Weekly Release #15: Wolverines Host NCAA Regional Championship
Mimi Nguyen

May 10, 2010


(Varsity Tennis Center)
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Friday, May 14
-- #30 DePaul vs. #34 Ohio State, 11 a.m.
Friday, May 14 -- MICHIGAN vs. Illinois-Chicago, 2 p.m.
Saturday, May 15 -- MICHIGAN or Illinois-Chicago vs. Ohio State or DePaul, 1 p.m.

The No. 4-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team secured the No. 4 seed for the NCAA Championships and will host a regional championship for the first time in school history this Friday and Saturday (May 14-15). Joining U-M at the Varsity Tennis Center are No. 30 DePaul, No. 34 Ohio State and Illinois-Chicago. The first matchup will be No. 30 DePaul against No. 34 Ohio State on Friday (May 14) at 11 a.m. U-M will square off against UIC at 2 p.m. to complete Friday's action. The two winners will then face each other on Saturday (May 15) at 1 p.m. for a berth to the NCAA Team Championships at the University of Georgia.

Nine in a Row -- The Wolverines return to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth consecutive year and are hosting a Regional Championship for the first time in school history. It is the 12th overall appearance for U-M, which has a 9-10 overall record at the NCAA Championships.

Individual NCAA Championships -- The Wolverines will have representatives at both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships for the first time since 2004. Denise Muresan, currently ranked No. 19, will participate in the singles tournament, while the No. 19-ranked duo of Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno earned the Big Ten's automatic berth to the doubles tournament. The NCAA Individuals begin on May 26 and run through May 31 at the University of Georgia.

Looking to Advance -- The Wolverines are looking to advance to the NCAA Team Championships for the second time in program history. The only other time Michigan made an appearance at the Team Championships was in 1997, when the Wolverines fell to top-seeded and defending national champion Florida.

First For the Women, Second for the VTC -- This weekend's regional marks the first time the women's team has hosted a regional but the second time around for the Varsity Tennis Center. The men's tennis team was tabbed to host during the 2008 season, using the home court advantage to advance to the Sweet 16.

Playing the Best -- Of U-M's 23 opponents this season, 15 were invited to the NCAA Championships. Baylor, which the Wolverines defeated 4-3 on Feb. 24, is the No. 1 overall seed with Florida (No. 3), Notre Dame (No. 5), Northwestern (No. 6), Clemson (No. 9), Duke (No. 10) and Miami (No. 11) all earning top-16 seeds. The Wolverines went 13-4 against NCAA participants, squaring off against Northwestern (1-1) and Iowa (2-0) twice.

Ranked Players in Ann Arbor -- In addition to three ranked teams, there are three ranked singles players and two ranked doubles teams competing at the Varsity Tennis Center this weekend. No. 19 Denise Muresan (U-M), No. 71 Kirsten Flower (Ohio State) and No. 72 Anna Redecsi (DePaul) are the three singles players with rankings, while DePaul sports the No. 18 duo of Anna Redecsi and Selma Slakovic and Michigan's pair of Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno rank No. 19.

Sweeping Awards -- For the first time ever, the Wolverines swept all three individual awards given out by the Big Ten Conference. Denise Muresan was named the Player of the Year, Mimi Nguyen was selected as Freshman of the Year and Ronni Bernstein was picked as the Coach of the Year. In addition, Muresan, Nguyen and Whitney Taney were all named All-Big Ten. [ Big Ten Honors ]

20 and Counting -- With a Big Ten Tournament semifinal win over Iowa (May 1), the Wolverines set a new program best for wins in a season at 22. The previous best was 21 wins during the 1997 season when U-M went 21-5 and advanced to the NCAA Team Championships for the only time in program history.

Michigan's 22 wins also mark the third time that the 20-win plateau has been reached (1990, 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.

Individual 20 -- Five Wolverines have won at least 20 matches this season, led by Denise Muresan's 32-12 overall record. Next is Michelle Sulahian with 30 wins, Mimi Nguyen with 28, Whitney Taney with 25 and Tania Mahtani with 22. On the doubles front, the No. 1 pair of Taney and Rika Tatsuno is 23-2, while Nguyen and Sulahian are 20-6 in dual matches. Muresan and Sulahian are the first U-M teammates to both reach 30 wins in a single season.

A Look at the Opponents

Illinois-Chicago -- The Wolverines are 2-0 all-time against the Flames, winning both contests by a 7-0 margin. UIC (20-3) comes into the match as the Horizon League champion and winners of 11 straight matches. Horizon League Player of the Year Mariya Kovaleva leads the way with a 25-5 overall record for the Flames along with All-League picks Ilinca Cristescu (21-10) and Elena Antakova (22-8). It is the 12th straight year that Illinois-Chicago has made the NCAA postseason.

No. 30 DePaul -- The Blue Demons (18-5) are making their first-ever NCAA appearance. The trio of Selma Salkovic, Katarina Milinkovic and Anna Redecsi were all named to the All-BIG EAST squad, while Redecsi is the lone Blue Demon to be ranked (No. 72). U-M is a perfect 7-0 against DePaul, with the teams last meeting during the 2006 season, a 4-3 Michigan victory (Jan. 21, 2006) at the VTC.

No. 34 Ohio State -- U-M defeated Ohio State, 6-1, earlier this season at the Varsity Tennis Center (April 11). The Buckeyes (19-9) feature No. 71 Kirsten Flower, who was named All-Big Ten this season. Should U-M and Ohio State meet, it will be the fourth time this season the Wolverines have faced an opponent twice (Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin).

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 a 6-1 win over Indiana on April 25 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.

Nguyen Named Big Ten Athlete of the Week -- Mimi Nguyen picked up Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week honors 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. U-M led the conference with four weekly selections throughout the season.

NCAA Championships Dual Match Format -- Each dual match throughout the 2010 NCAA Championships 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.

Muresan, Sulahian and Nguyen Moving Up -- Denise Muresan, who has a 32-12 overall record, is currently tied for second place on the single-season wins list with Christine Schmeidel. Sarah Cyganiak holds the single-season record with 34 wins, set in 1995. In addition, Michelle Sulahian (30) is now in third place and Mimi Nguyen (28) sits in fifth place on the single-season list.

Michigan in the Rankings -- The Wolverines remained in the top five in the latest ITA rankings (May 3), staying at No. 4 for the fourth consecutive week. Denise Muresan is the only Wolverine ranked in singles, tabbed as No. 19. Juniors Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno come in at No. 19 as a doubles pair, moving up from No. 23 last week.

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. With the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Championships, it is the highest seed ever received and the first time U-M has hosted a regional.

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.
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.

Thu-Tue., May 20-25
-- at NCAA Championships (Athens, Ga.)