Following a three-match losing streak, the Michigan men’s tennis team took out its frustrations on Butler and Toledo, refusing to yield a single point to the two teams.
On Feb. 22, the Wolverines (5-4) defeated Butler 7-0 at the Varsity Tennis Center, a victory which came on the heels of a similar 7-0 win over Toledo a week earlier.
“It’s nice to get all seven of the points,” coach Mark Mees said. “We had some positions where we played really good tennis.”
Against Butler, junior Anthony Jackson and sophomores Vinny Gossain and David Anving each looked strong in their respective singles victories according to the coach. But Mees was more impressed with the resilience and toughness of his team.
“We won the matches where we didn’t really play our best tennis,” he said.
Three singles contests went to “super-tiebreakers” instead of a deciding third set, which marks a change in the traditional format for singles matches. The Wolverines pulled out victories in all three of the 10-point tiebreakers, which are being implemented in an effort to shorten matches still in progress after the outcome of the overall match has been decided.
Michigan’s team of sophomore Michael Rubin and senior Chris Rolf dropped their No. 1 doubles match. But the Wolverines were able to win the other two doubles contests in order to secure the all-important doubles point.
Rubin and Rolf have struggled together, going 1-3 since Mees shook up the doubles teams several weeks ago.
“Any team you play at No. 1 doubles is going to be pretty tough,” Mees said. “Hopefully we will put three teams out there that will give us a chance to win two out of three matches.”
The team had a great opportunity to sharpen their doubles play this past weekend, when they competed in the Pacific Coast Doubles Tournament in San Diego. Because it was an open tournament, none of the matches counted officially.
Despite this, it was still a good opportunity for the team to play against some of the top doubles players from schools like Stanford, UCLA and Pepperdine.
“The tournament gave us a chance to play against some really good teams,” Mees said. “You realize what it takes to play at that level. I was very pleased.”
Playing outside for the first time in months was quite an adjustment for the Wolverines, who have been practicing and playing indoors for some time now.
“It’s such a good feeling to get out in the sun,” the coach said. “It takes a bit to get used to it.”