Falling behind early in the doubles portion of the match, it looked like it was going to be another slow start for the Michigan women’s tennis team. But then senior Anca Craciun took over, letting out an intense roar as she won a point that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
After a two-game skid, the Wolverines (6-4 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) got back in the win column against Indiana (7-6, 0-1), but not without some early struggles.
“Super happy with the win,” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “I mean, we need to get better though for sure.”
During the three doubles matches, the tandem of Craciun and junior Nicole Hammond fell behind early by three games before battling back and helping to snatch the first point of the match to open up a 1-0 lead.
The team of sophomores Merri Kelly and Kari Miller made quick work of the Hoosiers, winning their match 6-2, while sophomore Jaedan Brown and junior Andrea Cerdan also cruised their way to a doubles victory, giving the Wolverines the match’s doubles point.
And without Michigan’s passion throughout the early adversity, maybe it never would have finished strong.
While trailing, Craciun continued to encourage her teammates, vocally imploring them to play with conviction. She helped complete the comeback with her fierce and emotional style of play and set a dynamic tone by cheering on her teammates in the stands after her match.
“Good teams push each other,” Bernstein said. “We’ve been kind of working on that as a group.”
Once the Wolverines opened the scoring they never looked back. Kelly dominated her opponent in straight sets for her fifth consecutive singles victory and Brown turned in a nearly flawless performance as well. The latter only lost three games over two sets to propel herself toward a five-match singles winning streak of her own.
To top off Michigan’s outing, Hammond once again found herself behind early in before recovering from a 3-1 deficit and winning the first set, 6-4. In the second set, Hammond used her newfound momentum to carry her to victory, soundly defeating her opponent, 6-1, to earn the Wolverines a 4-1 victory over a conference opponent.
Even after the string of dominant singles wins, Bernstein believes that there’s still work to be done. Michigan’s early struggles leave her unsatisfied with her team’s performance.
“They got a really slow start,” Bernstein said with a concerned tone. “So against maybe a better team we’re going to be in trouble. (The doubles point) helps and we haven’t won it too often.”