It was a victory in itself that the women’s tennis team sent so many players to the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. They drew tough first-round opponents and were up against the best players in the country. Though it doesn’t look as if the Wolverines accomplished much on paper, they had a strong showing in the consolation draws and have set themselves up for what could be an impressive spring season.
Sophomore Kate Fahey and junior Alex Najarian had the most success this weekend. After a first-round bye, they dropped their first match to the eventual winners of the tournament — Kentucky’s Aldila Sutjiadi and Mami Adachi — losing 6-4, 6-4.
Michigan was able to bounce back quickly as it still had the opportunity to play in the doubles backdraw. The Wolverines had a tough battle against Lynn after dropping the second set to force a third-set tiebreaker, but won the final set, 10-4.
After winning their first round of the consolation draw, it was smooth sailing for Fahey and Najarian. The pair dominated California and Baylor, winning 6-2, 6-4, and 6-1, 6-2, respectively.
With fall tennis over, the win doesn’t necessarily lead to another national tournament. But it does give Michigan confidence and may help its ranking going into the spring season.
After Fahey and Najarian’s success at the Midwest Regional Championships, they both got the chance to play singles as well. Fahey won her first match, but fell to Sinead Lohan from Miami in three sets.
“I think the girls were starting to get beat up, but that’s kind of the reality of college tennis,” said Michigan associate head coach Teryn Ashley-Fitch. “But I think they handled themselves well, getting back to college fitness.”
In between Fahey and Najarian’s doubles and singles play, sophomore Brienne Minor and junior Mira Ruder-Hook also competed for the doubles title.
After beating Kentucky in three sets, they had a quick turnaround and played Oklahoma State later that day. They ultimately lost, 6-1, 6-4.
They also found some success in the doubles consolation, winning two matches to give them some good experience before heading into the offseason.
“I think this is the first year that we’ve had two singles players and two doubles teams at this event,” Ashley-Fitch said. “I think they’ve all worked really hard all fall and it showed in our results.”