Weekly #17: U-M to Welcome in Trio for NCAA Regional This Weekend

May 10, 2011

Denise Muresan Interview

Saturday, May 14
-- vs. Akron (Varsity Tennis Center), 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 15 -- NCAA Second Round (Varsity Tennis Center), 1 p.m.

The No. 10-ranked Wolverines (22-4) will host an NCAA Championships regional for the second consecutive season, welcoming No. 22 Tulsa (25-2), Nebraska (20-7) and Akron (20-4) to the Varsity Tennis Center. Michigan will take on Akron in first-round action on Saturday (May 14) at 1 p.m., while Nebraska and Tulsa will square off against 10 a.m. The winners of the two first-round matches will face off on Sunday (May 15) at 1 p.m. with a berth to the Sweet 16 on the line.


Hosting Again -- For the second straight year, the Wolverines have won the right to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Last season, U-M welcomed Ohio State, Illinois-Chicago and DePaul to the Varsity Tennis Center and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997. The Wolverines will play host to No. 22 Tulsa, Nebraska and Akron this season, just the second time the VTC will serve as a host facility. The winner of this weekend's regional will move on to the round of 16 at Stanford University's Taube Tennis Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

Michigan in the NCAA Tourney -- The Wolverines are making their 10th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their 13th overall. After last season's 2-1 mark, the Maize and Blue sport an even 11-11 ledger in tournament matches. U-M has advanced to the Sweet 16 twice, including last season. In Ronni Bernstein's tenure at Michigan, the Wolverines are 4-3.

A Plethora of 20-win Teams -- The 2011 edition of the NCAA Tournament features 17 teams that have won at least 20 matches this season. The Ann Arbor Regional is the only regional to feature four teams that have reached the 20-win plateau. Tulsa leads the way with a 25-2 record, followed by Michigan (22-3), Akron (20-4) and Nebraska (20-7).

Playing the Best -- Of Michigan's 23 opponents this season, 10 qualified for the NCAA Championships, including top-seeded Stanford. The Wolverines went 7-4 against NCAA competition, knocking off Northwestern, Notre Dame, Southern California, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, South Florida and Clemson. U-M dropped matches to Northwestern, North Carolina, Stanford and Miami.

A Look at Akron -- The Zips won the Mid-American Conference's automatic bid and are making their first-ever NCAA appearance. U-M and Akron have never met on the tennis court, but Michigan knocked off its only other MAC opponent this season (Western Michigan). Akron is led by three-time MAC Player of the Year Zara Harutyunyan at the No. 1 position, and the Zips enter the tournament on a four-match win streak.

A Glimpse at 2012 -- With Nebraska coming to town for this weekend's regional action, U-M will get a preview of the 2012 edition of the Big Ten. The Huskers and Wolverines could potentially meet in the second round of this year's tournament and are slated to play next year in Lincoln, Nebraska's first year in the Big Ten.

Bolender and Muresan Qualify for Individuals -- For the second consecutive season, the Wolverines will have participants in both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Denise Muresan was awarded the Big Ten's automatic berth for the singles tournament and enters as the No. 8 seed. Muresan and Brooke Bolender also grabbed the conference's automatic bid for the doubles tournament and will be a No. 5-8 seed. Freshman Sam Critser is listed as the No. 7 alternate for the singles tournament, which runs May 25-30 at Stanford.

Bolender Sets Single Season Mark -- With a win over Ohio State's Kelsey Haviland in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, freshman Brooke Bolender won her 35th match of the season to set a new single-season program mark. Bolender, the 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, carries a 35-8 overall record to beat Sarah Cyganiak's mark of 34 wins during the 1995 season.

Tatsuno Leaving Her Mark -- Rika Tatsuno won the 95th match of her career during the Big Ten Tournament, putting her in a tie for fourth place on the career list. She carries a career record of 95-50 and is the only current Wolverine to have seen action at all six singles positions.

Sweep...Again -- For the second consecutive season, the Wolverines swept all three individual awards. Denise Muersan became the first player in program to repeat as Big Ten Player of the Year, while Ronni Bernstein was named Coach of the Year and Brooke Bolender was honored as Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Muresan and Bolender were joined by Whitney Taney and Sam Critser on the All-Big Ten first team.

Big Ten Tourney Rewind -- For the first time since 2000, the Wolverines served as host of the Big Ten Tournament, held April 28-May 1. U-M breezed past Minnesota in the quarterfinal round (5-0) and Ohio State in the semifinals (4-0) to set up its seventh straight showdown with Northwestern in the finals. The Wolverines raced out to a 3-0 advantage on the Wildcats but dropped the final four singles matches on court as NU stormed back for the 4-3 win.

Dubs, Dubs, Dubs -- Michigan's strength this season has been on the doubles court, as U-M has won 23 of 26 doubles points this season. The Wolverines, who are 21-2 when recording the first marker of the match, sport a 62-10 dual-match record in doubles.

Strong in the Middle -- Michigan has been solid in the middle of the lineup, going 24-1 at the No. 3 position and 22-3 at the No. 4 slot in dual-match play. The No. 3 spot has been patrolled by Brooke Bolender (9-1), Whitney Taney (9-0), Sam Critser (5-0) and Mimi Nguyen (1-0). Taney carries a 10-2 mark at No. 4, while Critser (8-1), Bolender (1-0) and Nguyen (3-0) have all seen action at No. 4 as well.

Getting Used to the VTC -- The Wolverines have played 15 matches at the Varsity Tennis Center this season, going 14-1 in those matches. The 15 total matches tie the most home matches in school history, which came in 2000. U-M went 6-9 during that season. With this weekend's regional, Michigan has the potential to end the season having played 17 home matches. Since Ronni Bernstein has taken over in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines have a 43-3 record at the VTC.

Big Ten Champs...Again! -- With a 6-1 dismantling of No. 17 Northwestern on 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.

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.

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. The Maize and Blue set the program for wins last season at 24.

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 83 wins over the past four years, breaking the previous mark of 78 (2007-10).

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 107-45 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 ]

Taney Hits Triple Digits -- With a doubles win against South Florida on March 18, senior Whitney Taney became the first Wolverine to win 100 doubles matches in a career. Taney has an all-time mark of 112-33 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 (77-26), 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, coming in at No. 8 in this week's rankings. Sam Critser (No. 67), Brooke Bolender (No. 81) and Whitney Taney (No. 82) all round out Michigan's ranked singles players. On the doubles front, the duo of Muresan and Bolender comes in at No. 8, with Taney and Rika Tatsuno ranking No. 64.

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.

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.

Thu-Mon., May 19-30
-- at NCAA Championships (Palo Alto, Calif.)

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423