Slow starts in matches didn’t catch up to the Michigan women’s tennis team until Sunday morning against No. 17 Tennessee. Michigan has lost its last three doubles points and needs to find a way to fix its sloppy beginnings.
Friday afternoon, the Wolverines (4-1) rallied back to beat No. 18 Vanderbilt, 4-3, after losing two out of three doubles match-ups. Michigan finished strong by winning four straight singles positions.
Junior Mimi Nguyen and senior Michelle Sulahian was the lone Wolverine duo to escape Vanderbilt with a doubles win on Friday afternoon, recording an 8-6 victory.
Freshman Emina Bektas, ranked No. 36 in the nation, defeated Vanderbilt’s Jackie Wu on Friday, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 and bested Tennessee’s Natalie Pluskota on Sunday morning, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3, extending her winning streak to eight consecutive individual matches.
“We’re fortunate to get through to win the four singles,” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “We definitely need to get better with the doubles.”
Freshman Sarah Lee stood out this weekend, defeating Vanderbilt’s Alex Leatu on Friday, 6-3, 6-4, and Tennessee’s Caitlyn Williams on Sunday, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.
On Sunday, the Wolverines fell short in their comeback bid, losing to No. 17 Tennessee, 5-2. The Wolverines repeated Friday’s doubles performance by losing two out of three doubles matches.
Lee and freshman Kristen Dodge won five straight games in their match, coming back from a 7-1 deficit. However, they fell short and lost the match, 8-6. Bektas and Brooke Bolender won the only Michigan doubles match, 8-6, against Tennesee’s Pluskota and Williams.
The doubles woes continued for the Wolverines, and Bernstein is looking for consistency. There is still time for the Wolverines to figure it out, even though they will have a shortened practice schedule this week as they travel to Charlottesville, Va. this Friday. That leaves a trial-and-error of pairings to fix the habit of sluggish starts that the Wolverines have grown accustomed to.
“We’re going to switch up some (doubles) teams to get some energy in there,” Bernstein said. “I’m not concerned. It’s so early (in the season).”