The No. 8 Michigan women’s tennis team knew it was going to be tough to beat No. 2 North Carolina (10-2), and they were excited and ready from the first serve. In the end, it was Michigan’s dynamic bond that gave them the 5-2 victory.
The doubles teams were active at the net, knowing they needed to control the points if they wanted to win. Every point was a battle, but eventually the Wolverines (6-2) put enough points away to clinch the doubles point.
With the No. 1 doubles team of freshman Brienne Minor and sophomore Mira Ruder-Hook only one point away from beating the Tar Heels’ No. 1 doubles team, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation, Minor produced a big serve that immediately put North Carolina on defense. Both players charged the net, giving them an easy volley to end the match.
With Ruder-Hook and Minor winning, 6-4, the Wolverines needed only one more team to take the doubles point.
The No. 3 doubles team, made up of junior Sara Remynse and freshman Teona Velehorschi, officially secured the doubles point after winning the tiebreaker, 7-4.
For the bottom of the lineup, the momentum from the doubles carried into their singles matches. Sophomore Alex Najarian took advantage of her fresh legs at No. 5 singles and came out fired up.
She was two games away from winning the match and it was clear to anyone in earshot that she was ready to end it. Screams of “Go Blue” or “Come On!” echoed throughout the Varsity Tennis Center. Najarian dominated her opponent and was the first to finish with a score of 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s hard to play people when they’re not being as loud to try and get yourself to be loud,” Najarian said, “But having the energy of my teammates helps a lot.”
With a comeback win from junior Sara Remynse, Michigan only needed one more win to take the whole match. It was a race between freshman Kate Fahey and Ruder-Hook to seal the win first. The honor was left to the freshman.
Fahey was at match point as she ran toward the net. She left the ball to land out and locked in the Wolverines’ win on a Tar Heel unforced error. While her teammates rushed to celebrate the upset, North Carolina’s Jessie Aney threw her racket in the air in defeat.
“Just for the bottom of our lineup to come through today was huge,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “This is a team win for sure. Everybody stepped up today, and that’s what it is. It’s going to take a team, it’s not going to take a couple kids.”