Brienne Minor and Kate Fahey know how to lead by example.
The two seniors teamed up in doubles play for the Michigan women’s tennis team’s (7-4 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) match with Iowa (8-6, 0-2) on Sunday. Minor and Fahey were the first to finish their doubles match, defeating their opponents, 6-2, after Minor sealed the deal with a swinging forehand volley on match point.
“(Minor and Fahey) are our captains and have been a part of the program for a long time,” said Michigan coach Ronnie Bernstein. “They set the example both on and off the court. They work hard. They’re great kids, and it’s amazing to have two kids who are obviously two of our better players but also are good people and set a good example for our younger kids.”
Soon after, sophomores Bella Lorenzini and Alyvia Jones defeated their opponents at No. 3 doubles, 6-4. After that win, the Wolverines earned the doubles point for the match.
Minor provided yet again another winning example at No. 2 singles by being the first to finish off her opponent. She won her first set, 6-3, and was down 4-5 in the second. She went on to hold serve, break her opponent and hold again to win three games in a row and win the second set, 7-5.
Nearly at the same time, junior Chiara Lommer defeated her opponent at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-4, to extend Michigan's lead to three.
The Wolverines secured the victory after Jones took down her opponent at No. 6 singles. The first set was a tight contest, with both players breaking each other multiple times. Jones was down 2-4 in the first set, but stayed in the match and won three straight games to get a 5-4 lead. At deuce, Jones stepped up and served a heater down the middle of the service box for an ace and won the set, 6-4. She comfortably handled the next set, winning 6-1.
With that win, Michigan earned its fourth point and secured the victory, capping off a weekend of two wins in the Big Ten, beating Nebraska on Saturday.
“I mean anytime you can beat two Big Ten teams, especially 7-0, it’s showing that everybody’s kinda getting it done that day,” Bernstein said. “And obviously it’s nice to be at home. We’ll go on the road next match at Purdue but after this weekend I’m feeling good. We moved the doubles a little bit and saw some success, and we’re looking forward to the next match.”
The sweep was completed by the remaining singles matches. Fahey had a competitive first set at No. 1 singles, going to a tiebreaker with her opponent. She won her match 7-6 (2), 6-1. There was another tiebreaker in the No. 5 singles match, where freshman Anca Craciun won 6-4, 7-6 (1).
Junior Giulia Pairone showed grit and tenacity during her No. 3 singles match, falling behind 5-0 to her opponent in the first set. She won three straight games but eventually lost the set, 6-3. However, she won the next two sets with the same scores of 6-2 to win her match.
The ability to win these three-set matches doesn’t come easily. It takes a lot of physical and mental toughness. Though not in a three-set battle herself, Minor understands what it takes to continue succeeding.
“Definitely just doing the best during practice and during weights and fitness, and doing the right things off the court, taking care of our bodies,” she said. “Mentally, just playing as a team instead of individually I think will really help us moving forward come the Big Ten Tournament and NCAAs.”