April 9, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Making its first appearance in the rankings this season, the No. 60 Michigan State women's tennis team wraps up its home slate of the 2014 schedule this weekend, hosting a pair of conference matches. The Spartans (16-5, 4-3 Big Ten) will face Wisconsin on Saturday at 11 a.m. and No. 61 Minnesota on Sunday at 12 p.m. Depending upon the weather, the matches will either be held at the MSU Outdoor Courts or the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility. Admission is free at both locations. Check @MSUWT on Twitter for the latest location information.
MSU split its pair of home conference matches last weekend, upsetting No. 34 Illinois, 4-3, and falling to No. 11 Northwestern, 6-1. With their play last weekend, the Spartans have seen accolades come their way this week, but head coach Simone Jardim is keeping her squad focused on the weekend ahead.
"How we've played so far is what's got us this far," Jardim said. "We've still got to play with the same mentality where we're playing to win and not playing not to lose. Going into it, we are very capable of winning these next matches. We've just got to make sure we are staying focused, staying on task, taking care of business, playing to win and really playing with a purpose."
In the Polls
MSU earned a spot in the latest ITA poll, coming in at No. 60. The Spartans defeated No. 34 Illinois on April 5.
The last time MSU was ranked was April 5, 2011, when it came in at No. 70. MSU was also ranked at the end of 2002, and since week-by-week rankings were established in 2008, the Spartans spent six weeks ranked in each of the years 2008 and 2009 and five weeks in 2011. The best known ranking for the Spartans is when they appeared at No. 52 on March 15 and 22, 2011.
Senior Marina Bohrer also appears in this week's singles poll. Ranked No. 120 in singles is the highest ranking of her career and the first Spartan to be ranked since Amy Barton appeared at No. 112 in the September 2011 preseason poll. Bohrer defeated then-No. 44 Corning of Northwestern on April 6 to earn her second ranked win of the season. Bohrer also defeated then-No. 118 Coffman of Toledo in January.
To complete the trifecta, MSU also has its doubles tandem of Bohrer and freshman Erin Faulkner appear in the polls. Bohrer and Faulkner come in at No. 57. On April 6, the duo defeated then-No. 21 Corning and Barnett of Northwestern. Bohrer and Faulkner are 13-4 in spring dual play, including 4-3 in the conference.
"It's just a number next to our school name now," Jardim said. "I think we've got to continue doing what we're doing, because we're not going to win matches just because we have a number. We've got to continue having the same approach going into each match and not thinking ahead. As trivial as it is, playing one day at a time, and one match at a time. We will continue moving forward and doing what we've been doing."
Bohrer Earns Weekly Honor
The senior co-captain Bohrer was named Big Ten Women's Tennis Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday. This is Bohrer's first weekly award of her career and she is the second Spartan to receive the award under sixth-year head coach Simone Jardim.
During last weekend's conference action, Bohrer finished a combined 4-0 in singles and doubles as she helped the Spartans split their pair of matches against two ranked opponents. Bohrer topped Illinois' top doubles team and top singles player en route to helping MSU knock off No. 34 Illinois on April 5. On April 6, Bohrer defeated Northwestern's 21st-ranked doubles team and its 44th-ranked singles player.
Five Spartans will be making their final appearance on MSU's home tennis courts this weekend. The 2014 MSU women's tennis class includes: Marina Bohrer, Christina Brown, Olga Chernova, Katarina Lingl and Jennifer Yen.
"They have put in four years and they are a part of the change," Jardim said. "I couldn't be happier for them because of the fact they are going to leave here and put a stamp on the program moving forward. I'm happy for them for having that feeling of having accomplished something coming into the program."
Notes from Illinois-Northwestern
- MSU won its 16th match of the season April 5 against Illinois, which is the most since 1990-91 when MSU won a school-record 18. MSU recorded 16 wins in 1987-88.
- By defeating Illinois 4-3 on April 5, MSU won its third consecutive match by that exact same score. It marked the first time in school history MSU had won three straight matches all by just a single point. The last time MSU was involved in three straight 4-3 matches was 1999, when it defeated Miami (Ohio) on Feb. 21, lost to Michigan on Feb. 24, and defeated Penn State on Feb. 27 all by a final of 4-3.
- MSU bested Illinois and won three consecutive Big Ten matches for the first time since the 1990-91 season when MSU defeated Purdue, Illinois, and Ohio State in three straight matches between April 6 and April 13. MSU's conference winning streak was snapped with a loss to No. 11 Northwestern on April 6.
- The Spartans' four conference wins are the most in a season since 2005-06 when the Spartans recorded four.
- MSU has won the doubles point in in 15 of its 21 matches. MSU is 14-1 (.933) when winning the doubles point. The Spartans are 2-4 (.333) when losing the doubles point.
- MSU defeated its first ranked opponent of the season, and its first since defeating No. 62 Ohio State on April 19, 2013. MSU is 1-4 against ranked foes this season.
- MSU improved to 11-3 at home this season, including 2-2 in Big Ten play.
- Bohrer tallied two singles wins and fellow senior Olga Chernova tallied one over the weekend, placing the two tied atop the team lead for singles wins, with both posting 16 in spring dual play.
- Junior Catherine Parenteau's three-set win over Illinois upped her conference win streak to three matches and her conference record to 4-2.
Wins from Six Spots
Coach Jardim is quick to point out one of the biggest reasons why this year's Spartan squad has been so successful is due in part to being able to win at any of the six singles positions. MSU has relied on each of the six courts at different times this season, and all six courts have delivered.
In fact, all six singles starters: Bohrer, Faulkner, Parenteau, Meyers, Chernova, and Trouillot, all have at least 10 wins this spring. Chernova and Bohrer are tied for the team lead, with both tallying 16 wins. Trouillot has 15 wins, Faulkner has 12, Parenteau has 11, and Meyers has 10. Overall, as a team, MSU is 87-39 (.690) in singles play, including a 20-22 (.476) mark in Big Ten action.
MSU is one of just four teams in the Big Ten who have six or more players with doubles-figure wins in singles. Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State are the other three schools.
Advantage Michigan State
Twenty-one matches deep into the season and MSU has shown it has the ability to come up with the clutch shots and play when needed. As a team for the season, MSU is 20-11 (.645) in three-set matches and is 25-19 (.568) in tiebreakers. Especially in conference play, the Spartans has been able to swing potential game-changing matches into their favor.
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.
Facing No. 34 Illinois on April 5, Parenteau and Chernova became the latest Spartans in line to come up clutch and step up. With MSU trailing 3-2 in the match, Parenteau and Chernova were the last two Spartans remaining on court. Both players had won their first set but ended up getting pushed to three sets. Playing on court three, Parenteau stormed out to a 4-0 lead in the final set and closed out the set at 6-2 to tie up the match score. On court five, Chernova was down a break at 4-3 with Illinois serving. Chernova ended her match winning the final three games as she broke Illinois, held her own serve, and then broke Illinois again to win her match and clinch the match for MSU.
Big Ten Update
The Spartans are positioned tied for fifth in the conference standings presently, with a 4-3 record. MSU is tied with Indiana and Ohio State. Michigan paces the conference with a 7-0 record while Northwestern is second at 6-1. Eight of the 12 teams are nationally ranked, with Northwestern leading the way at No. 12.
The Badgers head to East Lansing unranked, with a 7-8 overall record and a 2-5 mark in conference play. Wisconsin has lost its last four matches in a row and seven of its last 10. Tina Samara is in her first year as head coach.
Wisconsin is coming off back-to-back road losses last weekend. The Badgers gave Penn State its first conference win of the season by losing, 4-3, and Wisconsin also lost to Ohio State.
Lauren Chypyha leads the Badgers in singles, as she has played every match at the top spot. Chypyha's record on court one is 13-2 overall and 5-2 in Big Ten play. She has lost her last two matches overall after starting 13-0 this spring.
In doubles, Chypyha and Lauren Burich have started the last five matches on the top court. The tandem is 2-3 on the season, including a win over Ohio State's No. 1 doubles team.
Wisconsin is 6-0 when winning the doubles point and 1-8 when losing it.
Wisconsin defeated MSU, 5-2, in the teams' last meeting on March 24, 2013, in Madison, Wis.
The Golden Gophers tally a 15-5 overall mark including 5-2 in conference action, posting a No. 61 national ranking. Minnesota has split its matches in each of the last two weekends. Minnesota has its last eight of 10. They have also posted a 6-1 mark on away courts this season. Chuck Merzbacher is in his second season as head coach.
Tereza Brichacova has played the majority of the matches on the top court and has a 9-7 overall and 2-3 conference record on court one. Minnesota posts six of its players tallying 10 or more wins this dual season. In conference play, Minnesota has posted a team record of 19-10 (.655) in singles.
In doubles, Brichacova and Jessika Mozia are 10-6 this season and 0-4 in the Big Ten. As a team in Big Ten play, the Golden Gophers are 8-6 (.571) in doubles.
Minnesota is 14-1 when winning the doubles point and 1-4 when losing it.
Minnesota defeated MSU, 6-1, in the teams' last meeting on March 22, 2013, in Minneapolis, Minn.
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 22-7 and is 15-5 in the spring season dual matches including 4-3 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 16-10 overall for the season, and 12-7 in spring season dual matches including 3-4 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 87-39 (.690) record in singles. Faulkner, who is 12-7, and Trouillot, who is 15-5, have accounted for 27 of those wins, which makes up 31 percent of the team's total.
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 70-42 (.625) in singles. She posted a 22-15 mark her freshman season, 12-7 her sophomore year, 18-13 last year, and is currently 18-7 overall this season, including 16-4 in spring dual play.
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 34-27 (.557), 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 wrap up their regular season on the road next weekend, facing No. 37 Purdue on April 19 and No. 41 Indiana on April 20. The Big Ten Tournament hosted by Northwestern will be held April 24-27, in Evanston, Ill.