Weekly #15: U-M to Play No. 15 Northwestern for Big Ten Title on Saturday

April 19, 2011

Saturday, April 23
-- vs. No. 15 Northwestern (Varsity Tennis Center), 11 a.m.
Live Scoring/Live Video

Live video will not be available if match is played outdoors.

With the Big Ten title on the line, the No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (19-3, 9-0 Big Ten) will host No. 15-ranked Northwestern (16-6, 8-0 Big Ten) on Saturday (April 23) at 11 a.m. at the Varsity Tennis Center. Prior to the match, the senior class of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney, Rika Tatsuno and Kari Wig will be honored as part of Senior Day.

Saturday's match is designated a "Maize Out" with free t-shirts provided, while supplies last. There will be a student tailgate with food while supplies last. All Kid's Club members and women's tennis campers are invited to attend the match. There will be raffles for two iPods, a Varsity Tennis Center membership and Michigan prize packs.


Title Time -- In true dramatic fashion, Saturday's match against Northwestern will determine the Big Ten champion. Michigan comes into the match with a 9-0 record, while the Wildcats are 8-0 with a trip to East Lansing on Sunday (April 24) to take on Michigan State. Michigan is the defending champion, having knocked off Northwestern last season in Evanston to snap NU's 81-match conference win streak en route to a perfect 10-0 conference record.

You Again? -- For the 13th straight season, the Big Ten championship will belong to either Michigan or Northwestern. The Wolverines snapped NU's streak of 11 straight titles last year with their first since 1997. In women's tennis, the regular-season champion is considered the Big Ten champion. Only four schools -- Michigan, Indiana, Northwestern and Wisconsin -- have ever won the title.

Seniors at the Top -- With last weekend's win at Illinois, the senior class of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney, Rika Tatsuno and Kari Wig became the most successful class in Michigan history. The quartet currently has 80 wins over the past four years, breaking the previous mark of 78 (2007-10). Prior to the match on Saturday, the senior class will be honored for their achievements and contributions to the program.

Scouting No. 15 Northwestern -- Northwestern (16-6, 8-0 Big Ten) comes to Ann Arbor after knocking off Indiana and Purdue last weekend by identical 6-1 margins. Senior Maria Mosolova is the highest-ranked singles player (No. 13) to lead a quartet of ranked Wildcats. Northwestern leads the all-time series, 45-9, but the two teams split last season with Michigan winning the regular-season match-up and the Wildcats taking the Big Ten Tournament match.

Another Weekend, Another Sweep -- Michigan continued its steamroll through the Big Ten slate, shutting out Illinois and Iowa on the road this past weekend. U-M won all nine matches in both victories, grabbing its ninth consecutive win. Michigan has swept six Big Ten opponents this season -- Iowa, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Bolender Keeps Climbing -- With a current win streak of 15 matches, freshman Brooke Bolender has cemented her name in the Michigan record books. Her 32 wins puts her at third on the single-season wins list, tying her with Christine Schmeidel (1990-91) and current Wolverine Michelle Sulahian. Sarah Cyganiak (1994-97) set the mark at 34 in 1995.

Gearing Up for the Big Ten Tournament in Ann Arbor -- After wrapping up the road schedule with wins at Illinois and Iowa, the Wolverines will spend the next two weekends at the Varsity Tennis Center. After this weekend's match against Northwestern, U-M will serve as the host of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2000. 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 9-0 record. The Wolverines have outscored their opponents, 60-3, never allowing more than one point in a conference match this season. U-M sports a 51-3 record in singles during conference matches, as well as a 25-2 doubles record. The Maize and Blue has yet to trail in a Big Ten match this season, winning all nine 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 24 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 37-2 conference record.

Fun Size Duo Back Together -- For the first time since Michigan's loss to Tennessee in last year's NCAA Tournament, the doubles pairing of Michelle Sulahian and Mimi Nguyen played a dual match together. The duo came away with an 8-0 win at No. 3 against Iowa, just their fifth time playing together this season. Last year, Sulahian and Nguyen carried a 28-8 overall record and a 22-7 dual-match mark.

Muresan Sets the Mark -- Senior Denise Muresan won the 105th match of her career against Illinois, overtaking Chisako Sugiyama (2006-09) atop the all-time list. With a win at Iowa, Muresan now has a career mark of 106-44 with her winning percentage of .707, ranking second on the career list. She sports a 37-2 Big Ten record, losing twice to Purdue players -- Jennifer Rabot in 2009 and Michelle Sammons in 2010.

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 (9-0), Brooke Bolender (9-0), Whitney Taney (9-0), Michelle Sulahian (5-0) and Mimi Nguyen (4-0).

Doubles Success -- Michigan has won the doubles point in 19 of its 22 matches this season, going 18-1 in those matches. The Wolverines carry a 54-8 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 108-33 in doubles play, including a 71-18 record in dual matches. She has paired with Denise Muresan (8-1), Allie Shafner (4-1), Rika Tatsuno (73-26), 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).

In the Rankings -- The Wolverines stayed at 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 to No. 8 in this week's rankings. Sam Critser (No. 69), Brooke Bolender (No. 87) and Whitney Taney (No. 109) all round out Michigan's ranked singles players. On the doubles front, the duo of Muresan and Bolender comes in at No. 9, making Muresan one of eight players to be ranked in the top 10 of singles and doubles.

Dual-Match Format -- This weekend's dual match 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. 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.

Thu-Sun, April 28-May 1
-- host Big Ten Championships (Varsity Tennis Center)
Championships Page

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423