On Homecoming weekend, three Michigan tennis players — California natives Tania Mahtani, Michelle Sulahian and Rika Tatsuno — came home.
Last week, the Wolverines headed west to the Golden State for their first two tournaments of the year. It was their first season debut at an away tournament in five years.
“It was nice to get out to California, where some of our players are from,” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “We wanted to go south and play outside as much as possible.”
From Friday until Sunday the Wolverines competed in the San Diego State Fall tournament at the Aztec Tennis Center in San Diego. Michigan faced off against host San Diego State, San Diego, and Arizona and finished 21-6 on the weekend. Each athlete played one singles match and one doubles match per day.
On day one of the tournament, the Wolverines won five singles matches and swept all three doubles matches. On Saturday, they won three out of five singles matches and swept again in doubles, and they finished the tournament strong with four singles and two doubles wins.
Two players went 3-0 in singles for the weekend: lone freshman Michelle Sulahian and senior Lindsey Howard.
“The main thing for this tournament was to get the season started, to get some good matches and to see where we are and what we need to work on,” Bernstein said. “I think we definitely saw that.”
Earlier in the week, at the individual ITA/Riviera Championships held at Pepperdine’s Ralph-Straus Tennis Center in Los Angeles, two Wolverines competed among 64 regionally and nationally ranked athletes.
“I went in with an open mind,” Mahtani said. “Of course, I wanted to win the matches we played and get into the main draw, but we took it one match at a time. We wanted to play the best we could.”
The No. 22-ranked doubles team of senior Chisako Sugiyama and Mahtani won a close first qualifying match Tuesday before falling to UCLA’s Yasmin Schnack and Ashley Joelson in the second round by just two games.
“It was definitely disappointing to lose such a close match, but overall, it was a really good experience,” said Mahtani, a native of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. “It was good to be in Los Angeles close to my hometown. All of the matches were good. It was high-quality tennis.”