Wolverines continue uncharacteristic losing streak

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 10:08pm

The Michigan women's tennis team is just 4-8 this season.

The Michigan women's tennis team is just 4-8 this season. Buy this photo
Prashanth Panicker/Daily

The Michigan women’s tennis team is struggling, to say the least.

It had two opportunities this weekend to get its season back on track, but the Wolverines (4-8) fell to Baylor on Friday, 4-0, and to No. 14 Texas on Sunday, 4-0.

Often, the doubles point has the power to set the tone for a match and after Michigan dropped both of them it couldn’t recover. The Wolverines couldn’t even win a game Friday, with both No. 2 and No. 3 doubles dropping their matches, 6-0.

Michigan’s loss at No. 3 clinched the doubles point for the Bears. The Baylor pair engaged the Wolverines in a long cross court rally, pushing sophomore Chiara Lommer out wide. It forced sophomore Lera Patiuk to cheat to the middle of the court and the Bears duo sent the ball down the line past Patiuk, ending the match.

The somber mood continued into singles play, as the first three singles matches off the court were Baylor wins. If Michigan had won the doubles point, it may have been able to notch the win. Junior Kate Fahey had secured the first set and was tied at three in the second, freshman Alyvia Jones had forced a third set and junior Brienne Minor was in a second set tiebreaker after winning the first.

But in the end, it wasn’t enough.

The match against the Longhorns provided an opportunity to turn the weekend around, but the Wolverines didn’t even appear to be competitive. They dropped the doubles matches quickly at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots losing, 6-2 and 6-1, respectively.

It was a quick day for Texas’ Marta Perez-Mur as she needed just under an hour to dispatch of senior Mira Ruder-Hook, 6-0, 6-0. Minor and Jones weren’t far behind, and the Longhorns clinched the match easily.

As if Michigan wasn’t already frustrated, the conditions were a tennis player’s worst nightmare. The winds reached up to 20 miles per hour and it was just the second time the Wolverines have played outside this season.

It seems that no matter what Michigan does, it can’t seem to find a groove — and time is running out.

With Big Ten play starting next week, the time of blaming losses on injuries, the weather or it just ‘not being their day’ is over. This has been an uncharacteristic season for the Wolverines, and how they react from this point on will show the teams’ true colors.

“We still have a lot to play for and that’s kind of been our message to the girls,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “When we start Big Ten season next weekend we’re zero for zero.

“It’s sort of like gut check time for our team. It’s what we’re going to do with it. If we can sort of have a short memory … and get a win. I think it’s going to be getting one win at this point and just getting a little confidence.”

Michigan’s struggles may be as simple as a lack of confidence, but Big Ten play should reveal the truth. The Wolverines normally blow through conference play, so if the next couple of weeks pose challenges for Michigan there may be a bigger issue to worry about.