Last Saturday, the Michigan men’s tennis team (12-3 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) carried their hot streak into Big Ten play, taking care of business against a solid conference opponent, sweeping Penn State (7-4 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) in a 5-0 blowout.
As the rest of the Michigan men’s tennis team rushed the court, Styler fell to the floor in exhaustion and victory. These were the final moments of the Wolverine’s 4-3 victory over Notre Dame on Sunday.
Michigan, (11-3) was even with the Fighting Irish (5-5) for the majority of play in South Bend, however it was a long battle. Though Michigan took the road win, it came down to a single play.
Andrew Fenty ripped a forehand to the corner. Matej Vocel’s return barely cleared the net. The sophomore set himself up perfectly and he knew it. He darted to the net to finish things off, yet the final result wasn’t an emphatic winner, but a volley that sailed wide. Fenty wasn’t alone in his struggles, as No. 4 Michigan (10-3) fell to Oklahoma State (8-2), 4-0, at Greenwood Tennis Center on Friday.
Connor Johnston found himself facing a daunting 5-1 deficit in his second set against Cornell’s Pietro Rimondini. After a commanding first-set victory, the senior could’ve looked toward the third set for a fresh start. Instead, Johnston won the next game. Then he won the five after that to win his match and secure Michigan’s win over Cornell. The Wolverines may have bested two undefeated teams in two days, but they did a lot more than play spoiler. Michigan displayed the grit that has defined its eight-match win streak.
Throughout the No. 16 Michigan men’s tennis team’s pair of wins last Saturday — a 4-2 afternoon affair against No. 8 Texas Christian and a 4-2 win that evening against Western Michigan — each Wolverines’ point was every teammate’s concern, and they let that be known loudly.
A lightning-fast serve and mistakes from the Rebels’ Finn Reynolds helped propel freshman Ondrej Styler, and with him the Michigan men’s tennis team (4-1), to a 4-3 victory Saturday night. Michigan’s 2-0 weekend at the ITA Kickoff –– also featuring a similarly close 4-3 victory over Texas Tech on Friday –– earned them a bid to next month’s tournament in Madison.
Eugene was unfamiliar territory to the Wolverines on their first away trip of the spring season for Sunday’s match against Oregon. Nonetheless the No. 17 Michigan men’s tennis team (2-1) took on their new opponent in stride with a 5-2 win in both singles and doubles.