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May 24, 2010 - Image 12

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-05-24

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Monday, May 24, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'M' season ended by
Lady Vols in Sweet 16

0

By MATT KRASNOFF
Daily Sports Writer
Every story has an ending, but
the Michigan women's tennis
team's record season, unfortunate-
ly, didn't have a happy one.
After dominating athome during
the first two rounds of the NCAA
Tournament, the fourth-ranked
Wolverines traveled to Georgia for
the Sweet 16.
But that would be as far as the
team would get, after facing No.
14 Tennessee. Michigan (24-5)
fell, 4-0, on Thursday to the Lady
Volunteers, effectively ending the
Wolverines' winningest season in
program history.
"The girls were excited before
the match," Michigan coach Ronni
Bernstein said. "We feltpretty good
and we had good practices before-
"Nobody has
a spot in the
lineup, by any
means."
hand, and then it just didn't work
out."
However, the third-year coach
didn't want to take anything away
from Tennessee (19-8) and its per-
formance.
"Clearly we did not play our best,
but some of it was Tennessee, too,"
Bernstein said.
Michigan struggled in doubles
right out of the gate - an area that
has generally been a strength all
season. Tennessee's No. 1 doubles
m team of Caitlin Whoriskey and
Natalie Pluskota defeated the Wol-
verines' top tandem of 19th-ranked
juniors Rika Tatsuno and Whitney
Taney.
The doubles point was then
clinched in dramatic fashion in the
number-two spot thanks to a 9-8

Tennessee win in the eight-game
pro set. The Volunteers won the
tiebreaker 12-10.
Bernstein and her team were
unhappy with the results, but con-
sidering the Wolverines only had
one senior, they know that such a
season can be a stepping stone to
greater success.
"This doesn't take away from our
year," Bernstein said. "It was our
first time and hopefully the girls
will learn and feel what it was like
to be here and have that feeling af-
terwards, (of) not doing our best."
Most of the Michigan squad trav-
eled back to Ann Arbor after the
loss, but a select few received the
opportunity to stay in Georgia.
No. 19 junior Denise Muresan
and the doubles duo of Taney and
Tatsuno will be staying for this
week's upcoming NCAA Individual
Championships.
"They're excited and I'm excited
for them," Bernstein said. "It's a
great opportunity and a reward for
a great year that they've had indi-
vidually for us."
It's easy to criticize a team that
fell out of the tournament earlier
than expected. But to a coach who
preached unity and teamwork all
year, Bernstein simply saw it as a
bright flame dying out a little too
soon.
"The goal was to peak at the
end of the year, and I think the last
couple of weeks we've been a little
bit off, tobe honest," Bernstein said.
"There's not much in particular (to
work on). We just need to make
sure that at the end of the year
we're playing our best tennis."
Bernstein is excited to get into
the off-season training period and
start preparing for the fall. With a
tup-10 recruiting class coming in,
the first part of the year will be that
much more important.
"It's a clean slate," Bernstein
said. "Nobody has a spot won in
the lineup, by any means. The fall is
where they can show their stuff, so
it's going to be important not only
for our freshmen to come ready to
go, but for the veterans to know
that it's not time to take a couple of
months off."

TOREHAN SHARMAN/Daily
Junior Denise Muresan will compete in the NCAA Individual Championships.

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