Michigan women’s tennis clinches Big Ten again

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By Mitch Beckman, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 20, 2014

Another year, another Big Ten title for the Michigan women’s tennis team.

What would be an accomplishment for most teams has become commonplace for the Wolverines, who clinched their fifth consecutive conference championship this weekend.

Michigan defeated Indiana in Bloomington to clinch at least a share of the title, and then proceeded to seal the outright championship with a win Sunday against Purdue. Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein has now won a remarkable five titles in just seven years with the team.

“I’m obviously proud, but it’s more about the kids,” Bernstein said. “It’s a long season and you deal with injuries, but the girls each weekend go out and play hard for Michigan. It’s a little bit of good luck but it’s also having good players.”

The 6-1 shellacking of Indiana — the Wolverines’ 10th straight win — was highlighted by a pair of identical 8-1 wins from doubles No. 2 and 3, which consisted of the tandem of sophomore Amy Zhu, junior Sarah Lee and the pair of sophomore Ronit Yurovsky and freshman Laura Ucros, respectively.

No. 12 junior Emina Bektas continued her strong season, winning handily, 6-2, 6-0 in singles No. 1’s. Michigan won five of six singles matches and swept all three doubles matchups.

The lopsided victories were nothing new to Michigan, which outscored Big Ten opponents 69-8 on the season and will now focus on taking that momentum to the tournament.

On Sunday, Michigan’s commanding 7-0 sweep of Purdue clinched the conference for the Wolverines. The dominant performance featured Lee winning 6-2, 6-1, and the No. 1 doubles team of Bektas and senior captain Brooke Bolender winning 8-3.

Bektas also won in singles, 6-4, 6-0, giving her a 10-1 record in Big Ten singles play this season.

“It can be difficult on the road,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “Purdue is a challenge for us, and we competed hard all the way and won a lot of big points. Overall today, it was a team win for sure, but we can absolutely get better.”

The fifth straight title is something to be proud of, but the Wolverines are keeping their eyes focused on what’s ahead, not on what it has already done. Next week the team will take its unblemished conference record into the Big Ten Tournament, and NCAA regionals begin May 9.

“We need to be ready for every match and continue to step up,” Bernstein said. “It’s going to be tough because we build up how important the regular season is, but now we almost have to forget about it in a couple days and get ready for the tournament. We talk the whole year about one match at a time. Everyone needs to just take care of their court.”