The No. 8 Michigan women’s tennis team rebounded from a tough match against North Carolina on Thursday to notch two conference road wins this weekend against Rutgers and Maryland.
The Wolverines (8-0 Big Ten, 16-4 overall) — who had their six-match win streak snapped by the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill — came away with two convincing victories this weekend, taking down the Scarlet Knights (1-8, 6-12) 6-1, and the Terrapins (3-4, 12-5) 4-1.
“Maryland was really tough,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “We got off to a slow start in doubles, and we had to rely on the singles to come through. I’m proud of our playing. We had our backs against the wall today.”
Sophomores Kate Fahey and Brienne Minor — the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players — led the Wolverines. Fahey won her match handily, emerging with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over the Terrapins’ Alexandra Stanova. Minor had a much tougher match, battling back after losing the first set to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 over Ekaterina Tour.
Fahey and Minor also won their singles matches Friday against Rutgers, proving that the two continue to be the driving force behind Michigan’s success this season.
“Those two, being sophomores, playing up high like that, it gives everyone else confidence all the way down the lineup,” Bernstein said. “We need to put six people out there that are fighting and competing for the win.”
The Wolverines also received support from the other singles lines Sunday, as freshman Chiara Lommer brought home a victory at No. 4 singles against Kate Yemelyanenko, 6-1, 6-2. Freshman Valeria Patiuk also produced a strong effort, winning her match at No. 6 singles, 6-3, 6-0 over Caroline Williams. The other two singles matches were abandoned before they were completed once Michigan had clinched the match overall.
Maryland did have success against Michigan in the doubles, as they took two out of the three matches. Fahey and junior Alex Najarian took the No. 1 doubles match, 6-2, over Stanova and Kristina Hovsepyan. However, the Terrapins captured a victory in the No. 2 doubles match, where Tour and Williams took down Minor and junior Mira Ruder-Hook, 6-2. Maryland also took the deciding No. 3 doubles match, with Cassandre Thebault and Arnelle Sullivan defeating Lommer and senior Annie Wierda, 6-1, to win the doubles point.
“I think the biggest takeaway is that we need to figure out our doubles and get to where we need to be in May over the next couple of weeks,” said Bernstein. “We’re not even giving ourselves a chance. We need to change it up a little bit, maybe give people new looks in partners.”
The Wolverines will return home this weekend with matches against conference foes Iowa and Nebraska after the solid performances on the road.
“It was good, we had a tough weekend just being on the road,” Bernstein said. “I just think these tough matches are only gonna make us better moving forward.”