This past weekend, the Michigan women’s tennis team took on North Carolina in their first home match since Jan. 29. The team lost to the Tar Heels, 4-3.

The Wolverines struggled in the doubles portion of the event. The No. 1 and No. 3 doubles teams lost their matches, 8-6 and 8-4, respectively. The loss for the No. 1 pair of freshman Emina Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender ended the seven-match winning streak for the seventh-ranked duo.

Sophomore Sam Critser played her doubles match while recovering from a knee injury. After Critser’s doubles match, coach Ronni Bernstein decided to drop her from the No. 3 spot in the singles lineup, moving senior Michelle Sulahian in to replace her.

“(Critser) is just coming back from a knee injury, so it has been a slow process,” Bernstein said. “After the doubles, I just felt it was the right move (to remove her from the singles lineup). She wasn’t feeling that great, and we have people behind her that can definitely step up, so that’s why we made the move. “

Critser’s replacement did just fine in her spot. Sulahian and her doubles partner, junior Mimi Nguyen, went on to be the only Wolverine doubles pairing to win their match, 8-4.

“We had a slow start,” Sulahian said. “But once we got our energy going and things were starting to work, we kept going with it. We were trying to use the energy of our teammates around us and trying to help them, so I think that when the points mattered, we won them. It was a good match for us.”

Sulahian and Nguyen credited their high energy to their doubles win and successful their singles matches. Sulahian was the first from Michigan to win her singles match, with a quick 6-2, 6-2 win. Nguyen went on to beat her nationally ranked No. 96 opponent, 6-4, 6-4.

“You never know what is going to happen,” Sulahian said. “You have to be ready for anything. But I think winning doubles right before really helped. We had momentum going, so I used that to my advantage.”

Sulahian and Nguyen agree that the most important thing on the court is to be vocal and to have good energy in hopes of positively affecting the rest of the team.

“Each match I play, I know that if I do well and give a good performance then hopefully it will effect my teammates.” Nguyen said. “We just feed off each other, so each one of us has to do well, give a good performance and have good energy. I know if I do that, they can feed off me. If I am negative on the court, it will be bad for the rest of the team.”

Freshman Emina Bektas was the other Wolverine to win her singles match. The tenth-ranked Bektas came back from a first-set loss to win and knock off her nationally ranked No. 33 opponent.

Bolender, freshman Sarah Lee and freshman Kristen Dodge lost in their matches against the Tar Heels. Bolender struggled against her opponent and ultimately lost after winning her first set. Lee gave her all in her first dual match of the season against a nationally ranked No. 26 Tar Heel but lost, 6-1, 7-6 (5). Dodge lost her match right after Sulahian swept her opponent, 6-4, 6-2.

This Wednesday, Notre Dame travels to Ann Arbor as the last non conference foe before the Big Ten matches start.

“We have to forget about this one. This was definitely a tough loss; North Carolina is a good team,” Bernstein said. “We play Notre Dame every year, and they are obviously very solid. But it’s a good opportunity for us to get another solid win.”

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