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6A - Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

After Sweet 16 berth,
tennis starts anew

The Wolverines
return their singles
lineup and adds
strong recruits
By JASON RUBENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's
tennis team is eyeing a fresh
start. Despite getting ousted
by UCLA in last year's NCAA
Sweet 16, the Wolverines return
their entire singles lineup while
adding a star-studded recruit-
ing class.
The rejuvenated lineup faces
its first test when it plays in this
weekend's Wolverine Invita-
tional. Michigan will face Notre
Dame, DePaul, Tulane, Purdue
and Arizona State in a mixture
of singles and doubles.
Sitting atop the lineup is
junior Emina Bektas, who is
ranked No. 25 in the preseason
ITA poll. Bektas was voted to
the All-Big Ten first team and
changed her summer routine to

Bolender: "I'm very impressed
with the freshmen. They came
in knowing that they were
freshmen, but at the same time
knowing they were a big part of
the team. We need our fresh-
men to contribute as much as
everyone else, and they've come
in strong."
Michigan especially needs its
freshmen to step up in the dou-
bles game. The Wolverines tried
many different pairings last
season but couldn't consistently
produce at the bottom spots.
Bektas and Bolender were often
the only duo to secure victories
at dual meets, and their success
earned them a No. 3 ranking in
the preseason poll.
But despite the ranking, the
two might not be partners.
"We actually don't know
if we are even going to play
together," Bolender said. "We
need to put out three of our best
doubles teams, whether or not
Emina and I are together. The
coaches haven't decided yet."
Splitting the pair would
mean losing out on a one-of-a-

ALLISON FARRAND/Daily
Senior midfielder Meghan Toohey said Michigan's first loss of the season, against Butler, won't be forgotten. "We don't ever want to feel like that," she said.
Rynmay make change~s a after 1st loss

By JAKE LOURIM
Daily Sports Writer
A month ago, life was good for
the Michigan women's soccer
team and its coach, Greg Ryan.
The Wolverines rolled off 6-1
and 3-0 wins and were all smiles
after the games. Nearly every
player on the roster saw action.
Ryan sat cheerfully on the shaded
bench after games - "my new
office," he called it.
Sunday, Butler hit Michigan
with something it hadn't seen
before - a loss. Now it must
respond.
"We're not going to forget
that loss," said senior midfielder
Meghan Toohey. "(We'll) know
just what it feels like. We don't
ever want to feel like that."
The Wolverines have talked for
weeks about a Big Ten title, which
Penn State has won for 15 seasons
in a row. The conference schedule
begins Sunday at Iowa.
"If we were going to face
adversity or have a loss, the But-
ler game was the game to do it,"
said junior defender Chloe Sos-

enko. "It's something that we're
not going to forget."
The loss on Sunday in India-
napolis wasn't the kind of game
the Wolverines were used to. The
Bulldogs sat back in a five-defend-
er formation and kept Michigan
out of the box.
"To be honest, I think the
tough part was just that they
threw something at us tactically
that we haven't seen before,"
Ryan said.
Butler scored late in the first
half on a counterattack, and it
wasn't the kind of goal the Wol-
verines were used to. It was an
uncharacteristic goal, one in
which Ryan said "five players
(made) mistakes, all on the same
play."
Ryan kept his hands off the
leadership and let his players
carry the team to its best start
ever. Now, heading into the Big
Ten season, he may have to make
some changes. He said he will
talk this week with a few players
who have not been performing up
to their potential.
"It's up to the players coming

off the bench," Ryan said. "If they
can perform at a really high level,
I'll continue to use the bench. If
they can't perform at a high level
in the Big Ten season, you'll see a
smaller lineup."
This season, Ryan has men-
tioned depth as one of Michi-
gan's strengths, but as the games
become more important, he will
consider playing his starters more
as necessary.
Other than a one-goal deficit
against San Diego State on Sept.
1, this is the only true adversity
the Wolverines have faced. With
another deficit seemingly inevi-
table at some point during the Big
Ten season, Michigan may have
to get used to these battles.
"Our team has tended to get
frustrated when things aren't
going as planned for us," Toohey
said. "It's a mindset, knowing
we're good enough to do it."
The Wolverines, who moved
down to No. 15 in this week's Top
25, will need to rebound quickly
before heading to Iowa (8-0). The
Hawkeyes, though undefeated,
have not beaten any teams receiv-

ing votes in this week's poll and
have not finished above .500 since
2002.
After a six-game homestand to
open the season, Sosenko antici-
pates a difficult atmosphere in
Michigan's second straight road
game.
"We haven't won on the road,
so we'll need to prove to ourselves
that we can win on the road,"
Sosenko said. "We're not play-
ing against the other team. We're
playing against them, the refs, the
fans and the field."
If the Wolverines do battle
back and open the Big Ten sea-
son with a win Sunday, the But-
ler defeat could be looked at as a
good loss.
"We would love that to hap-
pen," Toohey said. "This could
be a game that refocuses us and
relights our fire, or it could be
a snowball into (more losses).
We're going to channel that into
lighting the fire."
Needing to light a fire is not
a situation Michigan has found
itself in this season. Still, they
have to adjust.

PAUL SHERMAN/daily
Junior Emina Bektas is ranked No. 25 in the preseason ITA poll.

A sCall: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com
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refine her craft.
"Mostly this summer, I tried
to stay in a competitive shape
by playing tournaments," Bek-
tas said. "Last summer, I didn't
do a good job of that and being
in competitive matches is some-
thing you can't just practice."
Sophomore Ronit Yurovsky
should also make an impact.
The reigning Big TenFreshman
of the Year saw time at the No. 1
slot, and with Bektas, forms one
of the strongest one-two punch-
es in the country.
But don't count out the three
newcomers. Sara Remynse, a
five-star recruit according to
TennisRecruiting.net, high-
lights the freshmen class. The
Richland, Mich., native is the
No. 31 player in the nation.
Joining Remynse are Colom-
bia native Laura Ucros and
Annie Weirda from Holland,
Mich. And all of them are
already making themselves
known in practice.
"The freshmen have been
great," Bektas said. "They have
really provided a new aspect.
Sara, Annie and Laura have
all been great and have a great
chemistry with us already."
Added senior Brooke

kind, aggressive strategy that
has led to success in college,
but also at the professional level
as well. The duo won a doubles
futures event in Evansville,
Ind., this summer.
However, this weekend will
allow coach Ronni Bernstein to
toy with all types of combina-
tions in order to find that per-
feet lineup.
Highlighting the competi-
tion this weekend is Notre
Dame's Brittany Sanders, who
has given Bektas a difficult time
in the past. The two players
split their matches last year.
But Bektas has a game plan.
"I do need to continue to
work on my defensive game
and play those longer points,"
Bektas said. "But if that's what
I'm doing the whole match, I'm
probably going to be in trouble,
so using my forehand and get-
ting in is what I need to do."
This weekend will provide
the Wolverines a chance to see
new competition and allow
them to figure out their team's
identity.
Who will play in each spot?
Only time will tell, and this
weekend is just the beginning
of a long road.

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