After falling to No. 24 Syracuse on Saturday in discouraging fashion, Sunday became a moment of triumph for the No. 9 Michigan women’s tennis team (1-1), as the Wolverines rebounded convincingly, shutting out No. 12 Ole Miss.
“The loss was definitely tough. There were a lot of first-match jitters and nerves, and that kind of got the best of us against Syracuse,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “But getting the win against Mississippi and coming out of here with a win, I’m pretty happy.”
The Wolverines did not allow the Rebels to win a single match, earning victories in two doubles matches and four singles matches. In fact, Michigan had secured the victory before three of the singles matches had even finished. The same thing happened in the doubles, as the Wolverines clinched the doubles point before the third match had ended
On Sunday, Michigan was led by a commanding performance from sophomore Bella Lorenzini, who won her doubles match with junior Chiara Lommer 6-4, and clinched the win over the Rebels by winning her singles match 6-3, 6-3.
Michigan received a strong performance from junior Giulia Pairone, a new addition to the team from Turin, Italy. Pairone defeated Syracuse’s Guzal Yusupova 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday, and on Sunday, she outlasted Anna Vrebenska of Ole Miss 7-5, 6-1.
“I thought Giulia did a great job,” Bernstein said. “She has great energy, and she did a really good job both days.”
Pairone, though, was essentially the only bright spot for Michigan in the contest against Syracuse, as the Wolverines struggled under pressure. Pairone and senior Brienne Minor fought out wins for Michigan in the singles, but the Wolverines dropped the other singles matches. Senior Kate Fahey, the No. 3 player in the country, was defeated by Gabriela Knutson 7-5, 6-4; Lommer lost to Miranda Ramirez 6-2, 2-6, 6-3; and sophomore Alyvia Jones lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 to Dina Hegab.
The Wolverines had similar struggles in their doubles matches against the Orange. Fahey and Pairone lost 6-3 to Knutson and Ramirez, and Jones and senior Brienne Minor also lost to Sofya Golubovskaya and Sofya Trescheva 6-3.
Michigan looks to improve its performance in tough situations as it gears up for a pair of home matches against Michigan State and Texas next weekend.
“In big moments, we need to be willing to step up and swing,” Bernstein said. “In college tennis, it’s nerve-wracking: you’re playing for each other and playing for your school, and we need to be able to get it done in those moments. You have to be able to perform under pressure, and that’s something we have to get better at.”