“Play to win.”

Julie Pannuto
Senior Chrissie Nolan has grown as a leader and player at Michigan. (WILLA TRACOSAS/Daily)

Senior Chrissie Nolan of the Michigan woman’s tennis team
has certainly lived up to her personal motto.

The fourth-year veteran picked up a milestone 70th career
singles victory as a Wolverine over Spring Break, defeating Sandra
Rocha of Long Beach State in straight sets. Nolan then went on to
capture her 71st career win against Hawaii’s Kimberly Curtis
(6-4, 6-0). This most recent win allowed Nolan to move up in
Michigan’s career victories list. Nolan now sits in ninth,
tied with Tina Basle (1985-88).

“(The win) is not the most significant thing to me because
I’m on a team,” Nolan said. “I just want to play
my best because we are doing so well. That’s more important
to me.”

Aside from her on-court success, Nolan received the Academic
All-Big Ten award in both her sophomore and junior years at
Michigan. As a student in the Business School, Nolan has had to
balance a demanding course load with her tennis career.

Adding to the list of her achievements, Nolan has also received
praise for her character on and off the court. She was a recipient
of the United States Tennis Association Sportsmanship Award the
summer after her freshman year.

“I’ve always wanted to be a fair player,”
Nolan said. “I want to win the right way.”

Coach Bitsy Ritt even said that Nolan has been teased for being
“almost too fair”, as she has had the tendency to play
balls that have been hit out. Ritt believes Nolan has improved in
this area as well.

Ritt acknowledged that Nolan has become much more vocal at team
meetings. She said that Nolan is often the voice of reason among
the players.

Holding a 14-7 singles record this season, Nolan explained that
staying healthy and playing consistent have been the key to her
accumulating so many wins.

“(Nolan) has the ability to exploit her opponents’
weaknesses,” Ritt said. “One of her strengths is just
her strong desire to win.”

Nolan explained that she has become stronger, physically, and
increased her speed on the court. Ritt agreed, saying that she has
noticed a significant improvement in Nolan’s
conditioning.

Nowadays, Nolan is known for her strong baseline game, but she
explained that her skills at the net have gradually improved
throughout her career at Michigan.

“I used to be so intimidated up at the net,” Nolan
said. “Now, I’m more of an all-court player.”

Nolan provides her team with strong senior leadership.

“Players feel comfortable going to (Nolan) individually to
talk with her,” Ritt said. “She’s also somebody
you could look to during the heat of battle to come through under
pressure.”

If earning her milestone victory wasn’t enough, this
season, Nolan has had already led a currently undefeated, No. 19
Michigan team in upset wins over both Notre Dame and Tennessee.

“(Nolan) may not overpower players, but she is a great
baseliner, who could put a million balls in the court,” Ritt
said. “She deserves all the recognition she’s
getting.”

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