BY BRIAN MECHANICK
Daily Sports Writer
Published April 11, 2010
All good things must come to an end, and so it was for the Michigan men’s tennis team, as its undefeated Big Ten run was broken on Sunday.
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The 26th-ranked Wolverines split the weekend’s road series, beating Penn State, 4-3, on Friday and losing to No. 2 Ohio State, 6-1, on Sunday.
“I was pleased with the way our guys competed throughout the whole weekend,” Michigan coach Bruce Berque said. “We’ll take a split in the Big Ten. We’d rather have two, but Ohio State was just too good for us today.”
The second-ranked Buckeyes proved too much for the Wolverines. Michigan’s team of junior Jason Jung and freshman Evan King won again to tie up double play, but the pair of senior George Navas and senior Mike Sroczynski lost out on clinching the doubles point in a hard-fought 9-7 loss.
Navas was the only winner of the day in singles for the Wolverines. Facing the Buckeyes’ Shuhei Uzawa, Navas came through with a straight set 6-2, 6-4 win. All of the other Wolverines’ singles players fell in straight sets.
“I wouldn’t say we had an off-day,” Berque said. “I thought we played OK. We would have needed to be at the very top of our games on all the courts to beat them. I think it can happen, but we’ll need to get better to catch up to where they are.”
The weekend got off to a strong start in Happy Valley as the Wolverines took the opening point in doubles. The pair of Jung and King took the deciding match to clinch the point.
King got singles started off right for the Wolverines. After surviving a first set tiebreaker, he took the second set 6-3, giving No. 2 singles to Michigan. Sroczynski followed with his own straight-set win, sweeping the second set tiebreaker to avoid a third set.
With the Wolverines on the brink of victory with a 3-0 lead, Penn State mounted a comeback. The Nittany Lions took the next three matches, sas it all came down to junior Chris Madden in No. 5 singles.
Madden was down 3-1 in the third set, but managed to win five straight games to clinch the match and the win for the Wolverines (6-1 Big Ten, 10-8 overall).
“Our guys did a great job of keeping their composure,” Berque said. “We handled Penn State’s best tennis and a hostile crowd, and that was the key to us getting the win.”
Up next this Sunday, the Wolverines will meet Purdue in their final home game at the Varsity Tennis Center. The match is “Senior Day” for the squad, with the team honoring their two graduating players, Navas and Sroczynski.