When you ask seniors Kate Fahey and Brienne Minor a question about each other the responses are unfailingly filled with praise.
“I always love playing with Bri,” Fahey said, after Friday’s 5-0 win over Penn State. “She’s just so positive and so happy every time she steps on the court. I’m kind of more negative and more focused, so we kind of balance each other out. She reminds me to smile and stay positive. I think our games also complement each other pretty well. I’m usually steady and make more balls and she’s usually more aggressive and goes for more.”
The play of the Wolverines’ two seniors, Brienne Minor and Kate Fahey, is just different enough that they complement each other. Both their mental and physical approaches fit together like a puzzle, each player balancing out and filling the gaps in the other’s style.
Each senior has found success separately, with countless accolades, from All-Big Ten Honors to NCAA Championships, split between the two. But it is only right that the pair shone most brightly on their senior night as just that — a pair.
The two women embarked on this journey together, and were honored for their work together and made sure that their night was not spoiled together.
“Playing with Kate, it was fun that we got to have our last doubles match together at home,” Minor said.
The on-court chemistry between Michigan’s two seniors was on full display Friday afternoon as the decorated duo worked in synchrony to earn a No. 1 doubles 6-2 victory over Penn State sophomores Gabby O'Gorman and Olivia Rohrbacher. The match gave the Wolverines their first point en route to a 5-0 win. The pair fell behind 2-1 early in the set amongst a series of unforced errors, but quickly recovered and took control, ending the match by winning five consecutive games from that deficit.
“In the beginning, we started off kind of slow but the (Penn State) girls were big hitters so we were just kind of getting used to them,” Minor said.
A less experienced team could easily have been discouraged by this slow start. Not Michigan.
“I think in doubles, Kate and I have gotten on a roll and we have a lot of confidence together and we just trust each other out there,” Minor said.
It was that very confidence and trust that have made the pair, who have now won five straight doubles matches, so successful as of late. That helped them to victory on their night of honor. Where other teams would have wilted, the Wolverines’ ranked doubles team merely regrouped. Fahey and Minor kept their composure amid Penn State’s opening salvo, calmly communicating what went wrong after lost points and raising the energy after every point won until the mishaps started to dissipate following the third game. The energetic duo then turned the tides of match, eventually running away from their Nittany Lion opponents.
Fahey and Minor won five consecutive games en route to a 6-2 win, transforming what was once a hard-fought match into one marked by dominance.