After a 4-3 loss to Tennessee on Sunday, the Michigan women’s tennis team could have easily given up on its extremely challenging road trip. Instead, the Wolverines kept on pushing and came away with a big upset win on Monday.

The 37th-ranked Wolverines edged No. 14 Kentucky 4-3 in a highly competitive match in Lexington. Things looked bleak for Michigan after falling behind 2-0, dropping the doubles point and the first singles point rather quickly. But instead of packing it in, the Wolverines stormed back against the talented Wildcats. Michigan took four of the next five matches – all in three sets – to take the competition.

Michigan No. 2 singles player Kavitha Tipirneni found herself down 3-0 in the third set to Nathalie Roels, the No. 48 player in the country. Tipirneni started Michigan’s remarkable comeback by winning the last set 7-5.

“Kavitha really stuck to her game,” Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt said. “She knew what this match meant for the team.”

After Tipirneni’s victory, teammate Chrissie Nolan evened the match with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Jill Buckley. With this win, Michigan was back from the dead.

Leanne Rutherford then upped her dual match record to 4-0 and added to the Wolverines’ momentum with yet another three-set win. Her 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win over Amy Trefethen gave Michigan a 3-2 match lead in the team competition.

The match that clinched the win for Michigan was at No. 5 singles. With the team watching and rooting her on, Kim Plaushines delivered with an exciting 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Shannon Stough.

“Players try not to focus on the team score during individual matches,” Ritt said. “But (Plaushines) knew that the match was on the line. Kentucky is a very emotional team, and it was hard not realize the magnitude of her match.”

This win was an even bigger upset because of how poorly Michigan has faired against the SEC and Kentucky in the past. With the win, Michigan upped its record to 4-20 against the SEC. The Wolverines also ended a six-match losing streak to the Wildcats, which included losses in each of the past five seasons.

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