The ball off her opponent’s racket flew just out of bounds, and she yelled “Mine!”
In a single moment, senior Whitney Taney had clinched the game, the set, the individual match, and the team match for the Michigan women’s tennis team by earning the Wolverines’ game-winning fourth point.
And her impeccable performance helped Michigan to a 7-0 shutout of South Florida on Friday at the Varsity Tennis Center.
Taney began Friday’s match in triumphant fashion, winning her 100th doubles match (8-4), besting her own program record set last Sunday at North Carolina.
“It’s definitely very exciting,” Taney said. “You’re thinking of it, but you don’t want to think of it too much, so it’s not a distraction.”
Keeping her focus, Taney followed up this accomplishment by blowing out her opponent in singles play, 6-1, 6-2. But this kind of dominance certainly isn’t out of the ordinary for her. Last weekend against North Carolina, Taney also won both her doubles and singles matches in decisive fashion, despite the team’s 4-3 loss. Her consistency, regardless of how the rest of the team plays, has become quite an asset for the Wolverines.
“As a coach, that’s what you want, right?” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “She’s played (at the No. 4 singles position) for us most of the year. I don’t think she’s lost — maybe one time or something. It’s nice to know that we’re probably going to get that point in the lineup.”
And even though Taney was the bright spot in Michigan’s losing effort last weekend against the Tar Heels, it seemed that everyone followed her lead on Friday against the Bulls.
“If you watch her play, she just gets the job done,” Bernstein said. “It’s not flashy; she’s just solid. She makes people play, she makes smart decisions — she’s just a smart player. Every day she brings it for the team and is super competitive and she’s done that all four years.”
Taney’s winning attitude is unwavering, and it may have helped the Wolverines rebound as a team this week.
“From our tough loss at UNC, we all came out with a mindset,” Taney said. “We learned a lot from the match, the mental part and how we are on the court, so I think we came out and reacted really well. It shows the team we are, from a tough loss like that. We came out strong this match.”
So with the rout in hand for Michigan, Taney could finally celebrate Friday’s record-setting victory—her 100th doubles win. But success in doubles is dependent on the play of two, a fact she was quick to note.
“I have to give total credit to my partner,” Taney said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’ve played with Rika (Tatsuno) for a majority of all the matches.”
Taney will look to best the Michigan doubles win record yet again next Saturday in Big Ten play against Indiana at the Varsity Tennis Center.