The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - March 17, 1997 - 3B
Blue women's tennis defeats Illini
M'netters don't scare anybody yet,
but new facility will surely li e
e University of Michigan
Varsity Tennis Center is a sight
to behold. Nestled deep into the
hills off South
State Street, the
two large, dark
The Center is
Ina sense, the RSOLLENBERGER
women's tennis Sollenberger
team wants to ___________
emulate its new
athletic facility. It, too, wants to be
intimidating - something it's rarely
been during coach Bitsy Ritt's 12-plus
years in Ann Arbor.
During Ritt's reign, the Wolverines
have had five losing seasons, had no
Big Ten titles, and finished higher
*han fifth in the conference only
twice. And they've reached the
NCAA championships just once, a
year ago when it expanded from 20 to
Indeed, Michigan isn't the Roman
"Empire of college tennis.
Still, the creation of the $5 million
Center, which is in its inaugural sea-
son of operation, is a step in the right
"Obviously, the facility will be a
reat asset for the program," Ritt said.
"I think it has given us an opportunity
to elevate our standings in the national
Make no mistake. The Center will
help Michigan in all areas, but its
greatest impact will be felt in recruit-
ing. The Wolverines finally have the
facility to keep talented in-state play-
ers at home.
Surprisingly, the Wolverines don't
have anyone from Michigan on their
eight-woman roster, and it's not
because the state's high school pro-
grams are lacking.
"Michigan produces a lot of good
junior players," Ritt said. "The coach-
ing in several areas is very good. I
think as the program improves, play-
ers will want to stay here."
The Center surely will help.
Still, tennis is played on the court,
and facilities can only help so much.
The Wolverines face an uphill climb
on the road to becoming a national
Tennis, like baseball, golf and other
outdoor sports, is dominated by
warm-weather schools. It will take
much more than a new facility for
Michigan to compete with the nation's
For one, Ritt needs to bring in solid
recruiting classes every season - not
just one every four years. Right now,
the Wolverines are incredibly bottom
heavy with just one senior - Sarah
Cyganiak - on their roster.
"Really, in terms of eligibility," Ritt
said, "we have one senior, one junior
and one sophomore."
That leaves five freshmen. And
against experienced pfograms, that's
not going to cut it.
Still, despite this lack of experi-
ence, Michigan has made strides this
season. The Wolverines' 6-3 start is
their best since 1990-91 and has pro-
pelled them to No. 17 in the Rolex
Collegiate Tennis Rankings. And
while they aren't favored to win their
first conference title ever, they could
scare some people at the Big Ten
championships held April 24-27 in
Just ask Wisconsin.
On Feb. 1, Michigan traveled to
Madison and shocked the then-I 0th-
ranked Badgers, 5-2.
"In that match, we weren't intimi- *
dated that they were Big Ten champs
and ranked No. 10 in the country,"
Ritt said. "Frankly, we expected to
Interesting. They expected to win.
Well, it's not like they would expect to
lose, right? Under Ritt, the Wolverines
Still, it's surprising they were confi-
dent playing the nation's No. 10 team.
"Across the board, there have been
improvements," Ritt said. "And that's
really why we've been able to turn it
around and become so much more
It's the sort of optimism that per-
vades Michigan tennis these days. The
Wolverines aren't among the nation's
elite, but they're getting closer.
They haven't won a Big Ten title,
but they're getting closer.
They aren't as intimidating as their
new athletic facility looks.
But they're getting closer.
- Barry Sollenberger can be
reached over e-mail at
By Ginger L. Zabel
For the Daily
The Michigan women's tennis team
returned home from a difficult spring
break tour to maintain a perfect 3-0
conference record with a 6-1 win over
Illinois in Ann Arbor yesterday.
The Wolverines were led by senior
Sarah Cyganiak who took home two
victories, snagging a singles win
against the Illini's Stacy Shapiro, 6-0,
6-2, and a doubles win with partner
Sora Moon. Cyganiak is now 88-43 in
her singles career.
Tumeka Harris also stepped up to
take a victory with a 6-4, 6-2 defeat of
Illinois Liana Aguero.
"Tumeka has had some tough luck
recently, but stayed with it and got the
job done today," Michigan coach Bitsy
While the upperclassmen continue
to lead the team, freshman contribu-
tions have given the Wolverines the
depth to overcome their opponents.
Freshmen Brooke Hart, Erryn
Weggenman, Danielle Lund and JeIn
Boylan accounted for five of the
team's victories this weekend.
Hart downed Illinois' Jessica
Klapper, 6-2, 6-0, to improve her dual-
meet record to 7-2. Fellow freshmen
Weggenman and Lund each bumped
their records to 6-3 with individual
victories of 6-3, 6-3 and 6-0, 6-1,
respectively. Weggenman also doubled
up with redshirt freshman Jen Boylan
to beat Illinois' Allison Gottleb and
Lindsay Bruce, 8-6.
The Wolverines will face Michigan
State on Friday and Purdue on
Saturday at home.
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TENNIS (s & D)
Entries Taken: until Thurs 3/20 4:30pm IMSB (Main Office)
Entry Fee: $5 for Singles/$9 for Doubles
Tournament Format: Double Elimination (depending on #s)
Tournament Dates: Sat 3/22 & Sun 3/23 at IMSB Courts
Entry Deadline: until Thurs 4/3 4:30pm IMSB (Main Office)
Entry Fee: $5 for Singles/$9 for Doubles
Tournament Format: Double Elimination (depending on Ws)
Tournament Dates: Sat 4/5 at Sports Coliseum (Fifth & Hill)
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if you are going to be around during the Spring/Summer Terms,
plan on participating in:
Softball, Sand Volleyball,
3-on-3 Basketball, Tennis, Golf
New York City: You gotta do it once. Come for the spring semester. Live