The Michigan women’s tennis team split up this weekend with some members competing at USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing, New York and at the ASU Thunderbird Tournament in Tempe, Arizona. While the Wolverines hoped to finish strong before a six-week break, play against better competition overshadowed the scoreboard.
In Arizona, senior Sarah Lee and freshman Mira Ruder-Hook each made it to the semifinals before falling; Lee to California’s Kara Popovic (2-6, 6-2, 6-2), while Ruder-Hook lost to Fresno State’s Sophie Watts (6-2, 6-2).
“I did a good job hanging in there in the long sets and figuring out what I was doing wrong,” Lee said.
The freshman team of Ruder-Hook and Annie Wierda defeated San Diego, 8-3, and Arizona State, 8-3, on the doubles court. And the underclassmen continued to succeed as freshman Kara Hall and sophomore Sara Remynse picked up wins in doubles against Arizona State and Northern Arizona University.
In New York, senior Emina Bektas got the only win in the first round, but she fell to No. 1-seed Jamie Loeb of University of North Carolina in the second. The Wolverines found more success in the consolation rounds. Junior Ronit Yurovsky, who struggled with confidence in the first match, came back in the consolation rounds and advanced to the semifinals.
“We are playing against the best teams in the country,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “They did a good job and competed hard and they will continue to play and gain confidence.”
The doubles team of Bektas and freshman Alex Najarian lost in the consolation finals to the Golden Bears.
“Alex (Najarian) needed more discipline in the doubles,” Bernstein said. “She lost focus a little bit and she needs to make better choices.”
Bernstein was more concerned with her team rising to the level of play than with results. According to the coach, the competition in New York was much stiffer than the players were used to, but she wanted show her team that they could compete at an advanced level.
“We are going to compete, that’s what I want most,” Bernstein said. “You can’t control the results, but you can control how hard you compete for Michigan.”