Feb. 27, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After completing three matches in three days last weekend, the Michigan State women's tennis team takes this week off to prepare for its last non-conference matches and then conference play. The team will travel down to Tampa, Fla., next week during the university's spring break for a pair of matches. MSU will face Niagara on March 5 at 9 a.m., and Mercer on March 7 at 10 a.m. Both matches will be held at the outdoor courts on the campus of South Florida.
When the Spartans return, they will have about a week to prepare for their Big Ten opener on March 16, when rival Michigan comes to East Lansing.
Bohrer Tied on Top
Senior Marina Bohrer has a chance to become the school's all-time singles career wins leader with just one more win. With the win last Sunday against Wright State, Bohrer pushed her career singles record up to 64-39. She is currently tied with Christine Bader, who is 64-62, and Jessica Baron, who is 64-33, atop the list. Bohrer is currently 12-4 overall for the 2013-14 season. Bohrer tabbed a 22-15 mark her freshman season, 12-7 her sophomore year, and an 18-13 mark last season.
In the fall of 2013, Bohrer was selected to the prequalifying singles bracket of the 2013 Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships. Bohrer was the first Spartan to compete in the prestigious, nationally-recognized event during Simone Jardim's tenure as head coach.
Meyers One of the Best through Two Years
Sophomore Emily Meyers has been a valuable contributor to the program since coming to campus in the fall of 2012. In fact, with a current overall singles record of 31-21, Meyers ranks tied for fourth all-time in school history on most career wins through two seasons. She is tied with Stephanie Kebler, who posted 31 wins between 2006-07. Of course, Meyers still has the rest of the season to move up the list. Alicia Leone is in first with a 42-10 mark through two seasons, Sarah Andrews is second at 41-33, and Monty Gettys and Christine Bader are tied for third with 37 wins apiece.
Three freshmen have played a critical role in the Spartans' early season success thus far on both the singles and doubles courts. Athena Trouillot has spent time on courts four and five of singles and on mostly court three in doubles. In fact, she pairs with fellow newcomer Anna Zelechonok on court three of doubles, and the duo is 2-4 this season.
Trouillot's current overall singles record of 16-4 is tied for sixth in school history for most wins by a first-year player.
Erin Faulkner has held down the No. 2 singles court for almost every match this season. Faulkner is 11-6 overall for the season, including a 7-2 mark on court two of spring dual play matches. Faulkner's 11 wins are nearing the eighth spot on the school's all-time wins list for a first-year player. The eighth spot has 14 wins.
Combined for the dual spring season, MSU has a 55-17 record in singles. Faulkner, who is 7-3, and Trouillot, who is 9-2, have accounted for 16 of those wins, which makes up 29%.
Best Team Start since 2006-07
At the beginning of the spring season, head coach Simone Jardim noted this year could be a "breakthrough year for our team." Off to a 10-2 start this season, MSU has tied its best record to start a season since 2006-07 when it went 10-2 as well. 10-2 is also the best start MSU has had under Jardim, who is in her sixth year leading the program.
As far as what lies ahead for the team, Jardim has noted all year her team has the capabilities and shots to be able to compete with any team, but they just need to continue to have a winning mindset.
"It's up to them," she said. "There's only so much we as coaches can do. I believe they are good, it's a matter of if they can believe it. If they can think, `OK, this is going to happen,' then anything is possible. We can definitely get out of the bottom of the Big Ten and even through the middle of it. It's in their hands, they go out and play. If they can get their mind into it, anything can happen.
To start the season, MSU has won the doubles point in 10 of its first 12 matches. The Spartans are 9-1 when winning the doubles point, and 1-1 when losing the doubles point. As a team, the Spartans combine for a 24-9 doubles record during spring dual play. MSU is 10-1 on the top court, and 7-4 on each of courts two and three.
Jardim notes she does place emphasis on winning that initial point, but she said it all comes down to her squad being the more aggressive team in doubles.
"At the end of the day, when we are the most aggressive team, we're good," she said. "I think doubles is a big thing for both Tyler (Faulkner) and I, we take a lot of pride in it. It's kind of almost like an expectation of ours that we expect that we are always going to be the most aggressive team and that's what makes better doubles teams."
Looking Ahead to Big Ten
After the Spartans return from Florida, they will have about a week to prepare for their Big Ten home opener against No. 13 Michigan on March 16 at 2 p.m.
Overall, six Big Ten teams are nationally ranked, including No. 7 Northwestern, No. 13 Michigan, No. 27 Illinois, No. 39 Purdue, No. 52 Ohio State and No. 53 Indiana. Of those ranked, MSU will play Michigan, Northwestern and Illinois at home.