May 8, 2012
Interviews: Coach Bernstein | Brooke Bolender
HOST NCAA REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ann Arbor Regional Central | Live Results | NCAA Tournament Bracket
Friday, May 11 -- vs. Illinois-Chicago (Varsity Tennis Center), 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 12 -- NCAA Second Round (Varsity Tennis Center), 1 p.m.
The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (19-7, 10-1 Big Ten) will host an NCAA Championships regional for the third consecutive season, welcoming Illinois-Chicago (18-3), No. 21 Texas A&M (18-5) and LSU (11-12) to the Varsity Tennis Center. Michigan will take on UIC in first-round action on Friday (May 11) at 1 p.m., while No. 19 Texas A&M and LSU will square off against 10 a.m. The winners of the two first-round matches will face off on Saturday (May 12) at 1 p.m. with a berth to the Sweet 16 on the line.
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.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
A Look at Illinois-Chicago -- The Flames captured their 16th straight Horizon League title, defeating Cleveland State, 4-0 (April 29), to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament -- the program's 14th consecutive NCAA appearance. UIC is led by four-time Horizon League Player of the Year Mariya Kovaleva, who boasts an 18-12 singles record, including a 13-5 dual-match mark from the No. 1 position. U-M is 3-0 against UIC all-time.
A Look at Texas A&M -- The 19th-ranked Aggies are 18-5 on the season and had won five straight matches before falling to rival Texas, 4-2, in the Big 12 Championship final. Texas A&M boasts a pair of nationally ranked singles players, including No. 8 Cristina Sanchez-Quaintanar, who is 35-5 overall and 22-1 in dual competition. Michigan trails in the all-time series against Texas A&M, 1-2, but claimed the most-recent meeting, 6-1, in 2009.
A Look at LSU -- The Tigers carry an 11-12 overall record and went 4-7 in SEC action before falling to Arkansas, 4-1, in the first round of the conference tournament on April 19. Olivia Howlett leads the LSU team with a 20-15 singles record, including an 11-10 dual mark. Michigan and LSU have not faced each other in dual competition.
Where We Rank -- Michigan holds the No. 15 position in the most-recent ITA rankings, released Monday, April 30. U-M boasts two individual singles rankings and a top-10 doubles rankings. Freshman Emina Bektas headlines the contingent with the No. 12 ranking, while sophomore Brooke Bolender checks in at No. 93. On the doubles side, Michigan's duo of Bektas and Bolender list as the nation's No. 11 pairing. [ ITA Rankings ]
NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES
Hosting Again -- For the third straight year, the Wolverines have earned the right to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Last season, U-M welcomed Akron, Tulsa and Nebraska to the Varsity Tennis Center, defeating the Zips, 4-0, in the first round before edging Tulsa, 4-1, in the second to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year.
Michigan in the NCAA Tourney -- The Wolverines are making their 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their 14th overall. After last season's 2-1 mark, the Maize and Blue own a 13-12 ledger in tournament matches. U-M has advanced to the Sweet 16 three times in program history, including each of the last two seasons. In Ronni Bernstein's tenure at Michigan, the Wolverines are 6-4 in NCAA matches.
Big Success for the Big Ten -- Six Big Ten Conference schools earned selection to the 64-team NCAA Championships bracket. The selections mark the second time in the last three years the conference has boasted six seeds in the tournament. Purdue garnered the conference's automatic selection as the tournament winner, while U-M, Northwestern, Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois earned at-large selection.
Playing the Best -- Of Michigan's 26 opponents this season, 15 qualified for the NCAA Championships, including three teams seeded among the tournament's top 10. The Wolverines went 9-7 against NCAA competition, knocking off Yale, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Hawaii, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois and Nebraska. U-M dropped matches to Tennessee, Duke, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Northwestern and Purdue.
Individual Effort -- Freshman Emina Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender will represent the Wolverines at the 2012 NCAA Individual Championships. Bektas earned a 9-16 seed for the singles competition, guaranteeing herself ITA All-America status, and will team with Bolender for the 32-team doubles competition.
MICHIGAN BY THE NUMBERS:
Complete Statistics: Through April 29
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.
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 104-30 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 269-101 (.727) career coaching record.
Double Dip -- The Wolverines have lost just one doubles match in their last seven dual contests, sweeping the doubles competition in each of their final four regular-season dual matches and winning the first two off court in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. Michigan has claimed the doubles point in 17 of 26 dual matches this season, combining for a 51-20 doubles record in dual action.
Strong on Top -- Michigan's No. 1 doubles team of freshman Emina Bektasand sophomore Brooke Bolender extended their win streak to 11 consecutive matches with their wins against Indiana, Illinois and Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament. 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 7-5 against ranked opposition this season.
Freshman Phenom(s) -- Freshmen Emina Bektas and Sarah Lee currently share the team lead in singles wins with 31. The duo already own a share of the seventh position among Michigan's all-time single-season leaders, sophomore Sam Critser (31, 2011). Lee needs just one more win to reach the fifth spot, currently held by Christine Schmeidel (32, 1990) and senior Michelle Sulahian (32, 2010). Michigan had three players with more than 30 wins last year, including then-freshmen Brooke Bolender and Sam Critser. Bolender established a new Michigan record in the category with 35 wins.
Mimi's Moving Up -- Junior Mimi Nguyen improved to 79-33 in her collegiate singles career, claiming sole possession of the 14th position among Michigan's all-time winningest singles players. Nguyen needs just one more win to reach the 12th spot, currently held by Danielle Lund (80, 1997-2000).
Comeback Kid -- Freshman Sarah Lee has battled back from early deficits to claim two of her last four wins, including a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 decision against Ohio State's Fidan Manashirova in the regular-season finale. 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.
Climbing the Charts -- Senior Michelle Sulahian owns an 83-47 record in her collegiate singles career to claim sole possession of the 10th position among Michigan's all-time career win 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 104-30 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.
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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