Though the No. 6 Michigan men’s tennis team started by winning the doubles point, the true start of Sunday’s match was highlighted by sophomore Nino Ehrenschneider.
The Wolverines have been steadily gathering winning streaks throughout the season, including five of their top players have rising streaks of five or more singles matches. It’s safe to say that their preparation for the Big Ten Tournament is progressively reaching its culmination, and their matchups against Indiana are proof of that.
The Hoosiers learned how dangerous it is to lose the first singles match to Michigan. The Wolverines gathered three team points within minutes of each other and rolled through the majority of its individual matches to dominate Indiana, 6-1, just weeks before the Big Ten Tournament.
“Clinching the first point, getting on the board, it’s a big confidence boost for the whole team,” Styler said. “On the other side (of the court) too, seeing it on the board — it helps everyone.”
This accomplishment is made possible because of the Wolverines’ depth, which is illuminated by the bountiful win streaks surrounding the team. Ehrenschneider and senior Ondrej Styler were perfect examples of the high-level competition. It was these two wins that truly set the team on the path it needed to clinch the win against the Hoosiers, elevating Michigan’s winning streak to 13 matches.
Ehrenschneider, who won the first match, was playing off of the momentum of Styler from the start. Side-by-side, the two of them swept through their first sets. Of the two, Ehrenschneider (with a six-game streak) was the first to finish with a decisive 6-2 set, which paved the way for the rest of the match and set the stage for Styler (with a 10-game streak), who found victory in his match mere moments after.
With the two individual winning streaks elevated once more, they were able to gather the momentum they needed to uplift the rest of the team and guarantee success against the Hoosiers, only losing the one singles match.
“It’s not a surprise to us that we have a winning streak,” Styler said.
The Wolverines are confident in their ability to dominate their opponents, and have found a large amount of success doing exactly that throughout the season. No matter what opponent they have faced, they have undoubtedly shown that they are prepared to find postseason success.
The ability to gain confidence off of each other has led Michigan to multiple triumphs over high-level competition. Its wins against No. 1 Texas Christian and No. 2 Ohio State are a testament to that.
Coach Adam Steinberg believes that the current team is stepping up its game. Following the wave of achievements, there is no reason to change the formula. Instead, the Wolverines need to keep moving forward one game at a time.
“Every match in the Big Ten is like a tournament,” Steinberg said. “Now, we’re in the seventh round.”
And as the rounds get deeper, Michigan’s singles winning streaks continue to grow longer.