May 13, 2010
SKILLMAN, N.J. -- University of Michigan women's tennis junior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson), head coach Ronni Bernstein and assistant coach Teryn Ashley-Fitch were each honored with Midwest Region awards by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Muresan was named the Player to Watch, Bernstein was tabbed the Coach of the Year and Ashley-Fitch was honored as the Assistant Coach of the Year.
Muresan, the Big Ten Player of the Year, is the first Wolverine to ever earn the honor of Player to Watch. She garnered the ITA honor after a 17-7 dual-match campaign at the No. 1 singles position. She carries a 32-12 overall ledger, putting her in second on the all-time single-season list at Michigan. Muresan recently earned a bid to play at the NCAA Singles Championships (May 26-31) for the first time in her career.
"Denise has had a break out year for us and really solidified our lineup at the top," Bernstein said. "She stepped up and improved this year and has taken her game to another level. With her work ethic and desire to improve, the sky is the limit for Denise. She could very well be one of the best players ever to play at Michigan. I am proud of what she has accomplished and excited to see just how good she can become."
To be eligible for the Player to Watch award, the player must be ranked and yet to make the finals of an ITA event. The player must have also had an outstanding season and be expected to perform at a high level for the rest of her career.
Bernstein, the Big Ten Coach of the Year, picked up Midwest Coach of the Year honors for first time in Michigan tenure. Now in her third year guiding the Wolverines, Bernstein led U-M (22-4) to its first Big Ten championship since 1997 after a 10-0 conference campaign. The Wolverines, who knocked off three top-10 opponents, earned their highest ranking in program history earlier this season.
Ashley-Fitch was honored as the Midwest Assistant Coach of the Year after helping the Wolverines to the most successful regular season in school history. Ashley-Fitch is instrumental in the day-to-day operations of the program while assisting Bernstein with all on-court coaching and player development.
"Teryn has brought so much to our program," Bernstein said. "She is a great friend and makes my job so easy in that we have a very similar coaching style. I know that the girls are always learning and getting better when they are on the court with her. Teryn is a huge reason our team has been so successful, and I feel extremely fortunate that I get to work with her every day."
U-M also won both Midwest coaching honors in 1997, when Bitsy Ritt took home Coach of the Year and Susan Courtright was named Assistant Coach of the Year.
All three Michigan honorees are now eligible for the ITA national awards, which will be released on May 25.
The Wolverines are back in action tomorrow (Friday, May 14) as they host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships at the Varsity Tennis Center. U-M was awarded the No. 4 seed and will take on Illinois-Chicago in the second match of the day at 2 p.m. The first match features No. 30 DePaul versus No. 34 Ohio State at 11 a.m. The winners of those two matches will then play in a second-round match on Saturday (May 15) at 1 p.m.
Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $4 for youth (18 & under) and senior citizens (55 and over). A Friday ticket permits attendance to both matches. Tickets will be available for purchase starting one hour prior to the first match each day.
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423