March 26, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State women's tennis team stays on the road this weekend as it travels to Nebraska and Iowa. The Spartans (13-4, 1-2 Big Ten) face the Cornhuskers on Friday at 5 p.m. ET, inside the Nebraska Tennis Center. MSU plays the Hawkeyes on Sunday at 12 p.m. ET, either inside or outside at the Hawkeye Tennis Complex. Should the weather be above 50 degrees for either match this weekend, the matches will be moved outdoors.
The Spartans are coming off their first full weekend of conference play. MSU was able to split its matches, sweeping Penn State on March 21, 7-0, and losing to then-No. 51 Ohio State on March 23, 5-2.
The sweep over Penn State gives MSU seven total wins this season by a final of 7-0, marking the most sweeps in a season since 2004-05 when MSU tallied seven as well. Additionally, MSU swept its first Big Ten opponent since 2003-04 when it swept Minnesota in East Lansing on April 3, 2004.
Against the Nittany Lions, MSU claimed the doubles point for the 13th time this season, posting a 12-1 record when doing so. After MSU split its doubles matches, winning on court three and losing on court one, sophomore Emily Meyers and junior Julianne Gruber were able to come up clutch and give the Spartans the early 1-0 lead after winning an intense tiebreaker on court two, 8-7(5). In singles, MSU picked up wins on all six courts, including Marina Bohrer, Erin Faulkner, Catherine Parenteau, Meyers, Olga Chernova, and Athena Trouillot on courts one through six, respectively.
Against the Buckeyes on March 23, MSU lost the doubles point for just the fourth time all season. The Spartans were able to battle back in the overall match and claim two of the singles matches, but ultimately came up short, losing 5-2. Faulkner and Trouillot picked up the two points on the day.
"We competed very well against Ohio State," head coach Simone Jardim said. "Going into singles, I knew it was going to take a lot, but there were moments we weren't very far away from getting those four points. The takeaway from it is that the match is never over. We've had some really good tests so far, so the matches to come we will be ready for."
Freshmen Athena Trouillot and Erin Faulkner have played a critical role in the Spartans' early season success thus far on both the singles and doubles courts. Trouillot has spent time on courts five and six of singles and on mostly court three in doubles. Trouillot's current overall singles record stands at 20-5 and is 13-3 in the spring season dual matches. Her 20 overall wins are third all-time in school history for most wins through one season, trailing Marina Bohrer with 22 (2010-11) and Alicia Leone with 27 (1990-91).
Faulkner has held down the No. 2 singles court for almost every match this season and has played on the top doubles court in just about every match. She is 15-7 overall for the season, and 11-4 in spring season dual matches. Her 15 overall wins are tied for seventh all-time in school history for most wins through one season.
Both Faulkner and Trouillot own 2-1 records in conference play.
"They are very talented kids, both of them," Jardim said. "Their abilities are something we knew about them coming in, but I think they understand it better and that is helping them be more successful in a college tennis and team atmosphere. Both are great kids, great competitors, and like to win."
Combined for the dual spring season, MSU has a 76-26 (.745) record in singles. Faulkner, who is 11-4, and Trouillot, who is 13-3, have accounted for 24 of those wins, which makes up 32% of the team's total.
Landmark Season Thus Far
In addition to many individual records that have been set, MSU is also having a landmark season as a collective team. MSU is 13-4 this season, which is tied for the best record through 17 matches in school history. MSU started 13-4 in 1988 and 1991 as well.
The Spartans' 13 wins are the most in Coach Jardim's six seasons, and the most since MSU tallied 14 wins in the 2005-06 campaign.
Jardim noted the difference in this year's team compared to previous years is its ability to win on any of the six singles courts.
"When you compete hard at every spot, you're going to give a lot of work to other teams," she said. "It's unique in college tennis where momentum can shift from one court to another based on how your teammates are doing on the courts around you. Having six people who can go out and give their all demonstrates the strength and depth of our team."
Confident Hitting on the Road
Even though MSU will play two road matches, and its third consecutive, this weekend, Jardim is confident in her team. She notes if her team plays and competes how they have been lately, the results will take care of themselves. Partly responsible for the team's level of play and competitiveness this season is due to the way teammates are able to motivate and push each other in practice.
"We've been doing what we've been doing (in practice) and that's being able to push each other a little more," Jardim said. "We're starting to feel more comfortable with being uncomfortable. One thing we've done a much better job of is going out and pushing one another. Intensity and accountability are the two biggest things."
The Cornhuskers are 8-8 this season and 0-3 in conference play. Nebraska is 8-7 in Lincoln, Neb., this year. The lone venture out of state came in a loss at Wisconsin on March 21. Nebraska began the season ranked No. 25 in the ITA poll but has fallen to the ranks of the unranked. Nebraska is 0-2 against ranked opponents. Scott Jacobson is in his 23rd season as head coach.
In singles, the Huskers are 43-32 (.573) as a team, paced by 11 wins on court one. Those 11 wins have all come from Maggy Lehmicke. Lehmicke is 1-1 against ranked opponents this season.
In doubles, Nebraska is just 19-15 (.559) as a team, with court one leading the team with eight wins. Lehmicke teams with Mary Hanna on court one and the tandem is 8-4.
In the teams' last meeting, April 14, 2013, No. 12 Nebraska defeated MSU, 6-1, in East Lansing. Meyers picked up the lone point for the Spartans in singles that day.
In the last meeting in East Lansing, April 15, 2012, No. 17 Nebraska took down MSU, 6-1. Bohrer was the lone winner for the Spartans that day.
The Hawkeyes are 8-6 with a 1-2 conference mark this season. Iowa slipped into the national rankings on March 11, coming in at No. 70. Iowa reached as high as No. 65 but its current three-match losing streak have kicked the Hawkeyes out of the rankings. Katie Dougherty is in her fifth season as head coach.
In singles, Iowa is 50-31 (.617) as a team, with courts one and three accounting for 10 wins apiece. Ruth Seaborne is 9-4 on court one and has won seven of her last eight matches.
In doubles, Iowa is 26-12 (.684) as a team. Court one, behind the duo of Seaborne and Morven McCulloch, leads the way with 11 wins. Seaborne and McCulloch are 10-2 on court one.
In the teams' last meeting, April 13, 2013, Iowa beat MSU, 4-3, in East Lansing. MSU was able to win the doubles point and then earned singles wins from Bohrer and Meyers.
In the last meeting in Iowa City, Iowa defeated MSU 5-2, on April 13, 2012. Bohrer was the lone active Spartan who earned a win.
Bohrer Sets New Record
Heading into the team's spring break matches on March 5 and 7, 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 67-41 (.620) in singles. She posted a 22-15 mark her freshman season, 12-7 her sophomore year, 18-13 last year, and is currently 15-6 overall this season, including 13-3 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 on March 13. "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."
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 34-23 (.596), Meyers ranks tied for fourth all-time in school history on most career wins through two seasons. With her two wins over spring break on March 5 and 7, 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.
The Spartans will return home next weekend as they host No. 48 Illinois on April 5 and No. 9 Northwestern on April 6.