Jan. 21, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's tennis team picked up its first two wins of the season Monday, at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility in East Lansing. Michigan State dominated both contests, defeating Cleveland State, 7-0, then routing Detroit, 7-0.
The Spartans started off strong in their first match of the day against Cleveland State, as they took the first point of the match with two wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. At No. 3 doubles, MSU's Christine Bader and Christine Milliken routed Cleveland State's Melissa Holzinger and Denisa Muntean, 8-1. MSU's Ana Milosavljevic and Whitney Wilson seemed to be on their way to a conquering performance at No. 2 doubles, jumping ahead of Sanda Bjelen and Morgan Ungerott, 7-1. The Cleveland State duo made a strong comeback, however, winning five straight games to bring it to within one, but the Spartan team would hit the shots when it counted the most, winning the pro-set 8-6.
MSU would take the momentum from there, as it rattled off six-straight singles wins against Cleveland State. At No. 1 singles for the Spartans, Bader defeated Holzinger, 6-3, 6-0, while Manon Noe picked up her second win of the season at No. 2, overpowering CSU's Jackie Tabb, 6-1, 6-2. In the longest match of the day, Milosavljevic extended her team-best singles record to 10-2, as she split sets, then finished off her opponent in the tiebreaker, defeating Charlotte Gibbons, 6-7 (3), 6-2, (10-4).
"Cleveland State is a much improved team since last season, and they really came out early and showed that in the doubles matches," said MSU head coach Erica Perkins. "We were lucky to scrape out the doubles point. They had us on our heels at the top positions right from the get-go. We've got to work on coming out and playing aggressively on all three courts in each match. I was happy with how we came out in singles against this team. We made some adjustments after the doubles matches, and we came out smart, and played high percentage tennis to get the win."
The Spartans stayed hot as they entered their second match of the day, taking on the Detroit Titans. Michigan State swept all three doubles matches to start the competition, going 8-4, 8-3, 8-3, and taking the first point of the match for the third time in three matches this season.
MSU played another strong round of singles, as it took all six matches from the Titans. Bader blanked Detroit's Annie Moore 6-0, 6-0, while Stephanie Kebler took out Aneta Maricevic in straight-sets, 6-2, 6-0. At No. 2 singles, Noe dropped her first set to Svetlana Flankova, but exploded in the second set, winning 6-1, then finishing off the tiebreaker, 10-5. MSU freshmen Ally Wickman and Michelle Murphy picked up their first dual-match wins as Spartans against Detroit. Competing at No. 5, Murphy overpowered Zeljka Minic, 6-1, 6-3, while Wickman defeated Kelly Davis, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 6 singles.
"Doubleheaders are always a grind," said Perkins. "I really thought we played with a lot of resiliency, and I think we improved as the day went on. Christine Bader and Stephanie Kebler really set the tone for us against Detroit. Their energy and execution was excellent, and it allowed Manon Noe to regroup and pull out the win after a tough first set. I was also glad that freshmen Michelle Murphy and Ally Wickman could come out and pick up their first dual-match wins in the Green and White for us."
Michigan State now sits at 2-1 on the season, as it prepares to wrap up its five-match homestand on Jan. 26. The Spartans will square off against No. 70 Louisville at 10 a.m. and Morehead State at 4 p.m at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility in East Lansing.