This weekend, in its first team competition of the season at the UGA Invitational, the Michigan women’s tennis team was finally able to get a glimpse of what this year’s squad will look like.
Of the eight players on the team, three are true freshmen and three are sophomores, with senior Ronit Yurovsky and junior Sara Remynse making up the veteran presence.
Friday, the freshmen were able to get their first taste of collegiate competition in Atlanta. But two — Kate Fahey and Teona Velehorschi — were only able to participate in part of the invitational due to an illness and an injury, respectively.
Fahey paired with sophomore Mira Ruder-Hook for a 6-4 doubles win over Katrine Steffensen and Dorothy Tang from Princeton, while Velehorschi and sophomore Kara Hall were defeated by doubles teams from Princeton and Georgia.
Ruder-Hook also added a singles win, coming back from a 4-6 first-set loss by winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-2, to defeat Clemson’s Daniela Ruiz.
Freshman Brienne Minor had a strong debut at the tournament, winning all three of her singles matches, including straight-set wins over Clemson’s Fernanda Navarro and Georgia’s Hannah King.
Minor also paired with Yurovsky in doubles play to add three more victories for the Wolverines. At this early stage of the season, though, the team’s doubles pairings are a work in progress as Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein looks for partners that complement one another.
“Minor likes to move forward,” Bernstein said. “She’ll move a lot, and I think that’s something that Ronit needs to do a bit more. Ronit’s maybe better from the ground — she returns really well — so they kind of complement each other that way.”
Yurovsky continued her quality play early in the season with two singles wins in addition to her doubles victories.
“She’s our lone senior, so it’s a different role for her,” Bernstein said. “I think it’s been great so far for her. She didn’t get a lot of matches in the summer and kind of was unsure a little bit coming in. I think these three events, she has played at a high level, and she has played great competition. I think she’s feeling good about herself again, so it was just about getting her matches again and getting that competitiveness back.”
Two of the Wolverines’ returning players, Remynse and sophomore Alex Najarian, did not travel with the team due to injuries.
“We’re a little banged up right now,” Bernstein said. “But if you’re going to be this way, you want it to be in October (and) not in January. We’re just trying to get everybody healthy, and luckily we have a couple months.”
This young Michigan team will continue to try to find its identity throughout its upcoming fall competitions, starting this weekend when the team hosts the ITA Midwest Regional Championships.