The Michigan men’s tennis team had a near-perfect weekend against Iowa and Minnesota.
The sixth-ranked Wolverines (3-0 Big Ten, 13-3 overall) first took on No. 18 Iowa (0-2, 10-3) Saturday afternoon, defeating the Hawkeyes 6-1, the team’s sixth victory this season against a top-25 team. On Sunday, the Wolverines expanded their winning streak to seven after they swept Minnesota (2-1, 9-7) 7-0.
Against Iowa, Michigan swept all three doubles matches for the fifth time this season, with juniors Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno defeating the 23rd-ranked duo Sonja Molnar and Merel Beelen 8-2 at No. 1 doubles to clinch the point.
“Iowa is a really solid team and they came in pretty confident too,” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “It definitely helps us to get a 6-1 over a team as good as them.”
On Saturday, Taney, the team’s captain, won her sixth dual match in a row – her twelfth of the season – moving up to No. 2 singles for the first time this season. She had a come from behind win against Lynne Poggensee-Wei 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
Taney was one of the three Wolverines to clinch their match after having to go into a third set.
“We won three out of four third sets and a couple of them were 6-0,” Bernstein said. “It shows we’re competing hard, and I think that’s what this team does.”
Michigan won all the singles matches, except at No. 5, giving the Wolverines their sixth win in a row against Iowa.
“Obviously taking wins is what we want,” Taney said. “We use it as momentum going into our next matches.”
The team’s second match this weekend, played against Minnesota on Sunday, was especially important to Taney, who is originally from outside Minneapolis.
“It’s really fun (to return home),” Taney said. “I’ll have friends and family there and I’ve played on these courts so it’s definitely great to be back in Minnesota.”
With her friends and family in attendance, Taney earned her second win at No. 2 singles, defeating Tijana Kaprivica 6-2, 6-2.
Freshman Mimi Nguyen won her fourteenth match this season, and her eighth in a row, earning the first singles point for the Wolverines at No. 4. Senior Tania Mahtani clinched the match for Michigan at No. 5, deafeating Jackie Sperling 6-0, 6-4.
After this weekend, Bernstein is now 21-2 against Big Ten opponents. The only team she’s been unable to beat is Northwestern – the dominant program in the conference which has won the last 11 Big Ten Championships.
The Wolverines look to end that as they travel to Combe Tennis Center to play No. 2 Northwestern this Saturday. Despite the team’s recent success, Michigan is not taking anything for granted.
“Nobody takes it easy,” Bernstein said. “And that’s expected of everyone on the team.”