Jason Jung could feel the pressure mounting.
Down 4-1 in the third set against 58th-ranked Northwestern, the sophomore knew it was his time to help the Michigan men’s tennis team overcome its past performances. Before Sunday, the Torrance, Calif., native had not won a singles match since Feb. 6 against Vanderbilt.
The 51st-ranked Wolverines (1-3 Big Ten, 7-2 overall) were also in the midst of an eight-match losing streak.
But that was about to change against the Wildcats (1-3, 13-6).
With the match tied at three, Jung stayed poised as his teammates cheered him on from the nearby courts at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill.
“I said to myself, ‘I have to win this match,’ ” Jung said. “I just had a lot of heart and came through for the team.”
Jung used his quickness on the court to grab the win (3-6, 6-4, 6-2) at the No. 1 position against the Wildcats’ 89th-ranked Marc Dwyer. The Wolverines won the match 4-3.
“It was a good win against a good team on the road,” Michigan coach Bruce Berque said. “(Northwestern) has made a big jump since last year. You can throw the rankings out the window in men’s tennis this year because anyone can win.”
Berque was quick to note it was Jung’s ability to reduce errors and compete strong throughout the entire match that enabled him to grab the Wolverines’ first team victory since Feb. 20, when they defeated Harvard 5-2.
The Wolverines’ win was a long time coming. Their last four matches prior to yesterday’s had been decided by a 4-3 margin.
“This obviously gives us a lot of confidence,” junior George Navas said. “With the win, we kind of get the monkey off our back and can now concentrate on the rest of the season.”
But Michigan’s weekend wasn’t perfect. On Saturday, the Wolverines lost at No. 24 Wisconsin.
Senior Andrew Mazlin saw himself in the same situation as Jung against the Badgers (1-2, 12-5). With the match knotted at three, Mazlin lost the deciding match at the No. 2 position against Wisconsin’s No. 37 Marek Michalicka.
Despite Michigan’s loss to the Badgers, any pressure that might have been on its shoulders has subsided after its win against Northwestern.
The losing streak is over, and that’s all that matters for the Wolverines.
When they square off next weekend against Penn State and Ohio State at the Varsity Tennis Center, it will have something they can build on for the rest of season: their first Big Ten win.