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May 07, 1997 - Image 17

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-05-07

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Wednesday, May 7, 1997 - The Michigan Daily - 17
Women netters soak Big Tens
Tourney champs earn No. 2 seed for southeast regional

William Farah and the Michigan men's tennis team faced a daunting task at the
Big Ten championship without two of its top players. The Wolverines finished sixth.
*hM' tennis finishes6th

By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
What a difference rain can make.
On April 27, excessive rain caused a
change of venue and a change of
scenery - a change for the better for
Michigan. The change sparked the
Michigan women's tennis team to a
Big Ten championship, while improv-
ing its record to 18-4.
After falling behind 1-0 to No. 2
Indiana during the doubles point in
the championship match, rain forced
the Wolverines indoors to continue the
rest of their singles matches.
Michigan never looked back, sweep-
ing the singles matchups on its way to
a 4-1 victory.
Michigan - the conference's top-
ranked team - finally ended a long
dry spell, winning its first ever Big Ten
title.
"It's so sweet," Michigan coach
Bitsy Ritt said. "We've come close
before, but it's been a gradual process
building this program."
Thirteen years, in fact. The number
certainly seems lucky, since Ritt wait-
ed that long as head coach at Michigan
for the title.
The long wait was made even more
worthwhile when Ritt won Big Ten
Coach of the Year honors a week ago.
"It's an honor to be recognized by
your peers," Ritt said. "But the real
highlight of the year was the Big Ten
championship, and that's what we've

been working for."
Michigan finally corrected what it
failed to do two years ago when the
Wolverines entered the tournament as
the No. I seed, only to stumble to a
second-place finish.
Just as she was in 1995, Michigan's
Sarah Cyganiak was named Big Tetn
Player of the Year. This time, however,
the rest of the Wolverines also had
something to celebrate.
Friday, the Wolverines began the
tournament with a 5-I thrashing of
host Purdue. The lone Boilermaker
victory came at No. 2 singles when
Michigan's Sora Moon fell to Purdue's
Jennifer Embry, 6-4, 6-2.
Moon's weekend, however, would
ultimately be a happy one. The junior
was named to the Big Ten all-confer-
ence team with her doubles partner
Cyganiak.
Saturday, in what turned out to be
Michigan's closest match of the week-
end, the Wolverines disposed of
Northwestern, 4-2.
Sunday's championship match fea-
tured the conference's top two teams
- Michigan and Indiana.
The Hoosiers won the doubles point
by controlling the No. 2 and 3 doubles
matches, even though Cyganiak and
Moon led 7-5 at the No. I slot when
their match was suspended.
Ritt expected things to improve for
the Wolverines when the rains came
and the match moved indoors.

"I knew that we weren't playing our
best tennis (in doubles)," Ritt said. "i
knew that if we could re-focus and
relax, we would be okay.
"The only other time we lost the
doubles point this season (against
Wisconsin), we came back and won
five out of the next six points. And
that's something we talked about
against Indiana - that we've been in
this position before."
Sure enough, Michigan's perfor-
mance made a 180-degree turn. The
only point requiring three sets was
Erryn Weggenman's No. 5 singles
match.
Cyganiak downed Indiana's Megan
McCarney, 6-1, 6-2. No. 4 singles
Brooke Hart was victorious, 7-6, 6-0,
as was No. 6 singles Danielle Lund, 6-
2,6-1.
The first-place finish earned
Michigan a No. 2 seed in the southeast
regional, which will be held this week-
end at Vanderbilt.
The Wolverines will face Central
Florida (22-1) - a team with which
they are unfamiliar - on Friday.
But Ritt likes the idea of going up
against a new team rather then a famil-
iar Big Ten opponent that Michigan
has already faced twice this season.
"I don't think we're at a disadvan-
tage," she said. "It can be difficult to
beat a competitive team three times in
a row, especially coming off a Big Ten
championship."

By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
The fourth-seeded Michigan men's
tennis team had to deal with more
than its fair share of obstacles at the
Big Ten championship in East
Lansing on Apri 27.
Fourth-seeded Michigan, playing
ithout two of its top players, fin-
ished sixth in the season-ending tour-
nament after losing to Purdue, 4-0.
The defeat followed a tight 4-3 loss
to Indiana on the tournament's first
day and a 4-0 thrashing of Michigan
State on the second day.
"We came out (Sunday) and didn't
play as well as we could," Michigan
coach Brian Eisner said. "In a tourna-
ent like that, playing three days in a
w takes away from your psycholog-
ical strength."
Adding to the Wolverines' prob-
lems, Purdue played with increased
intensity.
The second-seeded Boilermakers
were wrapping up a disappointing
weekend after losing to Minnesota
and narrowly beating Penn State, 4-3.
"They came out and played unbe-

lievably, the best match they've
played all year," Eisner said. "Purdue
had been disappointed after playing
terribly against Penn State, so they
were really psyched against us."
in fact, none of the four scoring
matches even went to three sets.
The Wolverines competed without
junior Dgvid Paradzik and sophomore
Jake Raiton, who were suspended for
a violation of team rules.
"The fact that they weren't in the
lineup certainly did affect us," Eisner
said. "You can't take two of your best
players out of the lineup and not feel
the effect."
The effect was felt especially hard
during the loss to Indiana.
Michigan took a commanding lead
after winning the doubles point, but
the Hoosiers took four of the six sin-
gles matches to secure the victory.
Michigan's one bright spot came
the next day when it shut out the
Spartans.
The No. I and 2 doubles teams
were victorious, along with Matt
Wright, Mike Pusztai and John Long
in singles.

I~

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