If there was anyone on the Michigan women”s tennis team who did not know the importance of yesterday”s match against Iowa, they have not been listening lately. With a 7-9 overall record and a 2-5 record in the Big Ten, the team is fighting for a higher seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

Paul Wong
Kim Plaushines lost her match yesterday in a grueling three-set match.<br><br>JOYCE LEE/Daily

The Wolverines charged out of the gates, seizing an early lead in two of the three doubles matches. They were playing with energy and emotion, two key elements which have been missing in previous matches.

Despite that unbridled fire, Iowa settled down, and gained the momentum in the match. The Hawkeyes won 5-2, dropping Michigan to 2-6 in the Big Ten.

After a breakfast dedicated to the seniors, who played their last home match yesterday, the Wolverines played with reckless abandon. Early in the match, Kim Plaushines, emphatically slammed a volley at Iowa”s Deni Alexandrova, letting her know how badly Michigan wanted the match.

“We were ready to play and well rested,” Chrissi Nolan said. “That is why we came out so fired up and sustained it throughout the match.”

Freshmen Kavitha Tipirneni and Nolan, also played with unmatched intensity and got off to an early lead.

The duo was rewarded for their recent success with a move up to the No. 2 spot in an effort to change up the lineup.

But, that high energy could not be sustained once Iowa woke up and calmed down.

Michigan”s No. 1 and 2, which had been in control of their matches started to falter and Iowa was able to tie up both matches, 7-7.

Iowa”s No. 1 doubles broke the tie and won the match, 9-7. With that match, the doubles point had belonged to Iowa, but Nolan and Tipirneni continued to fight, eventually winning their match, 9-7.

Michigan continued to play with intensity through the singles matches but were unable to pick up the points needed to win the match.

“You have four three-setters and you win one of those and you are not going to win the dual match,” coach Bitsy Ritt said. “Chrissie did [win her three set match] and she had a great day. You have to find a way to win the close ones. When the match is right there you have to step up at the end of the match and win the match.”

Nolan was able to come back and win after losing the first set. She played with her normal high intensity and at times seemed frustrated. At one point she slammed her racket on the net, drawing a point deduction from the referee.

“She hit a drop shot, I missed, became frustrated and slammed the racket on the net,” Nolan explained. “Then I start playing better so it wasn”t a big deal. But it did come at an important time in the match with me down 5-4.”

While the type of over-intensity displayed by Nolan often hinders players, coach Ritt claims it helps Nolan loosen up and play better.

Michigan will travel to Indiana next weekend where the Wolverines will finish up their regular season against Indiana and Purdue.

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