Weekly Release #18: Wolverines to Trek West for NCAA Championships

May 17, 2011

NCAA Team Championships (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Video Preview | Live Video/Live Scoring | Tournament Central | NCAA Bracket
Friday, May 20
-- vs. No. 7 Miami (Fla.), noon PDT
Sunday, May 22 -- Quarterfinals, Noon PDT
Monday, May 23 -- Semifinals, 4 p.m. PDT
Tuesday, May 24 -- National Championship, 4 p.m. PDT

The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (24-4) earned its second consecutive Sweet 16 berth by defeating Akron and No. 22 Tulsa this past weekend (Sat-Sun., May 14-15) in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament at the Varsity Tennis Center. U-M will square off against No. 7 Miami (Fla.) for the second time this season in the Round of 16 on Friday (May 20) at noon PDT. The remainder of the NCAA Championships is taking place at Stanford University's Taube Family Tennis Center in Palo Alto, Calif.


Moving On! -- For the second straight year, the Wolverines have secured an NCAA Sweet 16 berth after dispatching of Akron (4-0) on Saturday (May 14) and Tulsa, 4-1, on Sunday (May 15) at the Varsity Tennis Center. Michigan won the doubles point in both matches, using singles wins from Denise Muresan, Sam Critser and Mimi Nguyen to get past Akron, while Muresan, Critser and Whitney Taney won against the Golden Hurricane to help U-M advance to the finals site.

Michigan in the NCAA Tourney --The Wolverines are making their 10th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their 13th overall. With this season's 2-0 mark, the Maize and Blue sport a 13-11 ledger in tournament matches. U-M has advanced to the Sweet 16 three times, with this season's appearance marking the first time Michigan has ever made back-to-back appearances. In Ronni Bernstein's tenure at Michigan, the Wolverines are 6-3 in the NCAA Tournament.

We Meet Again -- Friday's match marks the second meeting for Michigan and Miami this season, as the Hurricanes took a 4-3 decision in Coral Gables on March 2. Miami won the doubles point and took singles wins at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5 for the 4-3 win. Brooke Bolender (No. 3), Whitney Taney (No. 4) and Rika Tatsuno (No. 6) all earned singles victories, but it was not enough for the Wolverines, who fell in their first outdoor match of the season.

Scouting Miami -- The No. 7-seeded Hurricanes (20-8) knocked off Florida International (4-0) and Texas (4-1) to reach the round of 16 for the sixth consecutive season. Miami features three ranked singles players, led by No. 6 Bianca Eichkorn, and two ranked doubles teams. The Hurricanes lead the all-time series against the Wolverines, 7-5.

Dubs, Dubs, Dubs -- Michigan's strength this season has been on the doubles court, as U-M has won 25 of 28 doubles points. The Wolverines, who are 23-2 when recording the first marker of the match, sport a 66-11 dual-match record in doubles.

Strong in the Middle -- Michigan has been solid in the middle of the lineup, going 25-1 at the No. 3 position and 24-3 at the No. 4 slot in dual-match play. The No. 3 spot has been patrolled by Brooke Bolender (9-1), Whitney Taney (10-0), Sam Critser (5-0) and Mimi Nguyen (1-0). Taney carries a 10-2 mark at No. 4, while Critser (10-1), Bolender (1-0) and Nguyen (3-0) have all seen action at No. 4 as well.

30 times 3 -- With two wins over the weekend during NCAA Regional action, freshman Sam Critser became the third Wolverine to win 30 singles matches this season. Critser carries a 31-11 overall record, joining Brooke Bolender (35-8) and Denise Muresan (32-10) in the 30-win club. It is the first time that Michigan has had three Wolverines reach the mark in the same season.

Back to the West Coast -- Michigan features four players on the roster from the state of California in Sam Critser (Mountain View), Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach), Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen) and Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes). It is the first action for U-M in the Golden State this season.

24 Is The Standard -- With its 4-1 win over Tulsa in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Michigan won its 24th match of the season to tie the best mark in school history. U-M went 24-5 last season, falling to Tennessee in the Sweet 16. It is the fourth time the Wolverines have reached the 20-win plateau. In addition to the past two seasons, U-M won 20 in 1990 and 21 in 1997.

Saying Goodbye to the Varsity Tennis Center -- The senior class of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney, Rika Tatsuno and Kari Wig played their final home matches last weekend, defeating Akron and Tulsa to advance in the NCAA Tournament. With this year's 16-1 home record, the quartet ended its career with a 45-3 ledger at the VTC.

A Pair of Hundreds -- The doubles tandem of Rika Tatsuno and Whitney Taney won two more doubles matches over the weekend, moving its season record to 25-7. With the two wins, Tatsuno joined Taney as the only Wolverines in program history to win 100 doubles matches in a career. Tatsuno is 100-43, while Taney sports a 114-33 record. Together, the pair is 79-26 on the doubles court.

We're Going Streaking -- Whitney Taney carries Michigan's longest win streak at 18, as she has not dropped a singles match since falling to Clemson's Klara Vyskocilova on Feb. 20. On the doubles court, Denise Muresan and Brooke Bolender have won 13 straight at the No. 1 position, with Taney and Rika Tatsuno sporting a 17-match win streak at No. 2.

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. Of those 10 teams, seven have advanced to the Sweet 16 (Northwestern, Stanford, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Vanderbilt and Miami).

Teryn Going Back -- Michigan associate head coach Teryn Ashley-Fitch will return to her alma mater when the Wolverines head to Stanford this week. Ashley-Fitch was a four-year letterwinner for the Cardinal (1996-2000), helping Stanford to NCAA Championships in 1997 and 1999. She was a five-time All-America selection and four-time All-Pac 10 performer.

Ties for Ronni, Too -- Ronni Bernstein will face her alma mater, Miami, in the Sweet 16. Bernstein was a four-year letterwinner (1984-88) for the Hurricanes, winning the NCAA doubles championship in 1986 and earning NCAA Senior Player of the Year honors in 1988. At Michigan, Bernstein is 1-3 against Miami.

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 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 95-51 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.

And Yet More Awards -- After guiding Michigan to its second straight Big Ten championship, head coach Ronni Bernstein was named the ITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year. It is the second consecutive year Bernstein has won the honor. Brooke Bolender continued her stellar first year, earning ITA Midwest Rookie of the Year honors.

Big Ten Tourney Rewind -- For the first time since 2000, the Wolverines served as host of the Big Ten Tournament. 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.

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." The Wolverines are in search of their second tournament title, winning it all in 1997.

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.

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 85 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 109-45 with her winning percentage of .708 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 ]

In the Rankings -- The Wolverines stayed at No. 10 in this week's edition of the poll, which is computer based and the last poll until after the conclusion of the NCAA Championship. 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.

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.

May 25-30
-- at NCAA Singles/Doubles Championships (Palo Alto, Calif.)

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423