The Minnesota No. 2 doubles team served, volleyed and hit one last shot that soared out of bounds.
The crowd went wild after the shot to end the match. The Golden Gophers duo approached the net as the Michigan pair on the other side embraced and celebrated.
A moment of relief, emotion and sweet, sweet victory for the 24th-ranked Wolverines, and thus set the scene for the incredible performance that was put on Sunday afternoon.
Michigan (9-4 overall, 5-0 Big Ten) was absolutely dominant as it swept Minnesota (10-7, 3-2) to remain undefeated in conference play.
Michigan earned the doubles point as No. 1 doubles senior duo, Kate Fahey and Brienne Minor, cruised to a 6-0 victory over Cammy Frei and Caitlyn Merzbacher. The Wolverines’ second doubles victory came from junior Giulia Pairone and freshman Anca Craciun as they battled from being down 3-1 to come back and tie it at three. The match went back and forth, and Michigan finally came away with a 7-6 victory, clinching the doubles point.
Minor and Fahey, a new and exceptionally-dynamic pair, are undefeated in conference play and have shown that they are a force to be reckoned with.
“I think we just know each other really well,” Minor said. “We know how we’re going to be on the court and what decisions we’re going to make. We trust each other.”
The Wolverines continued their strength and momentum as Fahey quickly shut down Minnesota's Tina Kreinis, 6-1, 6-2, in the No. 1 slot. Next, after being down 3-1 in the first set, Craciun convincingly defeated Juliet Zhang, 6-3, 6-1, at the No. 5 spot.
Soon thereafter, Pairone, running on motivation and pure efficiency post her doubles triumph, secured a win against Tiffany Huber, 6-2, 6-2, to secure the Michigan victory.
“I’m really excited to play singles after doubles, especially when you win,” Pairone said. “There’s a lot of energy and … I’m fighting for my team. I know that I have to do my best, and that’s motivation. Cheering is a big part of our team, and we always try to support each other.”
The Wolverines came away with wins from the remaining singles matches, with junior Chiara Lommer winning 6-3, 6-2, Minor coming back with a 6-4, 7-6 victory, and sophomore Alyvia Jones sealing of the Minnesota sweep with a 6-4, 10-7 win.
With the team’s extraordinary display of sportsmanship, stamina and skill, Michigan head coach Ronni Bernstein offered praise for her team's overall performance.
“… I think that might be some of the best tennis we’ve played, actually,” Bernstein said. “I feel like the group’s feeling confident with each other, I think they’re trusting each other on the court which is going to be key as we move forward.”