At a packed Varsity Tennis Center, the No. 7 Michigan men’s tennis team looked to end the season on a high note and head into the Big Ten Tournament as one of the premier teams in the country.
The Wolverines (17-3 overall, 7-1 Big Ten) cruised to a win, standing strong in their final home match versus Michigan State (14-12, 1-7) on Sunday as Michigan defeated the Spartans 6-1.
“The guys played for each other and it was a great match,” Michigan coach Adam Steinberg said.
As the Wolverines fed off one another and the crowd’s energy, their confidence rose as they culminated two-set wins in each of the first six matches.
The power duo of sophomore Gavin Young and senior Andrew Fenty came out firing. They raced out to a 6-0 win, setting the tempo for the Wolverines.
A pair of reserve seniors, Ryan Fu and Johnny Yaffe, secured Michigan’s second set in doubles play. On their Senior Day, they did not disappoint, hanging on to win 6-5.
“We wanted to give Ryan and Johnny, two seniors, a chance to play,” Steinberg said “Ryan stepped up and I thought he was great.”
In a tightly contested set, the veteran duo of senior Patrick Maloney and graduate student Nick Beaty won 7-5 to finish undefeated in doubles play on the day.
Determined performances from Fenty and sophomore Gavin Young highlighted the afternoon’s single play. In straight sets, Young showed his abilities, winning 6-0, 6-2.
For his part, Fenty put on a show – dominating with a particularly strong second set and winning 6-2, 6-1. With his win, Fenty put Michigan in a winning position, now up 3-0.
“It felt today like I played a great, confident match,” Fenty said. “I tried to be consistent and aggressive at the same time and it worked out.”
In the No. 1 singles match, junior Ondrej Styler secured the victory for the Wolverines winning 6-3, 6-3.
The final three singles matches featured two more wins for Michigan, Maloney and sophomore Jacob Bickersteth won 6-2, 6-2, and 6-2, 6-4 respectively. The final point though fell in favor of the Spartans as senior Nick Beaty lost a highly contested 10-point tiebreaker after winning the first set 6-2.
Although the Wolverines dropped the final match, the 6-1 win proved again Michigan’s ability to dominate opponents with one of the most talent-balanced lineups in the nation.
“Right now everyone’s just loving the game, guys are stepping up and playing great,” Fenty said. “all-around a great team, and a super confident team.”
On their special day, the Wolverines displayed the fruits of their seniors’ leadership.