There were a couple bright spots for the No. 15 Michigan women’s tennis team first round matchup versus the No. 2 Florida Gators. But in the end, they were sent home packing from the University of Georgia’s Tennis Complex in their third consecutive appearance in the Sweet Sixteen.
The final score read: #2 Florida 4, #15 Michigan 0. Florida handled Michigan, winning three singles matches decisively over the Wolverines. However, Michigan freshman Emina Bektas and sophomore Brooke Bolender gave the No. 1 nationally ranked doubles partners, Allie Will and Sofie Oyen, all they could handle.
Bektas and Bolender ousted the best doubles duo in the nation and was the first match to finish on the court.
But the rest of the team was not as successful in its matches. In fact, their win was the first and only match Michigan would take all day.
The Wolverines have yet to beat the Gators in head to head matches in the three times they have met in series play. This weekend marks the third consecutive appearance in the Sweet Sixteen, and is Michigan’s fourth in its program’s history, and is also Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein’s third Sweet Sixteen appearance in her fifth year as head coach.
Michigan finished this season with an overall record of 21-8 and a 10-1 conference record.
“I’m pretty happy with the way we played in general,” Bernstein said. “We had a shot at the doubles point, and I think that if we could have squeaked out a win there it would have put a little more pressure on Florida in singles. They kind of just took it to us in the singles. When you have chances to make something happen, you have to take them, and we couldn’t do that.”
Bernstein is always happy to make it to the Sweet Sixteen but admitted that Florida was simply a better team than Michigan. Satisfied with the level of energy and fearless spirit, Bernstein knows that there is plenty of room for improvement with the amount of youth and talent on their squad.
“We had a good year,” said Bernstein. “We got here again, and that was our goal. We wanted to take a step forwards and improve. Overall, I’m very happy with the way we played and competed all year, and that’s all you can ask for. We had a chance.”
Senior Michelle Sulahian capped her career off with a record of 85-49 in singles matches, placing herself in the top-10 among Michigan’s all time singles wins leaders.
Fresman Sarah Lee also wrapped up her rookie debut season with an impressive 32-10 singles record to rank fifth among Michigan single-season wins leaders. Bektas tied her in the same category, finishing 32-9 for the season and will have a chance to improve upon her record in the NCAA Singles Championship.
The NCAA Individual Championships will take place May 23-May 28 in Athens, Ga. as the best singles players and doubles combos will face off.