Weekly #14: U-M to Wrap Big Ten Road Slate at Illinois, Iowa

April 12, 2011

Friday, April 15
-- at Illinois (Champaign, Ill.), 4 p.m. CDT
Live Blog | Live Scoring
Sunday, April 17 -- at Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), 11 a.m. CDT
Live Blog

The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (17-3, 7-0 Big Ten) looks to stay perfect in the Big Ten with a pair of road matches this weekend. Michigan will take on Illinois (8-9, 4-2 Big Ten) on Friday (April 15) at the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill., with doubles starting at 4 p.m. CDT. The Wolverines will then wrap up the regular-season road slate at Iowa (5-12, 2-4 Big Ten) on Sunday (April 17) with an 11 a.m. match at the Hawkeye Tennis Complex in Iowa City, Iowa.


Getting Outdoors -- The Wolverines played their first home outdoor matches of the season, grabbing a 7-0 win over Ohio State on Saturday (April 9) before wrapping up the weekend with a 6-1 triumph over Penn State (April 10). Typical of a Michigan spring, the two days featured stark differences in weather. Saturday was chilly, hovering right around 50 degrees, while Sunday featured weather in the 70s with high winds. With the two wins, Michigan pushed its record in outdoor matches to 3-2 on the season.

The Big Ten Picture -- The Wolverines sit atop the Big Ten with a 7-0 record, with Northwestern sporting a 6-0 record. Purdue is in third at 5-2 with Ohio State and Illinois rounding out the top of the conference with 4-2 records. U-M will square off against Northwestern on April 23 at the Varsity Tennis Center following this weekend's action at Illinois and Iowa.

Gearing Up for the Big Ten Tournament...in Ann Arbor -- After this weekend, the Wolverines will remain at home for the remainder of the regular season, as well as serving as host of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2000. Michigan will host Northwestern on April 23 before the tournament hits the Varsity Tennis Center, April 28-May 1. [ Tournament Central ]

Dominating in the Big Ten Short Term -- Michigan has been dominant in conference action in 2011, racing out to a 7-0 record. The Wolverines have outscored their opponents 46-3, never allowing more than one point in a conference match this season. U-M sports a 39-3 record in singles during conference matches, as well as a 19-2 doubles record. The Maize and Blue has yet to trail in a Big Ten match this season, winning all seven doubles points.

And Long Term -- Michigan has not dropped a Big Ten regular-season dual match since falling 6-1 to then-No. 1 Northwestern on March 29, 2009, a string of 22 consecutive conference victories. Since arriving in Ann Arbor, head coach Ronni Bernstein, along with the senior class of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney, Rika Tatsuno and Kari Wig, sports a 35-2 conference record.

Scouting Illinois -- Illinois comes into the weekend with an 8-9 overall record and 4-2 Big Ten mark after falling to Northwestern, 5-2, on Sunday. Rachael White is the lone Illini player ranked, coming in at No. 96 while teaming up with Allison Falkin to form the No. 20-ranked doubles team. Rounding out Illinois' ranked players is the doubles team of Breanne Smutko and Chelcie Abajian at No. 67. Michigan leads the all-time series, 24-11, while winning the past seven matches.

Looking at Iowa -- Iowa (5-12, 2-4 Big Ten) will host Michigan State on Friday before welcoming the Wolverines to the Hawkeye Tennis Center. Iowa features the No. 46-ranked doubles team of Sonja Molnar and Jessica Young, while Molnar has garnered a No. 101 singles listing. Michigan knocked off Iowa twice in Iowa City last year, winning the regular-season match (6-1) and earning a 4-1 Big Ten Tournament win. The Wolverines are 28-11 all-time against Iowa and have won seven in a row against the Hawkeyes.

Muresan Ties the Mark -- Senior Denise Muresan won the 104th match of her career against Penn State, tying with Chisako Sugiyama (2006-09) atop the all-time list. Muresan has a career mark of 104-44 with her winning percentage of .703 ranking third on the career list. She sports a 35-2 Big Ten record, losing twice to Purdue players -- Jennifer Rabot in 2009 and Michelle Sammons in 2010.

Seniors Need One More -- With one more win, the senior class of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney, Rika Tatsuno and Kari Wig will become the most successful class in Michigan history. The quartet currently has 78 wins over the past four years, tying the class with Tania Mahtani (2007-10) at the top of the list.

Bolender Hits 30 -- With her two wins over the weekend, freshman Brooke Bolender became the first freshman to ever win 30 matches in a season. On the season, she has a 30-7 overall record and an 18-1 mark in dual matches. Her 30 wins place her fifth on the single-season list.

20s All Around -- Senior Whitney Taney extended her win streak to 11 matches over the weekend with wins over Ohio State and Penn State, becoming the sixth Wolverine to 20 season wins. Brooke Bolender (30-7), Denise Muresan (27-9), Sam Critser (24-10), Rika Tatsuno (22-6) and Mimi Nguyen (20-11) all join Taney (20-6) in the 20-win club.

Advantage: Seniors -- The senior class of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney, Rika Tatsuno and Kari Wig has helped turn Michigan into a national contender. Read about their journey in M Magazine.
[ Advantage: Seniors ]

All Perfect in the Big Ten -- U-M features five players with undefeated conference records in Denise Muresan (7-0), Brooke Bolender (7-0), Whitney Taney (7-0), Michelle Sulahian (4-0) and Mimi Nguyen (3-0).

Doubles Success -- Michigan has won the doubles point in 17 of its 19 matches this season, going 16-1 in those matches. The Wolverines carry a 48-8 dual-match record in doubles and have swept the doubles matches 15 times. The only time Michigan failed to win the match after securing the doubles point came against No. 1 Stanford at the ITA Indoor Championship.

Taney Hits Triple Digits -- With a doubles win against South Florida, senior Whitney Taney became the first Wolverine to win 100 doubles matches in a career. Taney has an all-time mark of 106-33 in doubles play, including a 69-18 record in dual matches. She has paired with Denise Muresan (8-1), Allie Shafner (4-1), Rika Tatsuno (71-26), Lindsey Howard (4-0), Tania Mahtani (8-3), Chisako Sugiyama (7-1), Michelle Sulahian (1-0), Mimi Nguyen (1-0) and Brooke Bolender (2-1).

Put ME at 3 -- The Wolverines have been most successful at the No. 3 position in 2011, compiling an 18-1 record between Brooke Bolender, Sam Critser, Whitney Taney and Mimi Nguyen. Bolender has spent the most time at the No. 3 slot, going 9-1. Critser is 5-0, Taney is 3-0 and Nguyen is 1-0 in the middle of the lineup.

In the Rankings -- The Wolverines fell to No. 10 in this week's edition of the poll, which is computer based. Senior Denise Muresan is Michigan's highest-ranked singles player, moving up to No. 7 in this week's rankings. Sam Critser (No. 69), Brooke Bolender (No. 73) and Whitney Taney (No. 99) all round out Michigan's ranked singles players. On the doubles front, the duo of Muresan and Bolender comes in at No. 8, making Muresan one of eight players to be ranked in the top 10 of singles and doubles.

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

From All Over -- Of the eight Wolverines on the 2011 roster, four hail from California, with one each from Florida, Illinois, Minnesota and Alberta. The women's tennis team is the only varsity team at U-M without a Michigan native.

A Look Back -- The 2010 season was the most successful in school history, with the Wolverines winning their first Big Ten Championship since 1997. U-M won a program-best 24 matches and advanced to the Sweet 16 at the NCAA Championships. Denise Muresan became the first All-American since Marian Kremer in 1981. Muresan (Big Ten Player of the Year), Mimi Nguyen (Big Ten Freshman of the Year) and head coach Ronni Bernstein (Big Ten Coach of the Year) swept the conference awards as Michigan went 10-0 during the regular season for the Big Ten crown.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein is in her fourth year leading the Wolverines. In 2010, she was named Big Ten Coach of the Year and ITA Midwest Coach of the Year after leading U-M to a 24-5 overall record, a Big Ten Championship and the Sweet 16. Since coming to Ann Arbor, Bernstein has compiled a 74-21 overall record and a 31-2 Big Ten mark. Teryn Ashley-Fitch, in her fifth year at U-M, was elevated to associate head coach over the summer with Kristen Schlukebir joining the Wolverines as the volunteer assistant coach for the 2011 season.

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. Most recently, outdoor chair back seating was added overlooking six of the outdoor courts.

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. Each of our varsity athletic teams will have a Record Book and a Yearbook. 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. [ Publications ]

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.

Michigan women's tennis is also on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/UofMTennis. Facebook is a social network service and website with more than 500 million active users.

Saturday, April 23
-- vs. Northwestern (Varsity Tennis Center), 11 a.m.
Thu-Sun., April 28-May 1 -- host Big Ten Championships (Varsity Tennis Center)

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423