Weekly Release #14: Wolverines Look for Big Ten Tournament Title

April 27, 2010

Big Ten Tournament (Iowa City, Iowa)

Friday, April 30 -- vs. No. 8 Wisconsin, 10 a.m. CDT
Live Results
Saturday, May 1 -- Semifinals, 10 a.m. CDT
Live Results
Sunday, May 2 -- Finals, Noon CDT
Live Results

Tournament Central | Big Ten Tournament Bracket

The No. 4-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (20-3) heads to Iowa City, Iowa, for the annual Big Ten Tournament after capturing the program's second Big Ten championship this past weekend. U-M enters as the No. 1 seed and will first take on Wisconsin on Friday (April 30) at 10 a.m. CDT. The Big Ten Network will air the final match on tape delay, May 9, at 5 p.m.


Big Ten Champions -- For the first time since 1997, the Wolverines went 10-0 in the conference en route to winning the Big Ten championship. Michigan, owners of two Big Ten championships, is only one of four Big Ten schools that have won a title (Northwestern, Indiana and Wisconsin). Prior to this year, Northwestern and Indiana had combined to win all but two of the 28 titles. With the win on Sunday (April 25) over Indiana to earn the outright championship, U-M ended Northwestern's 11-year reign as conference champions.

Perfect 10-0 -- In addition to the team's 10-0 conference record, Mimi Nguyen and the doubles pair of Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno went undefeated throughout the conference season. Nguyen played at the No. 3 and 4 singles position throughout the conference slate, winning all 10 Big Ten matches to join Denise Muresan (2008) as the only current Wolverines to have had a perfect Big Ten record. Taney and Tatsuno went 10-0 at the No. 1 doubles position as Michigan won all 10 doubles points during the conference season.

How the Title Was Won -- Needing to win one of two matches last weekend to guarantee at least a share of the Big Ten, the Wolverines won both to secure their first Big Ten title in 13 years. On Saturday (April 24), U-M picked up a 5-2 win over No. 21 Illinois by winning the doubles point and four singles matches. The Wolverines then came back on Sunday (April 25) and dominated Indiana in a 6-1 triumph, dropping only the final match.

In its 10 conference wins, U-M only allowed Northwestern (3) and Illinois (2) more than one point. The Wolverines dropped just two doubles matches for a 28-2 overall record while going 50-10 in singles matches. [ Full Statistics ]

Nguyen Named Big Ten Athlete of the Week -- Mimi Nguyen picked up Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week honors this week (April 27) after helping Michigan win its second-ever Big Ten championship. She is the fourth Wolverine to earn the distinction this season, joining Michelle Sulahian (Feb. 2), Whitney Taney (March 2) and Denise Muresan (April 6) as honorees.

A Look at the Tournament -- With Saturday's (April 24) win over Illinois, the Wolverines assured themselves as the No. 1 seed for the tournament, holding the tiebreaker over Northwestern, the No. 2 seed. U-M, which won the conference outright, received a bye for the first round of competition and will take on either No. 8 Wisconsin (8-15, 3-7 Big Ten) or No. 9 Minnesota (10-13, 3-7 Big Ten) on Friday (April 30) at 10 a.m. CDT.

If Michigan advances to the semifinals, the Wolverines would take on either No. 4 Iowa (16-5, 6-4 Big Ten) or No. 5 Indiana (15-8, 5-5 Big Ten) on Saturday (May 2) at 10 a.m. The championship match is slated for Sunday (May 1) at noon CDT, with the winner earning the Big Ten's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. [ Tournament Central ]

TV Time -- The Big Ten Network will televise Sunday's Big Ten Tournament championship match on a tape delay on Sunday, May 9 at 5 p.m. [ Big Ten Network Schedule ]

Big Ten Tournament Dual Match Format -- Each dual match at the 2010 Big Ten Tournament 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 abandoned.

Streaking Singles - Mimi Nguyen is on a 15-match win streak with her last loss coming when she retired against Laurianne Henry of Clemson after U-M had already clinched the match. She has a 21-2 dual-match record after seeing time at No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles. Tania Mahtani has won her last eight while Denise Muresan has won 11 of her last 12 matches.

20 Part One - With Sunday's win over Indiana, the Wolverines hit the 20-win plateau for the third time in school history. U-M racked up 20 wins in 1990 and a program-best 21 wins in 1997. It is the fourth time head coach Ronni Bernstein has led her team to 20 wins and the first time at U-M. She led Florida International to 20-win seasons in 2000, 2001 and 2006. U-M has a chance to set the program record for wins in a season at the Big Ten Tournament.

20 Part Two -- Five Wolverines have won at least 20 matches this season, led by Denise Muresan's 32-11 overall record. Next is Michelle Sulahian with 28 wins, Mimi Nguyen with 27, Whitney Taney with 23 and Tania Mahtani with 21. Nguyen is the only one with at least 20 dual-match wins, going 21-2 during the regular season. On the doubles front, the No. 1 pair of Taney and Rika Tatsuno is 21-2, while Nguyen and Sulahian are 20-3.

Muresan Moving Up -- Denise Muresan, who has a 32-11 overall record, is currently tied for second place on the single-season wins list with Christine Schmeidel. With her win over No. 66 Kirsten Flower of Ohio State (April 11), Muresan became one of only four Wolverines to hit the 30-win plateau. Sarah Cyganiak holds the single-season record with 34 wins, set in 1995. In addition, Michelle Sulahian (28) is now in fifth place and Mimi Nguyen (27) sits in sixth place on the single-season list.

Michigan in the Rankings -- The Wolverines remained in the top five in the latest ITA rankings (April 27), staying at No. 4 for the third consecutive week. Denise Muresan is the only Wolverine ranked in singles, tabbed as No. 20. Juniors Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno come in at No. 23 as a doubles pair, moving up from No. 31 last week.

Knocking off Northwestern -- For the first time since 1997, U-M picked up a win over Northwestern, defeating the Wildcats, 4-3. In the process, Michigan snapped NU's 81-match Big Ten win streak that dated back to April 2004.

A Season of Firsts -- The lists of accomplishments for the Wolverines this season continues to grow with each passing weekend. U-M defeated its first top-10 opponent with a win over No. 6 Miami at the ITA Indoor Championships (Feb. 13). The Wolverines then knocked off their first top-five opponent in program history with a win over No. 5 Baylor (Feb. 26) before beating their highest ranked foe ever in No. 4 Northwestern (April 3). U-M has garnered the program's highest-ever ranking (No. 3) while making its first trip to the ITA Indoor Championships.

Dynamite Doubles -- U-M has won the doubles point in all but one match this season (No. 4 Florida, Feb. 12), sporting a 20-2 record when grabbing the early 1-0 lead. The Wolverines went 28-2 in doubles during Big Ten play, sweeping all three doubles matches on eight occasions.

Bernstein Against the Big Ten - Since taking over in Ann Arbor in the fall of 2007, head coach Ronni Bernstein is 28-2 against Big Ten opposition.

Playing the Best -- So far this season, U-M has faced 11 top-25 foes. Michigan has gone 8-3 in those matches, falling to No. 4 Florida (5-2), No. 6 Duke (5-2) and No. 13 Notre Dame (4-3). The Maize and Blue has knocked off No. 4 Northwestern (4-3), No. 5 Baylor (4-3), No. 6 Miami (4-3), No. 14 Clemson (5-2), No. 16 South Carolina (4-3), No. 18 Arkansas (5-2), No. 18 Iowa (6-1) and No. 21 Illinois (5-2).

Oh Captain! -- Junior Whitney Taney was voted by her teammates as the captain of the 2009-10 Wolverines. Taney was Michigan's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree last season, in addition to being named an ITA Scholar Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten. Every other Wednesday during the 2010 season, Taney will give a glimpse into the women's tennis team in her blog, Serving It Up.

From Afar -- Out of the eight athletes on the tennis team, not one of them is a native of Michigan. Four hail from California with Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas and Canada each producing one student-athlete. The only other varsity team at the University of Michigan that is full of non-Michiganders is, coincidentally, the men's tennis team.

Duo Signs to Join Wolverines -- Brooke Bolender, a Blue Chip recruit, along with five-star recruit Samantha Critser will join the Wolverines for the 2010-11 season. Together, the two make up the No. 6 recruiting class in the country. [ Release ]

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein enters her third season at the helm of Michigan women's tennis. In her first two seasons in Ann Arbor, Bernstein has compiled an impressive record of 37-13 with an 18-2 Big Ten Conference mark. She has led the Wolverines to postseason play in both seasons.

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.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, 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. 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. [ Check out both in our new publications section! ]

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. Just this past summer, outdoor chair back seating was added overlooking six of the outdoor courts.

Fri-Sun., May 14-16
-- at NCAA Regionals (Site TBD)