Women's Tennis Returns Home for Two Ranked Conference Matches
April 2, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Coming off back-to-back Big Ten road wins last weekend, the Michigan State women's tennis team returns home this weekend for a pair of ranked conference matches. The Spartans (15-4, 3-2 Big Ten) are set to face No. 34 Illinois on Saturday at 12 p.m., and No. 11 Northwestern on Sunday at 11 a.m. Both matches are set to be held at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility but could be moved to the MSU Outdoor Tennis Courts if the weather reaches at least 50 degrees. Admission is free.
MSU also reached 15 wins over the weekend, which is the most since 1990-91 when MSU won a school-record 18. MSU's 15 wins are tied for third-most in school history. MSU recorded 15 wins in 1986-87 and 16 wins in 1987-88.
Opening last weekend against Nebraska, MSU won the doubles point behind senior Marina Bohrer and freshman Erin Faulkner winning on court one, 8-5, and junior Catherine Parenteau and freshman Athena Trouillot winning on court three, 8-4. In singles play, the Spartans and Cornhuskers were tied at 3-3 in the match after the Spartans earned wins from Bohrer on court one and Parenteau on court three but dropped matches on courts two, four, and five. The match came down to the outcome of freshman Athena Trouillot and Hannah Sulz on court six. After splitting the first two sets, Trouillot was on the brink of dropping the decisive third set as she trallied 5-3. Trouillot battled back and forced a tiebreak at 6-all. In the breaker, Trouillot came out strong and won 7-3.
Nebraska is currently unranked but began the season ranked No. 25.
On Sunday at Iowa, MSU struggled initially to adjust to the outdoor elements and dropped the doubles point. The Spartans were able to bounce back compellingly in singles, as they grabbed the first five of six first sets. The five of six first sets led MSU on its way, as it ended up closing out four of those matches in straight sets. All four matches MSU won against Iowa all came in a row. MSU secured the match at 4-1 and then Iowa tacked on two more points to make it close. Faulkner, Parenteau, senior Olga Chernova, and Trouillot all won singles points for the Spartans on courts two, three, five and six, respectively.
"Going into singles, they came together as a team and (Tyler Faulkner) and I didn't have to say too much other than you have to make the adjustment," head coach Simone Jardim said about the Iowa match. "Once they went out there, they came together, they got it out of their system and won five of six first sets. That's the best way you can expect a team to respond. Once we got that going, that was our match to take. They really believe they can beat anyone and we showed signs of good team leadership. The leadership came from the players themselves, they figured it out. I'm proud of the way they reacted."
With two ranked matches on tap for MSU this weekend, Jardim is helping to keep her team focused on playing their own game.
"We are playing the opponent but not playing the shirt," Jardim said. "We have to play our game no matter who we're playing against. Tactics can be different, but we can deal with that. We're going to have to come up with the wins and play our game."
Notes from Nebraska-Iowa
Coming up Clutch
Against Penn State on March 21, MSU split its doubles matches on courts one and three, meaning it would be up to sophomore Emily Meyers and junior Julianne Gruber on court two to pull out the doubles point. Meyers and Gruber went back and forth with Penn State and eventually the match was sent to a tiebreak. Meyers and Gruber grabbed a quick 3-0 lead in the breaker and were able to sustain the lead, close out the match 8-7(5), and clinch the doubles point for MSU. MSU used the momentum from its doubles point to go on and sweep all six singles matches.
Against Nebraska on March 28, the Spartans and Cornhuskers were deadlocked at 3-3 and it was up to Trouillot on court six to win the match for MSU. Coming back from a 5-3 deficit in the third set, Trouillot was able to prevail in a third-set tiebreaker 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(3), and give MSU the win.
"A lot of it is making sure you put yourself in the best position possible to win," Jardim said. "We are playing aggressive and playing smart. They put themselves on the line and they believe they can do it. Belief goes a long way."
Wins from Six Spots
"We are getting wins from everywhere, and that is priceless," Jardim said. "We can count on anybody."
Big Ten Update
In singles, Illinois is 57-35 (.620) overall and 15-15 (.500) in conference play. Melissa Kopinski and Allison Falkin have both seen extended time on court one. Kopinski has tallied a 3-3 mark, while Falkin is 3-5 on court one. Falkin has played the last eight matches on court one and is likely to start there against MSU. Illinois does not have any nationally ranked singles players.
In doubles, Illinois is 23-20 (.535) overall and just 6-9 (.400) in Big Ten action. Kopinski and Alexis Casati are 7-6 on court one. Illinois does not have any doubles tandems nationally ranked.
Illinois is 8-0 when winning the doubles point this season and 1-6 when losing the doubles point. There is no doubles record for Illinois' match against Oklahoma State.
In the teams' last meeting, April 25, 2013, No. 43 Illinois defeated MSU, 4-1, in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament held in Bloomington, Ind.
In singles, Northwestern has two players nationally ranked. Belinda Niu comes in at No. 36 and Veronica Corning is No. 44. Corning has played every match at No. 1 for Northwestern, tallying a 9-7 mark overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten. Niu is 11-2 on court two and 5-0 in the Big Ten. Overall, Northwestern is 55-31 (.640) in singles and 26-4 (.867) in conference action. In doubles, Northwestern features two tandems nationally ranked. Corning and Alicia Barnett are ranked No. 21 and Maddie Lipp and Nida Hamilton are No. 72. Barnett and Corning are 8-5 on court one, while Lipp and Hamilton are 6-5 on court two. Northwestern is 24-14 (.632) as a team overall in doubles and 10-2 (.833) in the Big Ten.
In the teams' last meeting, April 6, 2013, No. 7 Northwestern defeated MSU, 6-1, in Evanston, Ill.
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 22-5 and is 15-3 in the spring season dual matches including 4-1 in the Big Ten. Her 22 overall wins are tied for second all-time in school history for most wins through one season, tying Marina Bohrer with 22 (2010-11) and trailing 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 16-8 overall for the season, and 12-5 in spring season dual matches including 3-2 in conference play. Her 16 overall wins are tied for sixth all-time in school history for most wins through one season.
Combined for the dual spring season, MSU has a 83-31 (.728) record in singles. Faulkner, who is 12-5, and Trouillot, who is 15-3, have accounted for 27 of those wins, which makes up 33 percent of the team's total.
Bohrer Sets New Record
Meyers One of the Best Through Two Years
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