chance to play close to home. This weekend makes six when the Maize and Blue travels to Northwestern. Denise Muresan's hometown of Lincolnshire, Ill., is 20 miles away from Northwestern's campus, giving her the opportunity to play in her home state. All four of California natives on the team -- Tania Mahtani, Mimi Nguyen, Michelle Sulahian and Rika Tatsuno -- got to spend a week at home over U-M's spring break trip to the Golden State. Whitney Taney enjoyed a trip home to Minnesota last weekend.

The End of the Road -- The end of the seven-match road swing is in sight, as the Wolverines will wrap up their time away from home this weekend. The Wolverines are a perfect 5-0 thus far on their current trip and sport a 6-1 road record, along with a 3-1 neutral-site mark. U-M returns home next weekend with matches against Penn State (April 10) and Ohio State (April 11).

Bernstein Against the Big Ten -- Since taking over in Ann Arbor in the fall of 2007, head coach Ronni Bernstein is 21-2 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.

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 13-2. The pairing of Mimi Nguyen and Michelle Sulahian and the duo of Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno are both 14-2.

Michigan in the Rankings -- The Wolverines are currently ranked No. 8 as a team, with junior Denise Muresan garnering the only singles ranking (No. 25). The duo of Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno come in at No. 36 in this week's doubles rankings.

Playing the Best -- Through the first 16 matches of the season, U-M has faced 12 ranked opponents, including nine top-25 foes. Michigan has gone 9-3 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. 18 Iowa (6-1) No. 32 TCU (4-3), No. 35 Pepperdine (6-1) and No. 53 Minnesota (7-0).

About the Opponents
No. 4 Northwestern -- Michigan has an 8-44 all-time record against the Wildcats, last beating Northwestern during the Wolverines' Big Ten Championship season in 1997. Northwestern (13-3, 4-0 Big Ten) comes into the weekend on a two-match losing streak after dropping matches to No. 8 Duke (5-2) and No. 1 North Carolina (5-2). The Wildcats have won the doubles point in 13 matches and feature three players (Maria Mosolova, Lauren Lui and Stacey Lee) with perfect 4-0 Big Ten records.

Wisconsin -- U-M has a 21-23 all-time record versus Wisconsin but has won six in a row against the Badgers. The Badgers (5-11, 0-3 Big Ten) have lost four-of-five matches and host Michigan State before welcoming the Wolverines.

Bernstein and the Shutout -- In her third season now at Michigan, head coach Ronni Bernstein's teams have shut out opponents 21 times after 7-0 blankings of Western Michigan (Jan. 24), Syracuse (Feb. 6), Loyola Marymount (March 3), Michigan State (March 20) and Minnesota (March 28). The Wolverines have earned a 7-0 shutout 18 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. [ Read Release ]

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! ]

Saturday, April 10
-- vs. Penn State (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Sunday, April 11 -- vs. Ohio State (Varsity Tennis Center), 11 a.m.