March 14, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State women's tennis team (12-2, 0-0 Big Ten) opens up Big Ten conference play Sunday afternoon when it welcomes rival No. 13 Michigan (8-2, 0-0 Big Ten) to town. Play will begin at 2 p.m. inside the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility and admission is free. Live scoring will be available on msuspartans.com.
The Spartans are coming off last week's spring break trip to sunny South Florida. MSU was able to compete in two neutral site matches last week, shutting out both of its opponents. MSU beat Niagara, 7-0, on March 5, and Mercer, 7-0, on March 7.
"The most important thing about the trip was taking a break from the snow, it was good for everybody and it got our spirits up," head coach Simone Jardim said. "Coming back over here it's kind of like hitting the reset button because now we start Big Ten play and the level is going to be quite different and tough."
In doubles, MSU is 29-9 (.763) as a team, including receiving 11 wins from the top court and nine wins apiece on both the second and third court.
Bohrer Sets New Record
Heading into last week's spring break matches, senior co-captain Marina Bohrer was tied atop the school's all-time career singles wins with 64. With her 6-0, 6-2, win over Ashley Ta of Niagara on March 5, Bohrer was able to establish herself as the new No.1 on the career singles wins list. Bohrer went on to defeat Mercer on March 7, 6-1, 6-2, for her 66th career win. Christine Bader and Jessica Baron are tied for second on the wins list, coming in at 64 wins. All-time for her career, Bohrer is 66-39 in singles. She posted a 22-15 mark her freshman season, 12-7 her sophomore year, 18-13 last year, and is currently 14-4 overall this season, including 12-1 in spring dual play.
"I am happy that I made history at MSU," Bohrer said on March 7. "My goal has always been to do everything in my power to help the team win. If along the way it meant that I broke a record it is just an extra accomplishment. At the end of the day, what really matters to me is being able to contribute to the team's overall success."
Jardim notes Bohrer has had a winning mentality during her time in Green and White.
"Marina is definitely a competitor from the moment she got here, and she likes to win," Jardim said. "It doesn't matter how she plays, she wants to win really badly. She's willing to play ugly if she has to. You want a competitor, someone who can compete every time and that's why she's so successful because she gets the job done."
Best Start in School History
By pushing its record up to 12-2 last week, the Spartans are off to their best start ever in school history through 14 matches. Previously, the best start through 14 matches was 11-3, which was accomplished in 1982, 1988, and 2011.
At the beginning of the season, Jardim noted this season could be a "breakthrough year for our team." MSU certainly made a breakthrough during the non-conference slate and still has conference play to continue and build upon its terrific start.
What has separated this team from previous teams, Jardim noted, was its ability to win on all six singles courts.
"We are in a position where we can win in any spot," Jardim said. "For the team, it's better because you don't feel as much pressure. If the wins always come from the same spot, then those people might feel more pressure to win each time. We can have wins come from anywhere in the lineup."
Case in point, MSU has double-digit wins on each of the six singles courts. Courts one, five and six pace the team with 12 wins apiece.
The Wolverines come into Sunday's match with an 8-2 record and a No. 13 national ranking. Michigan will also host No. 5 Virginia on Friday afternoon. Ronni Bernstein is in her seventh season as head coach.
U-M has won its last five matches in a row, including a sweep of then-No. 24 Texas in its last time out on March 8. Within that winning streak, U-M has also swept its last three opponents in a row.
Three doubles teams are nationally ranked for Michigan. Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender are ranked No. 18 in the country and post a 3-2 record in dual play. Sarah Lee and Ronit Yurovsky are ranked No. 45, although they have not played together yet this dual season. Amy Zhu and Lee are ranked No. 75 in the nation and are projected to play on the second doubles court. Zhu and Lee are 8-2 in dual play. Michigan has used three separate tandems on the third doubles court.
Michigan features four of its singles players ranked nationally. Bektas leads the way, coming in at No. 7. Bektas has been named Big Ten Women's Tennis Athlete of the Week three times already this season and is a perfect 10-0 in dual play, with all of her matches coming on the top court. Yurovsky is ranked No. 20 in the nation, posting a 5-0 record on court two. Bolender comes in at No. 98, posting a 6-0 record in dual play with wins coming on courts two through four. Lee is the last U-M singles player ranked, coming in at No. 103. Lee is 7-3 in dual play, splitting time between the second and third court.
Four players on this year's Spartan squad are from the state of Michigan. Seniors Katarina Lingl, Christina Brown and Jennifer Yen, as well as freshman Emmy Virkus all come from around the state.
During each of Jardim's six seasons at MSU, she has had at least two Michiganders on every roster. In total, Jardim has coached seven different players from the state of Michigan.
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 33-21, Meyers ranks fifth all-time in school history on most career wins through two seasons. With her two wins over spring break, she passed Stephanie Kebler, who posted 31 wins between 2006-07. Alicia Leone is in first with a 42-10 mark through two seasons, Sarah Andrews is second at 41-33, Monty Gettys and Christine Bader are tied for third with 37 wins apiece, and Bohrer is fourth at 34-22.
After Sunday's match, MSU will host Penn State on March 21, and then hit the road March 23 to face No. 56 Ohio State.