April 23, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center -- Outdoors)
Score: No. 10 Michigan 6, No. 17 Northwestern 1
Records: NU (16-7, 8-1 Big Ten) Michigan (20-3, 10-0 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Sunday, April 24 at Michigan State Evanston 10 a.m. CT
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Northwestern's bid for a Big Ten championship did not pan out on Saturday as 10th-ranked Michigan defended its title with a 6-1 defeat of the Wildcats at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines wrapped up its conference season with a 10-0 mark while second-place NU enters its final match Sunday at Michigan State with an 8-1 record in the league.
"Michigan's a very tough team, their doubles point is exceptional and they have no holes in singles," said Northwestern head coach Claire Pollard. "We're going to need to raise our level a bit if we want to win a Big Ten Tournament next week, but that's our goal and that's what we'll be striving for in practice."
Northwestern has faced Michigan, which will serve as host for the Big Ten Tournament beginning April 28, in the championship match of the event each of the last six seasons. Last season, NU fell to Michigan in the regular season before winning 4-0 in the tournament final.
On Saturday, Northwestern fell behind in doubles on two of the three courts, including the top spot where Michigan's seventh-ranked tandem of Brooke Bolender and Denise Muresan sped to a 6-2 advantage on NU's Elena Chernyakova and Linda Abu Mushrefova and went on to win 8-3.
Sophomore Brittany Wowchuk and freshman Nida Hamilton then suffered their first defeat as a doubles duo, falling 8-2 to Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno at No. 2. Northwestern did manage to snag a victory at No. 3 as Maria Mosolova and Belinda Niu improved to 7-0 when playing on the third doubles line this season, overcoming Sam Critser and Mimi Nguyen, 8-5.
Michigan stormed out of the gates in singles, winning first sets on all six courts and securing its second team point when No. 100 Whitney Taney defeated NU's Brittany Wowchuk
, 6-2, 6-3. Wolverines senior Rika Tatsuno prevailed in her No. 5 singles match against Northwestern junior Stacey Lee
and, in a battle of two of the league's top rookies, Michigan's 86th-ranked Brooke Bolender clinched the dual and the conference championship when she outlasted No. 73 Belinda Niu
, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
Northwestern received a quality come-from-behind win at No. 6 singles by sophomore Linda Abu Mushrefova, who moved to 10-7 in dual matches and 5-1 in the Big Ten this season by topping Nguyen, 6-7, 6-0, 7-5.
The loss marks only the second time NU has lost to a Big Ten opponent since April of 2004, a stretch covering 99 matches.
On Sunday, Northwestern will wrap up the regular season against Michigan State in a match slated to begin at 10 a.m. CT in East Lansing. There is no live online scoring available for the match, however results will be available on NUsports.com after its completion.
No. 10 Michigan 6, No. 17 Northwestern 1
1: #8 Denise Muresan (MICH) def. #13 Maria Mosolova (NU), 7-5, 6-2
2: #86 Brooke Bolender (MICH) def. #73 Belinda Niu (NU), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
3: #100 Whitney Taney (MICH) def. #71 Brittany Wowchuk (NU), 6-2, 6-3
4: #66 Sam Critser (MICH) def. Kate Turvy (NU), 7-6, 3-6, 1-0 (8)
5: Rika Tatsuno (MICH) def. Stacey Lee (NU), 6-4, 6-2
6: Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Mimi Nguyen (MICH), 6-7, 6-0, 7-5
1: #7 Bolender/Muresan (MICH) def. Abu Mushrefova/Chernyakova (NU), 8-3
2: #65 Taney/Tatsuno (MICH) def. Wowchuk/Hamilton (NU), 8-2
3: Niu/Mosolova (NU) def. Critser/Nguyen (MICH), 8-5
Order of Finish:
Singles: (3, 5, 2*, 4, 2, 6)
Doubles: (1, 2*, 3)
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