Week #14: U-M to Enter Big Ten Tournament as No. 2 Seed

April 25, 2012

Big Ten Tournament (Columbus, Ohio)
Friday, April 27 -- vs. Indiana or Wisconsin, 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 28 -- Semifinals, 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 29 -- Championship Match, Noon
Live Results/Tournament Central | Bracket

The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (17-6) will kick off postseason play this weekend, traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to participate in the 2012 Big Ten Conference Tournament, hosted by Ohio State this Thursday through Sunday (April 27-29) at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines, who claimed a share of their third straight Big Ten regular-season title, earned the No. 2 seed and will receive a first-round buy before facing the winner of No. 7 seed Indiana and No. 10 seed Wisconsin at 2 p.m. on Friday (April 27).

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. For postseason competition, once the doubles point has been clinched, the remaining doubles matches will not be completed. 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. All other matches in progress when the match point is clinched will be abandoned.

Where We Rank -- Despite earning a pair of wins in the final weekend of the regular season, Michigan dropped a spot, falling to the No. 15 position, in the latest ITA rankings, released Tuesday (April 24). U-M boasts three individual singles rankings and a top-10 doubles rankings. Freshman Emina Bektas headlines the contingent with the No. 12 ranking. Sophomore Brooke Bolender checks in at No. 85, while junior Mimi Nguyen rounds out the Wolverine contingent at the No. 121 position. On the doubles side, Michigan's duo of Bektas and Bolender list as the nation's No. 10 pairing. [ ITA Rankings ]

Champs Again! -- With a 5-2 decision against rival Ohio State on Sunday (April 22), the Wolverines locked up a share of their third consecutive Big Ten championship. Michigan swept the doubles point to take the early advantage before coasting through singles play, capturing four of the first five matches off court. The title is Michigan's fourth overall and marks the first time the Wolverines have won three straight titles.

In Rare Air -- Michigan is one of just four Big Ten schools to win a Big Ten championship, joining Northwestern, Indiana and Wisconsin on the list. In addition, U-M, Northwestern and Indiana are the only schools to win more than one championship. Beginning in 2009, the regular-season champion was declared the Big Ten champion with the tournament winner designated as the Big Ten Tournament champion. The Wolverines are in search of their second tournament title, winning it all in 1997.

Second Round Match -- Michigan will square off against the winner of No. 7 seed Indiana (15-10, 4-7 Big Ten) and No. 10 seed Wisconsin (12-11, 3-8 Big Ten) in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. U-M had to battle past the Hoosiers, rallying to a road 4-3 victory, but cruised against the Badgers, sweeping both doubles and singles en route to a 7-0 decision.

Will We Meet Again? -- For the recent past, Michigan and Northwestern have owned the Big Ten Tournament. The two teams have met in the tournament final the past seven seasons, with Northwestern winning all seven matches. The Wildcats have won the past 13 tournament titles.

Last Time Out -- Michigan registered similar 5-2 decisions against Penn State (April 20) and Ohio State (April 22) in its final weekend of regular-season play. The Wolverines swept the doubles competition in both dual matches and combined for an 8-4 weekend record in singles play, taking four matches in each dual. Emina Bektas, Brooke Bolender and Kristen Dodge all posted perfect 2-0 singles records. [ Recaps: Penn State | Ohio State ]

Complete Statistics: Through April 22


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 102-29 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 267-100 (.728) career coaching record.

Double Dip -- The Wolverines have swept the doubles competition in each of their last four dual matches and have claimed the doubles point in 14 of 23 dual matches this season, combining for a 45-19 doubles record in dual action. In Big Ten play, U-M swept the doubles competition against Wisconsin, Purdue, Nebraska, Iowa, Penn State and Ohio State.

Strong on Top -- Michigan's No. 1 doubles team of freshman Emina Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender extended their win streak to eight consecutive matches with their wins against Penn State and Ohio State. The duo, listed No. 10 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 has battled back from early deficits to claim two of her last three wins, including a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 decision against Ohio State's Fidan Manashirova in her latest appearance (April 22). Lee clinched Michigan's dual win at Nebraska with a 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 comeback decision over 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 30-8 record, including a 19-3 mark in dual-match play. She has won nine of her last 11 matches. The Wolverine rookie already owns a share of the eighth position among Michigan's all-time single-season leaders, where she is tied with Chisako Sugiyama (2007), and with one more win, 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 retired from her match against Ohio State's Kelsey Dieters in the third set (April 22), halting her singles win streak at six matches. She is to 25-10 on the season and now 77-33 in her collegiate career, holding sole possession of the 15th position among Michigan's all-time winningest singles players. She needs just one more win to reach the 14th spot, currently held by Christine Nolan (78, 2001-04).

Roger Dodge(r) -- Freshman Kristen Dodge has been perfect in her return to the Wolverines' singles lineup, earning a pair of weekend wins to extend her win streak to six in a row from the No. 6 position. Dodge, who is 6-0 in Big Ten dual-match competition this season, has won her last six singles matches and eight of her last nine. Dodge also won her first doubles appearance in eight weeks, teaming with fellow freshman Sarah Lee to beat Ohio State's Kelsey Haviland and Noelle Malley, 8-1.

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 on 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 83-45 record in her collegiate singles career to claim sole possession of the 10th position among Michigan's all-time career wins 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 102-29 overall record and 48-3 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.

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.

Twitter: Sign up and follow the Wolverines (umichtennis) 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.

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