Week #12: U-M to Continue Big Ten Play at No. 17 Nebraska, Iowa
Michelle Sulahian

April 12, 2012

Friday, April 13 -- at No. 17 Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.), 3 p.m. CDT
Live Scoring
Sunday, April 15 -- at Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), 11 a.m. CDT
Live Scoring

The No. 14-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (13-6, 6-1 Big Ten) will hit the road this weekend for a pair of Big Ten Conference duals. U-M will travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face No. 17 Nebraska (20-2, 6-1 Big Ten) at 3 p.m. CDT on Friday (April 13) at the NU Varsity Courts, before concluding the trip on Sunday (April 15) with an 11 a.m. CDT match against Iowa (7-11, 1-6 Big Ten) at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City, Iowa.

A Look at Nebraska -- The Cornhuskers are 20-2 overall this season and own a share of first place in the Big Ten standings with a 6-1 conference record. Nebraska carries a five-match winning streak into the weekend and is coming off a pair of 5-2 decisions over Purdue and Indiana in last weekend's road swing (April 7-8). Three Huskers' players own national singles rankings, most notably No. 43-ranked Mary Weatherholt, while Nebraska's top doubles team is listed No. 44 in the latest ITA poll. Michigan is 1-0 in the all-time series against Nebraska, registering a 4-3 decision in the lone meeting between the schools at the 2006 NCAA Regional.

A Look at Iowa -- The Hawkeyes enter the weekend with a 7-11 record and are 1-6 in Big Ten play after dropping 6-1 decisions at both Indiana and Purdue last weekend (April 7-8). Iowa's lone ranked player, No. 103 Sonja Molnar, owns a 12-5 dual-match record from the No. 1 position. The Wolverines are 29-11 in the all-time series against Iowa and have claimed each of the last eight meetings, including a 7-0 shutout in last season's match in Iowa City.

Where We Rank -- Michigan climbed a spot, moving to the No. 14 position, in the latest ITA rankings, released Tuesday (April 10), and boast three individuals in the singles rankings and a top-10 doubles squad. Freshman Emina Bektas headlines the contingent with the No. 11 ranking. Sophomore Brooke Bolender checks in at No. 75, while junior Mimi Nguyen rounds out the Wolverine contingent at the No. 114 position. On the doubles side, Michigan's duo of Bektas and Bolender list as the nation's No. 6 pairing. [ ITA Rankings ]

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.

Last Time Out -- Michigan split its weekend homestand, cruising past Illinois, 6-1, on Saturday (April 7) before falling to rival Northwestern, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon (April 8). The Wolverines claimed the doubles point and won five-of-six singles matches, including three in straight sets, against Illinois but trailed throughout against the Wildcats, dropping the doubles points and three of the first four singles matches off court before narrowing the final score. Sophomore Brooke Bolender was perfect on the weekend, winning two No. 2 singles matches and a pair of No. 1 doubles contests, while junior Mimi Nguyen went 2-0 from the No. 4 singles position. [ Recaps: Illinois | Northwestern ]

Complete Statistics: Through April 8


No Longer Streaking -- The Wolverines saw their Big Ten regular-season winning streak halted at 31 consecutive matches with their 4-3 loss against Northwestern last Sunday (April 8). U-M boasted perfect 10-0 conference records en route to Big Ten team titles in each of the last two seasons. Michigan is now 6-1 in Big Ten play this season and shares the lead in the Big Ten standings with Northwestern and Nebraska.

Double Dip -- Michigan's No. 1 doubles team of freshman Emina Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender knocked off a pair of ranked doubles teams this weekend, defeating Illinois' Maris Lambropoulos and Melissa, 8-2, before edging Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning, 8-6. The Wolverine duo is 5-5 against ranked opposition this season and currently owns a four-match win streak.

Mimi's Moving Up -- Junior Mimi Nguyen extended her singles win streak to three matches with a perfect 2-0 performance over the weekend. She improved to 22-9 on the season and is now 74-32 in her collegiate career, earning a share of the 16th position among Michigan's all-time winningest singles players. She is tied with Michelle DaCosta (2001-05) and needs two more wins to reach the 15th position, currently held by Stacy Berg (76, 1988-91).

Climbing the Charts -- Senior Michelle Sulahian owns an 83-44 record in her collegiate singles career to claim sole possession of the 10th position among Michigan's all-time career win leaders. She needs three more wins to reach the eighth spot, currently held by Debra Striefler (86-37, 2003-06) and Kalei Beamon (86-57, 1990-93).

Nearing the Century Mark -- The Wolverines have flourished under the leadership of head coach Ronni Bernstein, and in just her fifth year in Ann Arbor, Bernstein has accumulated a 98-29 record, sitting just two wins away from her 100th Michigan win. She already ranks as the second-winningest coach in Michigan program history behind Bitsy Ritt (288-240, 1984-2006). Adding her 10-year tenure at Florida International, Bernstein boasts a 263-100 (.725) career coaching record.

Strength in the Middle -- The Wolverines have found great success at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions, compiling a combined 30-7 record between freshman Sarah Lee, junior Mimi Nguyen and sophomore Sam Critser. Lee has posted a 9-2 record at the No. 3 slot and is 7-0 at No. 4, while Nguyen is 6-2 at No. 3 and 7-3 at No. 4. Critser won her lone appearance at the No. 4 position.

No. 1 in our Hearts -- Freshman Emina Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender, the Wolverines' top doubles pairing, knocked off Notre Dame's No. 1-ranked Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews, 8-4, on Wednesday, March 21. The U-M duo battled back to hold serve in the fifth game and took over in the next, going up 4-2 to take the lead for good. It was Bektas and Bolender's second doubles win over a top-five opponent this season. They previously claimed an 8-5 victory over Georgia's pairing of Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist, the nation's No. 2 doubles team in their ITA National Indoors finale against Georgia.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein is in her fifth year in Ann Arbor, compiling a 98-29 overall record and 44-3 Big Ten mark in her first four years. The Wolverines have strung together the best two-year span in program history during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, going 24-5 in both campaigns while winning two Big Ten championships. For her efforts, Bernstein has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and ITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in both seasons. Teryn Ashley-Fitch is in her sixth year at Michigan and was promoted to associate head coach last summer after earning ITA Midwest Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2010.

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Friday, April 20 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.), 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 22 -- vs. Ohio State (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423