Hopes were high for the Michigan tennis team on Thursday, when the Wolverines were selected for their fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament after winning six of their last eight Big Ten dual matches.

But after a sluggish start in its first round match against Kentucky (15-14), Michigan found itself with its third first-round exit in four seasons (4-1).

“We didn”t really play very well,” Michigan coach Mark Mees said. “We dug some holes for ourselves early, but I think we started to play a little better later in the match.”

The Wolverines dropped the doubles point to the Wildcats, losing at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.

That momentum carried over into the singles play, where junior Greg Novak finished with the lone victory for Michigan at the No. 6 spot, 6-2, 7-6 (3).

“Kentucky”s a good team and you just can”t afford to fall that far behind,” Mees said.

After an inconsistent and disappointing season, the Wolverines (12-10) will use summer workouts and amateur tournaments to improve for next season.

“Nobody on this team is satisfied or happy at all, with where we finished in the Big Ten or nationally,” Mees said. “This isn”t what we aspire to at the University of Michigan. We want to be in the top 20 and competing for the conference title.”

The Wolverines will return their entire roster for next season.

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