As freshman Kate Fahey spoke with a reporter following Sunday's match versus Maryland, Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein snuck up behind her. She wanted to congratulate her freshman on a job well done.
Fahey helped the Michigan women’s tennis team secure the doubles point en route to a 6-1 win over the Terrapins, wrapping up a successful weekend for the Wolverines.
After a game-packed week on the road, No. 11 Michigan traveled back home to end the weekend on a high note, adding two more wins to its undefeated Big Ten record. Saturday's contest against Rutgers proved to be no challenge, either, as the Wolverines shutout the Scarlet Knights, 7-0.
On both occasions, Michigan earned the doubles point with wins from freshmen Brienne Minor and Fahey at court No. 1 and sophomores Alex Najarian and Mira Ruder-Hook at No. 2.
Just 20 minutes into play on Sunday, Minor and Fahey gained a 5-0 lead over the Terrapins and looked prepared to close out the doubles match, but it was Najarian and Ruder-Hook who were the first off the court in a 6-2 set win. Several minor mistakes at No. 1 cost the Wolverines a few games.
For a moment, it seemed as though Maryland was set to make a comeback, winning three sets in a row as Minor and Fahey scrambled back and forth across the court to counter their shots. The doubles duo finally won Michigan its first point on a Maryland shot that landed just barely out of bounds.
“Doubles is all about momentum,” Fahey said. “Things can slip. We just got a little tight in the end and let them step in, but I think (Minor) did a really good job serving and closing it out.”
With Michigan claiming the first two doubles matches and the doubles point, the third match became irrelevant to the score and was stopped early. The Wolverines were trailing in that match, and senior Ronit Yurovsky put her head down in her hands as Bernstein offered some much needed encouragement. Yurovsky and her partner junior Sara Remynse managed to catch up to their opponents, but it was left unfinished at 3-4.
“Sometimes I can give up a few games just because I’m hard on myself,” Yurovsky said. “It’s not really what the (opponent’s) doing, it’s more about how I’m acting, so I just try to stay positive.”
Against Rutgers and Maryland, the first three to win their singles matches were Fahey, Yurovsky and Minor, with Fahey being the first to finish in both competitions. Yurovsky’s 6-4, 6-1 sets clinched the win over the Terrapins for Michigan.
Fahey, as of late, has been more aggressive. In the past, she has been more defensive, but she mentioned that she feels on top of her game now.
While it came down to a nail-biting third set, Remynse was the only Wolverine unable to pull off a victory in singles play against Maryland.
“As a team, we did really well,” Fahey said.
The defending Big Ten champions know there are still some tough matchups before the conference tournament, but they are confident their success will continue.
“We have a lot of tennis left to play,” Bernstein said. “But we’re young, and I think we’ve beaten some good teams so we can compete with anybody.”