Week #13: U-M Seeks Third Straight Big Ten Title in Final Weekend

April 18, 2012

Friday, April 20 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.), 3 p.m.
Live Scoring
Sunday, April 22 -- vs. Ohio State (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Live Scoring/Live Video | Promotions: Senior Day, Sunday Sundaes, Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day

The No. 14-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (15-6, 8-1 Big Ten) will wrap up dual-match action next weekend, traveling to State College, Pa., for a 4 p.m. match against Penn State (11-9, 3-6 Big Ten) on Friday (April 20) before hosting rival Ohio State (8-14, 3-6 Big Ten) at noon on Sunday (April 22) at the Varsity Tennis Center.

A Look at Penn State -- The Nittany Lions enter the weekend with an 11-9 record and are 3-6 in Big Ten play after dropping decisions to Northwestern (6-1, April 14) and Illinois (5-2, April 15) last weekend. PSU's top singles player, Petra Januskova, is 28-7 on the season, including 15-5 in dual-match play, and owns the nation's No. 76 ranking. Michigan is 22-3 in the all-time series against Penn State and has won the last 10 straight meetings, including a 6-1 decision last year in Ann Arbor.

A Look at Ohio State -- The Buckeyes are 8-14 on the season and carry a 3-6 Big Ten record after falling to Illinois (4-3, April 13) and Northwestern (5-2, April 15) last weekend. OSU's winningest player, Gabby Steele, owns an 18-10 record while playing predominantly at the No. 5 singles position. The Wolverines boast a 37-13 advantage in the all-time series against Ohio State and have claimed each of the last 10 meetings, including a pair of decisions -- 7-0 and 4-0 -- last season.

Where We Rank -- Michigan held onto the No. 14 position in the latest ITA rankings, released Tuesday (April 17), and boast three individual singles rankings and a top-10 doubles rankings. Freshman Emina Bektas headlines the contingent with the No. 13 ranking. Sophomore Brooke Bolender checks in at No. 73, while junior Mimi Nguyen rounds out the Wolverine contingent at the No. 108 position. On the doubles side, Michigan's duo of Bektas and Bolender list as the nation's No. 8 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.

Big in the Big Ten -- The Wolverines sit tied atop the Big Ten standings -- with Northwestern -- with an 8-1 league record. With two wins this weekend, U-M will clinch at least a share of its third straight Big Ten title. Prior to Michigan's back-to-back titles (2010, '11), Northwestern claimed 11 Big Ten crowns in a row.

Last Time Out -- Michigan rebounded from its first Big Ten loss with a pair of road decisions last weekend, defeating Nebraska (6-1, April 13) and Iowa (5-2, April 15). The Wolverines swept the doubles competition in both dual matches and combined for a 9-3 weekend record in singles play. U-M took five-of-six singles matches against the Cornhuskers, battling to take three in the three sets, including a 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 decision from freshman Sarah Lee to clinch from the No. 3 court. U-M handily won four singles to quickly clinch the dual against Iowa. Lee, junior Mimi Nguyen and freshman Kristen Dodge all posted perfect 2-0 singles record on the weekend. [ Recaps: Nebraska | Iowa ]

Complete Statistics: Through April 15


Reaching 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 100-29 record. 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 265-100 (.726) career coaching record.

Double Dip -- The Wolverines swept the doubles competition in both weekend dual matches at Nebraska and Iowa and have claimed the doubles point in 12 of 21 dual matches this season, combining for a 39-19 doubles record in dual action. U-M also swept the doubles competition against Maryland, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Purdue and Nebraska.

Strong on Top -- Michigan's No. 1 doubles team of freshman Emina Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender extended their win streak to six consecutive matches with their wins at Nebraska and Iowa. The duo, listed No. 8 in the latest ITA doubles poll, earned three straight wins against nationally ranked opposition, defeating Illinois' Maris Lambropoulos and Melissa Kopinski (8-2, April 7), Northwestern's Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning (8-6, April 8) and Nebraska's Madeline Geibert and Stefanie Weinstein (9-8 (8), April 13). The Wolverine duo is 6-5 against ranked opposition this season.

Comeback Kid -- Freshman Sarah Lee clinched Michigan's dual win at Nebraska with a 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 comeback decision Madeleine Geibert at the No. 3 singles position. The Wolverine freshman trailed 5-2 in the second set before winning three straight games to tie and force the eventual breaker, which she won 7-3. On serve through 3-3 in the third, Lee claimed the match's final three games to close out the win.

Freshman Phenom -- Freshman Sarah Lee currently leads the Wolverine team with a 29-7 record, including an 18-2 mark in dual-match play. She has won eight of her last nine matches, bouncing back from just her second dual loss of the season with back-to-back wins on the Wolverines' weekend road trip. The Wolverine rookie already ranks eighth among Michigan's all-time single-season leaders and with two wins this season, could reach the seventh spot, currently held by sophomore Sam Critser (31, 2011). Sophomore Brooke Bolender established a new Michigan record in the category with 35 wins last year.

Mimi's Moving Up -- Junior Mimi Nguyen extended her singles win streak to five matches with a perfect 2-0 performance over the weekend. She improved to 24-9 on the season and is now 76-32 in her collegiate career, earning a share of the 15th position among Michigan's all-time winningest singles players. She is tied with Stacy Berg (1988-91) and needs two more wins to reach the 14th spot, currently held by Christine Nolan (78, 2001-04).

Roger Dodge(r) -- Freshman Kristen Dodge was perfect in her return to the Wolverines' singles lineup, posting a pair of wins from the No. 6 position against Nebraska Maike Zeppernick (6-0, 7-6 (3), April 13) and Iowa's Ally Majercik (6-1, 6-0, April 15). Dodge, who is 4-0 in Big Ten dual-match competition this season, has won her last four straight singles matches and six of her last seven.

Strength in the Middle -- The Wolverines have found great success at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions, compiling a combined 34-7 record between freshman Sarah Lee, junior Mimi Nguyen and sophomore Sam Critser. Lee has posted an 11-2 record at the No. 3 slot and is 7-0 at No. 4, while Nguyen is 6-2 at No. 3 and 9-3 at No. 4. Critser won her lone appearance at the No. 4 position.

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 two weeks ago (April 8). U-M boasted perfect 10-0 conference records en route to Big Ten team titles in each of the last two seasons.

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).

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 an 100-29 overall record and 46-3 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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Thu-Sun., April 26-29 -- at Big Ten Championships (Columbus, Ohio)
Fri-Sun., May 11-13 -- at NCAA Regionals (Site TBA)
Thu-Tue., May 17-22 -- at NCAA Championships (Athens, Ga.)
Wed-Mon., May 23-28 -- at NCAA Individual Championships (Athens, Ga.)

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423