Sunday afternoon was filled with tears, pictures and cake as the Michigan women’s tennis team and its fans gathered for Senior Day. Many were calling it “Ronit Day,” though, as the team has only one senior, Ronit Yurovsky.
“There’s a lot of mixed emotions,” Yurovsky said. “Stepping on the court today for maybe one last time was a little tough at first, but then once I got on court, I was just having fun and enjoying every moment.”
The 10th-ranked Wolverines went into their weekend with high hopes of securing another Big Ten regular-season title.
But after falling to Northwestern on Friday, 4-3, and beating Illinois on Sunday, 4-0, the Wolverines would have to settle for a second-place tie in the conference.
Michigan has won just three matches after dropping the doubles point, so when it went down 1-0 against Northwestern, it had a right to be nervous.
Singles wins came from Yurovsky, freshman Kate Fahey and sophomore Alex Najarian. Then, with the Wolverines needing one more win to take the match and keep their hopes for a regular-season title, all eyes were on freshman Brienne Minor’s court.
But Minor fell in a grueling, three-set match, 6-7, 6-2, 4-6.
“I still have a little bit of a pit in my stomach from that match,” Yurovsky said. “It’s one of those things that we have to learn from it and move on.”
Michigan was able to forget its loss against the Wildcats to focus on beating Illinois on Sunday, and the Wolverines’ communication and teamwork gave them an edge over the Fighting Illini.
After wins from No. 2 doubles and No. 3 doubles, Michigan had a 1-0 lead going into singles play.
As Yurovsky stepped onto the court, she looked into the crowd and heard the fans calling her name and waving cardboard cutouts of her face. She knew she didn’t want to lose on her senior day.
At the beginning of her match, though, Yurovsky was feeling the pressure. After double-faulting a game away, she knew she needed to shake her nerves and refocus.
And she did just that, turning her match around and fighting her way to a tiebreaker, which she dominated, 7-2.
The senior didn’t finish her last regular-season match, though. After wins from freshman Brienne Minor, sophomore Mira Ruder-Hook and freshman Teona Velehorschi, the Wolverines had secured the victory, and Yurovsky’s match was stopped.
The regular season is over, but Michigan’s season is far from done. The Wolverines may have narrowly missed out on a regular-season title, but they aren’t counting themselves out for the Big Ten Tournament title, which will be decided next weekend in East Lansing.