In true recovery fashion, the Michigan women’s tennis team came back from a shaky doubles performance to earn four points in its singles matches and defeat Tulsa to tough out a victory in the ITA Championship round on Sunday afternoon.
Despite losing two out of their three doubles, the team rallied to win all six of their matches in the singles stage, which helped the team clinch a spot in the ITA National Indoor Round.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us, and these guys did a great job to get us there,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein.
A plethora of players stepped up in Sunday’s competition, the most notable was no. 33 Kate Fahey.
“Going into indoors, I think I’m playing really well,” Fahey said.
Fahey—who was nursing an injury—also praised her teammate Alyvia Jones, who just joined the Wolverines for the start of indoor season.
Despite struggling with doubles partner Chiara Lommer, Jones rebounded nicely in the singles portion of the afternoon, winning both of her matches and coming through in high-pressure situations, including a string of five consecutive matches that went to deuce.
“I was just trying to be aggressive and not focus on it being a big point, instead try and focus on just trying to win the point,” Jones said.
Jones was also involved in the closest match of the afternoon, defeating Tamara Kupkova 7-6 (2) in her first match before winning an abridged second match, 3-0. Seeing her teammates’ success helped Jones find her own.
“My court was tight and I looked around and everyone was winning easy,” Jones said. “They were carrying the team as I was trying to play my match as well.”
After this win, it is clear that Michigan’s top six singles competitors—Fahey, Lommer, Jones, Mira Ruder-Hook, Alex Najarian and Bella Lorenzini — are the team’s greatest assets. However, they will need to improve their performances in doubles if they want to make a run at a title this season.
Despite its early struggles, the team is excited for its opportunity to play in the National Indoor Round. Bernstein noted to reporters that she sees the tournament as a chance to test her young team.
“Going to the Indoors is always special,” she said. “We’re gonna have opportunities to play the best in the country and see where we stack up. The girls are excited, and they earned it.”
Of course, the Wolverines have much to improve on to find success in both the Indoor Round and the rest of the season.