“Sometimes I’ll do a little dance.”
Sophomore Debra Streifler of the Michigan women’s tennis
team isn’t heading to Broadway, but she and senior doubles
partner Kim Plaushines are climbing the charts nonetheless.
Streifler explained that making Plaushines laugh with a little
dance routine is just one of the ways the duo stays relaxed on the
court. The doubles tandem has helped keep Michigan undefeated with
a 7-0 record of their own.
“(Streifler and Plaushines) are really coming together as
a team,” assistant coach Katy Propstra said.
“They’re starting to know what the other is going to do
without even talking about it.”
The coach constantly referred to the duo’s chemistry,
which may be its most notable strength.
The girls themselves are aware of this “chemistry”
“(Streifler) and I complement each other’s games
very well,” Plaushines said. “A good think about
(Streifler) is that she gets me fired up. She has a great energy on
the court and that helps me bring out my energy.”
The girls’ teamwork has certainly brought them great
success at the No. 3 doubles position, including a come-from-behind
win against Georgia Tech earlier in the season. The duo also points
to its upset win against Notre Dame as a good example of how to
stay poised when playing a competitive rival.
Though Streifler and Plaushines explain that they are excited to
be currently undefeated, they don’t allow the
“streak” to affect their style of play.
“It’s nice that we are undefeated, but it is because
we’ve been working hard,” Streifler said. “We go
out on the court every match wanting to beat our
Even with all this serious tennis talk, Streifler, the
“comedian” of the duo according to Plaushines,
can’t help but chuckle about all the fun times the two have
shared as doubles partners. Plaushines, the “serious”
one, says Streifler still makes her laugh all the time, on and off
“We have fun together,” Streifler said. “If
she seems nervous, I’ll make make her laugh and not think
about tennis, and then she will usually ace the girl.”
Known for saying the “most random things,” Streifler
encourages her partner during heated moments in a match with some
funny nicknames for their shots. “T-money” is one of
their favorites, which is their nickname for hitting the
“T” on a serve.
The girls’ ability to have fun has translated into great
success thus far. Propstra explained that the duo still maintains
its competitiveness and energy when game time comes.
“Hopefully, they will keep playing well into the Big Ten
schedule,” Propstra said. “I think they are going to
build off of their past successes and will have lots of confidence
going into these upcoming matches.”
Streifler and Plaushines will look to extend their winning
streak to eight against the Crimson Tide in Alabama on Sunday.