Revenge against archrival No. 12 Notre Dame (1-1) rested solely on freshman Denise Muresan’s racket.
With the score tied 3-3 in the best-of-seven match, all eyes were fixed upon Muresan and Notre Dame junior Katie Potts doing battle on the far court.
After winning the first set 6-3, Muresan dropped the hard-fought second set 4-6.
“I started to feel it after the second set,” Muresan said. “I just think when you’ve been playing as long I have, you learn to focus on your match and zone everything else out.”
Muresan reared back and fired winner after winner at Potts, eventually going up 5-2 in front of teammates standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
After dropping the eighth game, Muresan looked anxious to wrap up the match. Exhausted, she finally ended the day in the ninth game by watching a Potts forehand sail over the baseline, sealing the match victory for No. 23 Michigan, 4-3.
“Denise really did a great job,” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “She’s always going to put the ball in play, so you know you have a shot.”
After starting the season with a pair of 7-0 losses at Vanderbilt and Kentucky, the Wolverines (0-2) started out yesterday’s quest for revenge with a solid effort, earning the pivotal doubles point, 2-1.
“Winning the doubles point was really big,” junior Chisako Sugiyama said. “Notre Dame’s known for rarely losing at doubles, so that gave us confidence going into singles.”
As singles play began, Michigan jumped on Notre Dame, getting two quick and easy straight-set victories from Sugiyama and freshman Whitney Taney. Notre Dame rallied, though, as the Irish shot down sophomore Tania Mahtani, freshman Rika Tatsuno and junior co-captain Lindsay Howard.
“We have four freshmen, and they’re all very talented,” said senior co-captain Allie Shafner, who did not play in yesterday’s event because she was rehabbing a surgically repaired wrist. “Right now they’re just working out the nerves.”
As for the win over Notre Dame, Bernstein believes a quality win like this will boost the young squad’s confidence.
“Anytime you get a win, it feels great,” Bernstein said. “It feels extra special when you can beat a Notre Dame.”