The 25th-ranked Michigan men’s tennis team faced the daunting task of winning back-to-back road matches over the weekend.

Scott Bell
Michigan senior Ryan Heller was solid all weekend at No. 2 singles. Michigan improved its Big Ten record to 5-1. (ROB MIGRIN/Daily)

Despite the tough schedule, the Wolverines came away with a clean sweep, beating No. 29 Minnesota 5-2 on Saturday and Iowa 6-1 on Sunday.

The first step in claiming these two key victories was defeating Minnesota, a team Michigan had not beaten since 1999.

The Wolverines got off to a good start, taking all three doubles matches.

“One of the keys to winning (Saturday) was getting the doubles point,” Michigan coach Bruce Berque said. “It got us off to a good start.”

Although Michigan swept the doubles contests, all three were closely contested.

“It was a good match because we were able to get some close wins,” Berque said. “It was very competitive in the doubles matches.”

Saturday’s singles matches were as close as the doubles side. After splitting the first four singles matches, the Wolverines looked to freshman Mike Sroczynski to seal the overall victory. Sroczynski didn’t disappoint, defeating Dino Bilankov in three sets to secure a crucial conference dual win.

The Wolverines lost no momentum as they traveled to Iowa for their Sunday match with the Hawkeyes. Just as it did the day before, Michigan dominated in doubles, winning all three matches.

And once again, the maize-and-blue clad singles players performed just as well. The Wolverines came out on top in five of the six singles matches, with four of those victories coming in straight sets.

As they did on Saturday, senior co-captains Brian Hung and Ryan Heller led the way on the singles side, playing in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. They were followed up by strong performances from sophomore Andrew Mazlin and Sroczynski, both of whom also collected victories against Minnesota.

The Wolverines improved their conference record to 5-1 and their overall record to 14-4 with the two big road wins.

“These wins were definitely important,” Berque said. “We had some tough matches and to win both gives us better momentum and confidence as we move forward.”

Michigan is currently rolling through its schedule, picking up its fifth straight win and fourth straight in the Big Ten. Despite their success, the Wolverines still feel there is room for improvement.

“I think we need to get more consistent as a team in order to succeed later in the season,” Berque said.

The Wolverines will look to continue their success when they take on No. 6 Illinois in Ann Arbor on April 6.

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