After a 5-2 victory over an in-state rival, most tennis teams would celebrate – but not Michigan.
Instead of enjoying their dominating win over Michigan State, the 10th-ranked Wolverines (2-0 Big Ten, 10-2 overall) were concerned about losing the doubles point.
Michigan coach Bruce Berque attributed the doubles loss to playing without basic fundamentals.
“If the mistakes are coming because of a lack of focus and discipline, that’s not going to cut it,” Berque said.
The doubles loss was uncharacteristic of the Wolverines, whose three pairs are all nationally ranked.
Freshman Chris Madden and junior Andrew Mazlin won their match, 8-3, at the No. 3 slot. But the other pairings weren’t as successful.
“I want to have six leaders on the court,” Berque said. “I felt that most of the guys were underperforming.”
At No. 1 doubles, senior captain Matko Maravic and sophomore George Navas lost, 8-4.
The doubles point came down to freshman Jason Jung and sophomore Mike Sroczynski, the seventh-ranked doubles team in the nation.
Jung and Sroczynski had an 8-1 record going into last night’s match. But despite Sroczynski’s trademark serve and Jung’s untouchable cross-court returns, the duo was unable to capitalize on break points and lost 9-7.
“We got a little cocky,” Sroczynski said. “We didn’t work as hard as we normally do.”
Even after the doubles loss, the Wolverines were able to bounce back and secure a victory by winning all but the No. 1 singles match.
The singles victories started after Madden won, 6-1, 6-1.Navas, Maravic and Jung followed, each defeating their opponent in two dominating sets.
But after also losing the doubles point last week against Brown, the Wolverines cannot ignore how they started last night’s match.
“Some of them played very well in singles,” Berque said. “But it’s tough for me to shake how bad we performed as a team in doubles.”
Michigan had its most convincing wins this season against No. 16 Pepperdine and No. 17 Wake Forest, both by a 4-3 margin.
The doubles point made the difference for the Wolverines in those matches.
Sroczynski reiterated Berque’s worries, wondering if the team would be able to achieve its season goal of playing in the Big Ten championship match if it can’t win the doubles point every time.
After struggling against the unranked Spartans (0-3, 11-6), Michigan still has to face No. 2 Ohio State and No. 16 Illinois later in the season.
“If we go out and compete the way we did tonight, I don’t think we’re going to go far in the Big Ten,” Sroczynski said. “We just did not come out with the right energy in doubles.”