The No. 13 Michigan women’s tennis team remains unbeaten, as it handled No. 18 Texas decisively Sunday morning, 6-1. Sophomores Kate Fahey and Brienne Minor remain 4-0 in dual matches this season and both shone in the matchup.
All three of the Wolverines’ (4-0) doubles teams came out of the gate ready to play, breaking the Longhorns’ (1-2) first service game to take 1-0 leads in all of their respective sets. Junior Alex Najarian was firing on all cylinders, stretching out a big lead in the opening game, while Najarian and Fahey were able to take the No. 1 doubles match, 6-4.
Junior Mira Ruder-Hook and Minor shined as they battled back from a 40-love deficit in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead in the set, eventually winning 6-3.
Not to go unnoticed, freshman Valeria Patiuk and her partner, junior Kara Hall, clawed their way out of a 5-3 hole to go up 6-5. Their comeback effort was cut short, though as the match ended after Michigan had already secured the doubles point.
With the doubles point in tow, it was evident that the Wolverines were not going to back down from their visiting foes.
“We showed a lot of toughness,” said Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein. “There were very long points and it was very physical.”
The resilient attitude carried over into the singles competition. Freshman Chiara Lommer took on an experienced Texas junior, Dani Wagland, and didn’t disappoint. After breaking service early in the first set with strong play, Lommer had a commanding second set performance to win 6-4, 6-0 and contribute a point to the Michigan total.
Fahey was at the top of her game too, taking on a talented freshman Bianca Turati. Even though there were many point disputes, Fahey took charge to win 6-4, 6-2.
“Texas is a good team and they make you earn it,” Bernstein said.
And earn it they did. With a “complete team effort” and a 5-1 lead in hand, Najarian fought back after dropping the first-set 3-6, to win in a third-set tie-break, 11-9 and solidify the final score line.
There was excitement in the air around the Wolverines and their hot start to the season. The stands were filled and one young fan cheered loudly as the heavy-hitting Wolverines put on a display of mastery and discipline.
Victory comes at a good time for the Wolverines, as they head to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in New Haven, Connecticut next weekend (Feb. 10-13).
“It’s a good win early,” Bernstein said. “It gives us some confidence going into indoors that we can hang with anybody.”