May 5, 2014
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The University of Michigan women's tennis team (21-4) heads to the NCAA Tournament for the 13th straight year, traveling to Los Angeles, Calif., to face Fresno State (16-8). Joining the Wolverines and Bulldogs at Marks Stadium are host and No. 16 seed USC (16-7) and Idaho (19-5). It is the first time since the 2008-09 season that U-M is playing on the road during regional action. Michigan is looking for its fifth straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
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. Singles matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be abandoned in postseason play.
Michigan (21-4) earned its 13th straight NCAA berth this season and will play on the road in the first two rounds for the first time since the 2008-09 season. The Wolverines are in search of their fifth straight Sweet 16 appearance.
U-M is one of four Big Ten teams headed to the NCAA Tournament, joining Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue in the field.
Michigan finished the regular season as the No. 17-ranked team by the ITA. Southern California comes in at No. 15 and Fresno State is listed at No. 68. Idaho is not ranked. New team rankings will not be released until the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament.
The Wolverines are 18-15 overall in the NCAA Tournament, making 15 appearances before this season. Michigan has won at least one match in all but three of its appearances.
U-M and Fresno State will be meeting for the first time in school history in Friday's (May 9) match. Fresno State features one ranked singles player in No. 72 Sophie Watts.
Michigan and USC have met seven times, with U-M holding a slight 4-3 advantage. The teams last squared off in the 2011 ITA Kick-Off, as the Wolverines pulled out a 4-3 win in a marathon match. USC has five ranked singles players in No. 17 Sabrina Santamaria, No. 19 Zoe Scandalis, No. 60 Giuliana Olmos, No. 92 Zoe Katz and No. 118 Gabriella DeSimone. Santamaria, however, is out for the season with injury. The Women of Troy feature four ranked doubles teams.
Michigan and Idaho have never met in program history.
The winner of this four-team regional will face the winner of the Georgia regional in the Round of 16. No. 1 seed Georgia, Elon, Arizona and Florida State are all participating in Athens, Ga.
Junior Emina Bektas and sophomore Ronit Yurovsky will each participate in the NCAA singles tournament, with Bektas teaming up with senior Brooke Bolender for the doubles tournament. It is the second straight season that Michigan will have two competitors in the singles tournament, which is slated for May 21-May 25 in Athens, Ga.
Emina Bektas is participating in the singles tourney for the third straight year, becoming the first Wolverine to earn three straight berths to the tournament. It is also the third straight season that she is teaming up with Brooke Bolender for the doubles tourney. They are the first duo to appear in three NCAA tournaments. Bolender is the only Wolverine in history to participate in four straight NCAA Individual Tournaments, appearing in four straight doubles tourneys.
Ronit Yurovsky is the fifth Wolverine in school history to earn two NCAA singles bids during a career.
Michigan was the only team to go 11-0 during the Big Ten portion of the season, becoming the first team to go 11-0 since the Big Ten expanded.
Four Wolverines were named All-Big Ten, led by Big Ten Player of the Year Emina Bektas. Ronit Yurovsky, Sarah Lee and Brooke Bolender all joined Bektas on the first team. Head coach Ronni Bernstein was named the Coach of the Year for the fifth straight season, marking the longest streak in Big Ten history.
Michigan has secured its fifth consecutive 20-win season after winning two matches at the Big Ten Tournament. U-M has reached the 20-win plateau five other times (1997, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) in school history. Five of Michigan's 20-win seasons have happened under seventh-year head coach Ronni Bernstein.
Michigan outscored its Big Ten opponents, 69-8, during conference play. U-M shut out six teams (Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue) and yielded just one point to Michigan State, Wisconsin and Indiana. Northwestern (3) and Ohio State (2) were the only two teams to score multiple points against the Wolverines.
Brooke Bolender now sits atop both Michigan's all-time singles wins and doubles wins lists. Bolender now has 120 doubles wins and 112 singles wins to set the benchmark in each category. She also holds the distinction of having the most combined singles and doubles wins with 232.
Emina Bektas set a new Michigan record after going 3-0 at the Big Ten Tournament, pushing her season mark to 37-6. The 37 wins eclipse the previous record of 35, set by Brooke Bolender in 2010-11. Bektas received a No. 9-16 seed for the upcoming NCAA Singles Championship, cementing her second singles All-America citation.
Emina Bektas has won 25 of her last 27 singles matches and sports a 23-2 mark in dual matches at the No. 1 spot. She was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week four times this season and is currently ranked No. 9 by the ITA. Bektas already has 95 career singles wins, which ranks fifth all-time at U-M.
The top of the lineup has been effective for Michigan, with the Wolverines totaling a 42-7 record at No. 1 and No. 2 singles through 25 matches.
The Wolverines have won 21 doubles points on the season, going 19-2 when winning the match's first point.
Brooke Bolender and Kristen Dodge serve as Michigan's team captains this season. Bolender was named captain for the second straight season and Dodge is in her first year as a captain. It is the first time since the 2010-11 season that U-M has two captains.
Senior Brooke Bolender is the team's lone senior this season, marking the third straight year that Michigan has featured just one senior.