April 17, 2013
Friday, April 19 -- vs. Penn State (Varsity Tennis Center), 3 p.m.
Live Scoring/Live Video (*Live video only available if match is played indoors)
Sunday, April 21-- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 11 a.m.
The sixth-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (17-4, 8-1 Big Ten) seeks its fourth straight regular-season conference title with its final two regular-season games this week. U-M wraps up its regular-season home slate on Friday (April 19, 3 p.m.) against Penn State (13-6, 3-6) at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines then play the main season finale at Ohio State (10-11, 3-6 Big Ten) on Sunday (April 21, 11 a.m.) in Columbus, Ohio. Two wins would guarantee a share of the title.
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.
U-M moved up to No. 6 in this week's ITA rankings after a 2-0 weekend that included a 5-2 win over No. 12 Nebraska on Saturday (April 13) and a 6-1 victory over Iowa on Sunday (April 14). It is the highest U-M has been ranked since coming in at No. 5 on March 22, 2011. The Wolverines have been in the top 10 ever since knocking off No. 2 Duke on March 1.
No. 6 Michigan enters the final weekend of Big Ten play tied with Nebraska for first place in the conference. Both teams are 8-1 with two matches remaining. If Michigan wins both matches this weekend, it will at least tie for its fourth consecutive Big Ten title.
If U-M wins its fourth consecutive Big Ten title, it would mark the third-longest streak of championships in Big Ten history. Northwestern won 11 in a row (1999-2009) and Indiana won nine in a row (1987-95).
U-M has never lost more than one Big Ten regular-season match in each of head coach Ronni Bernstein's six seasons in Ann Arbor.
Senior Mimi Nguyen, the team's lone senior, will be honored prior to Friday's match against Penn State. Nguyen is 86-46 all-time in singles and 93-46 in doubles. She has been part of three Big Ten championships and helped Michigan to three consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. Nguyen and former Wolverine Michelle Sulahian (2009-12) are the only two players in Michigan history to win three Big Ten titles in a career.
U-M is 23-3 all-time against Penn State and has won 11 straight over the Nittany Lions. Petra Januskova is ranked No. 60 in the country in singles and pairs with Chelsea Utting to form the No. 30 doubles tandem. PSU is currently 13-6 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten.
Michigan is 38-13 all-time against Ohio State, winning the last 11 against the Buckeyes. OSU features one ranked singles player in No. 62 Kelsey Dieters. Ohio State is 10-11 this season with a 3-6 mark in Big Ten play.
Sophomore Emina Bektas notched her team-leading fifth match-clincher of the season on Sunday (April 14) with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Iowa's Ruth Seaborne at No. 1. Freshmen Amy Zhu and Ronit Yurovsky have each clinched three matches, with sophomore Sarah Lee and junior Brooke Bolender deciding two each and senior Mimi Nguyen clinching one.
Michigan now features five players that have at least 20 wins on the season in Ronit Yurovsky (26), Sarah Lee (24), Emina Bektas (21), Brooke Bolender (21) and Amy Zhu (20). It is the fourth straight season that U-M has had at least five 20-win players.
Michigan, which knocked off No. 12 Nebraska (5-2) on Saturday (April 13), is 9-3 this season against ranked opponents. U-M has won six in a row over top-25 competition. This week marks the first time since the March 23-24 that U-M is not playing a top-25 opponent.
The Maize and Blue sports a 13-0 record this season when winning the doubles point after a win against Iowa on Sunday (April 14). U-M is 3-4 when failing to secure the first point of the match, still rebounding to beat No. 12 Nebraska on Saturday (April 13). Michigan did not compete in doubles action at San Diego (March 8) due to impending rain.
With a 5-2 win at Notre Dame on March 27, Michigan wrapped up the non-conference portion of the regular season with a 9-3 mark.
The Wolverines won all six singles matches against Purdue (March 30), just the third time this season U-M has swept all six matches. U-M turned the feat against Brown in the season opener (Jan. 26) and against Michigan State (Feb. 27).
U-M is 9-2 this season at the Varsity Tennis Center. Michigan has one regular-season match remaining at the VTC.
After a 2-0 mark in Big Ten matches last weekend against Nebraska and Iowa, U-M is now 56-4 in conference matches under head coach Ronni Bernstein.
Michigan features three ranked singles players in sophomore Emina Bektas (No. 26), freshman Ronit Yurovsky (No. 50) and sophomore Sarah Lee (No. 104). On the doubles side, Bektas and junior Brooke Bolender are the No. 3 pair in the country, with Yurovsky and Lee ranking No. 60.
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 and Bektas have each won the award twice.
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.
Since taking over the Wolverines in 2007-08, U-M is 58-6 at the Varsity Tennis Center under head coach Ronni Bernstein. In her sixth season at Michigan, Bernstein is 121-35 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 SPOTLIGHTS
On how she ended up working at Michigan ... "My dad is a U of M grad, so I was raised a U of M fan. When I finished graduate school at Western Michigan and had a year free to gain professional experience while applying to medical school, I was thrilled to see one year post-graduate internships available in Michigan Athletic Medicine. The position and timing just worked out perfectly for me."
On picking athletic medicine as a profession ... "When I was just entering college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that would not lead to a desk job. I also have a great love for sports and passion for helping people, so athletic training just fit for me. Later on down the road, athletic training also provided me with the exposure to medicine that drove me to pursue medical school and a career as an orthopedic surgeon."
On her favorite moment at Michigan ... "It was when the women's tennis team defeated Duke, who was ranked number two in the nation at the time. It was a very exciting match to watch, and I was absolutely thrilled when our girls pulled out the win!"
On her plans following her internship ... "I will be starting medical school at Michigan State University in August! After completing medical school, I hope to specialize in orthopedic surgery."
On what she likes to do outside of work ... "I love playing soccer. I don't have a lot of time to play competitively, but I still get chances to play in pickup games and rec leagues with friends. I also like to bake cookies, cakes, specialty breads, pretty much anything sweet"
Thu-Sun, April 25-28 -- at Big Ten Championships (Bloomington, Ind.)