The Michigan women’s tennis team came up short in the final match of the Big Ten Tournament against Purdue on Sunday.

Losing the dual match, 4-3, the No. 15 Wolverines failed to cap off the weekend in Columbus successfully, despite having captured a share of the Big Ten regular season championship a week ago.

Michigan entered the tournament as the second seed, earning a first-round bye. The team went on to trounce Indiana and Illinois on its way to the final showdown against Purdue.

Friday’s match against Indiana marked the fifth-straight match in which Michigan claimed the coveted doubles point. The Wolverines, strengthened by the ninth-straight victory from the No. 10 duo of freshman Emina Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender, used the momentum of the doubles victories to surge past the Hoosiers, taking the overall match, 4-2.

Saturday was the high point of the weekend, as Michigan blanked Illinois with a final score of 4-0. Bektas and Bolender, who secured the doubles win yet again, locked up individual victories as well. Also performing impressively was No. 121 junior Mimi Nguyen, who coasted to a straight-set victory, despite trailing 4-0 in the first set.

When the dust settled on Saturday, Michigan had taken every single match from No. 20 Illinois, cementing the Wolverines’ dominance over the Illini this season.

Sunday was where the Wolverines seemed to run out of magic. Despite jumping out to an early advantage, nabbing the doubles point, Michigan could not capitalize on the solid start and ended up falling just short in the final singles match.

The weekend marks yet another disappointing finish for the Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament. Historically, in each of the past eight seasons, Michigan has advanced to the final match of the weekend. Despite constant appearances, Michigan has lost all eight-consecutive Big Ten Championship matches. The Wolverines have only won the title once in the team’s history, grabbing the championship in 1997.

Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein, while dissatisfied with the tough loss, asserts the importance of moving on, especially with the NCAA Tournament rapidly approaching.

“We’ve had a good year, and we have to look at the big picture,” Bernstein said. “This is definitely disappointing, but it’s also something that we can hopefully learn from. I want to see them go after it and play to win rather than be scared to lose.

“We still have the postseason, and that’s what we’re looking forward to now. You want to play matches like this, win or lose, because it makes you better just to compete like this. This definitely hurts, but once we get back home and start practicing, we’ll really focus in on the NCAAs.”

The Wolverines will return to Ann Arbor to await their selection for the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will take place on May 5.

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