Weekly #16: U-M to Host Big Ten Tournament Starting Thursday

April 26, 2011

Big Ten Tournament (Varsity Tennis Center)
Friday, April 29
-- vs. No. 8 seed Minnesota or No. 9 seed Iowa (Varsity Tennis Center), 10 a.m.
Saturday, April 30
-- Semifinals, 10 a.m.
Sunday, May 1
-- Championship Match, noon
Tournament Central

The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (20-3, 10-0 Big Ten) will serve as host of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament this week (Thu-Sun., April 28-May 1) at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Big Ten champion Wolverines earned the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive season and will receive a first-round buy before facing on Friday (April 29) at 10 a.m. the winner of No. 8 seed Minnesota and No. 9 seed Iowa.

Admission is free to this weekend's tournament.


Championships Come to Ann Arbor -- For the first time since 2000, the Varsity Tennis Center will serve as host for the Big Ten Tournament, which runs April 28-May 1. Michigan enters the tournament as the top seed after going 10-0 in the conference for the second consecutive season. [ Tournament Central ]

Big Ten Champs...Again! -- With a 6-1 dismantling of No. 17 Northwestern on Saturday (April 23), the Wolverines captured their second consecutive Big Ten championship. Michigan won the doubles point by virtue of wins at No. 1 and No. 2 to take the early advantage before coasting through singles play, capturing the first five matches off court. The title is Michigan's third overall and marks the first time the Wolverines have won back-to-back 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.

Running Through the Big Ten -- Michigan was nothing short of dominant during the Big Ten slate, outscoring its opponents 66-4. The Wolverines won the doubles point in all 10 matches, compiling a 27-3 mark and sweeping all three matches seven different times. Singles was no different, as Brooke Bolender, Denise Muresan and Whitney Taney all went 10-0 during conference play with the team sporting a 56-4 record in singles. The Maize and Blue never trailed during the conference season and never yielded more than one point to any opponent.

Second Round Match -- Michigan will square off against the winner of No. 8 seed Minnesota (7-15, 3-7 Big Ten) and No. 9 seed Iowa (6-15, 3-7 Big Ten) on Friday (April 29) at 10 a.m. U-M knocked off both opponents on the road this season by identical 7-0 margins.

Going Streaking -- Michigan has won 25 Big Ten regular-season matches in a row, with its last loss coming on March 29, 2009. U-M is also on a 10-match win streak, dating back to a 7-0 win over South Florida on March 18.

And Individually -- Brooke Bolender has won a team-best 16 consecutive matches, while Whitney Taney (14) and Denise Muresan (10) are up to double-digit win streaks. Additionally, Boldender and Muresan have won 10 doubles matches in a row, while Taney has paired with Rika Tatsuno for 12 consecutive doubles wins.

20 Wins Again -- Michigan reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth time in program history, ending the regular season with a 20-3 record. The Wolverines won a program-best 24 matches last season, while winning 20 in 1990 and 21 in 1997. It is the second straight year that Michigan ended the regular season with a 20-3 mark. The Maize and Blue set the program for wins last season at 24.

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 six seasons with Northwestern winning all six matches. The Wildcats have won the past 12 tournament titles.

Seniors at the Top -- With a win at Illinois on April 15, 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 81 wins over the past four years, breaking the previous mark of 78 (2007-10).

Bolender Keeps Climbing -- With a current win streak of 16 matches, freshman Brooke Bolender has cemented her name in the Michigan record books. Her 33 wins put her in a tie for second on the singles-season list with senior Denise Muresan. Sarah Cyganiak (1994-97) set the mark at 34 in 1995.

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 against Northwestern's Maria Mosolova, Muresan now has a career mark of 107-44 with her winning percentage of .709 ranking second on the career list. She finished her career with a 38-2 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 ]

Doubles Success -- Michigan has won the doubles point in 20 of its 23 matches this season, going 19-1 in those matches. The Wolverines carry a 56-9 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 109-33 in doubles play, including a 72-18 record in dual matches. She has paired with Denise Muresan (8-1), Allie Shafner (4-1), Rika Tatsuno (74-26), 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. 7 in this week's rankings. Sam Critser (No. 66), Brooke Bolender (No. 74) and Whitney Taney (No. 100) all round out Michigan's ranked singles players. On the doubles front, the duo of Muresan and Bolender comes in at No. 9, with Taney and Rika Tatsuno ranking No. 65.

Dual-Match Format --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. Matches in progress once the doubles point and the team match are secured will be abandoned in postseason play.

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.

Fri-Sat., May 13-14
-- NCAA Regionals (Site TBA)

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423