The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (0-0) will host an ITA Kick-Off event for the third consecutive season, welcoming No. 32 South Carolina (2-0), No. 52 Missouri (1-0) and No. 64 Brown (0-0) this weekend (Sat-Sun., Jan. 26-27) to the Varsity Tennis Center. Each team is guaranteed two matches, with a berth to the ITA National Indoor Team Championships on the line. U-M is looking for its fourth consecutive berth to the national tournament.
Saturday, Jan. 26
MICHIGAN vs. Brown, 10 a.m.
South Carolina vs. Missouri, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 27
Consolation Match, 10 a.m.
Championship Match, 2 p.m.
This weekend's dual matches will be a contest for the best-of-seven team points. The dual will begin with three doubles matches consisting of eight-game pro sets. The team that wins two of these three matches will enter the singles competition with one of seven points. Once the doubles point has been clinched, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. No-add scoring will be implemented during doubles play only and a tie-breaker will occur if a doubles match is tied at seven-all. After a brief intermission, six singles matches will be played. Each singles match will be the best of three tie-break sets and worth one point towards the team competition. The overall dual match will be decided when one team secures four total points. Singles matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.
• The Wolverines are coming off their final tournament action of the season, going 13-5 in singles and 7-2 in doubles at the Michigan Invitational (Jan. 18-20) against No. 18 Ole Miss, No. 20 Georgia Tech and No. 43 South Florida. Freshman Ronit Yurovsky and sophomores Sarah Lee and Kristen Dodge all went 3-0 on the singles court to lead the Wolverines. Lee teamed up with senior Mimi Nguyen to win the doubles title at the tournament, going 3-0 at the No. 2 position.
• The Wolverines are looking for their fourth consecutive berth to the ITA National Indoor Team Championships. Michigan made its first appearance at the national event during the 2009-10 season, winning the ITA Kick-Off at Arkansas. U-M hosted the Kick-Off at the Varsity Tennis Center the past two seasons, knocking off Southern California in 2011 and Yale in 2012 to advance to the national tourney.
• Michigan features two ranked singles players in freshmen Ronit Yurovsky (No. 61) and Amy Zhu (No. 94). On the doubles side, sophomore Emina Bektas and junior Brooke Bolender come in at No. 21. The next player rankings come out on Feb. 4.
• U-M comes in at No. 16 as a team in the first edition of the ITA rankings for the 2013 season. Michigan is one of four Big Ten schools ranked in the top 25, joining Northwestern (No. 13), Nebraska (No. 17) and Illinois (No. 24).
• As a team, Michigan went 52-35 in singles during the tournament portion of the season. Freshman Ronit Yurovsky led the Wolverines with a 12-4 record and has won eight consecutive matches entering dual-match action. On the doubles side, the Maize and Blue compiled a 26-16 record by using 12 different lineups.
• The Wolverines welcome back five of their top singles players from last season in senior Mimi Nguyen, junior Brooke Bolender and the sophomore trio of Sarah Lee, Emina Bektas and Kristen Dodge. All five Wolverines recorded at least 23 singles victories, led by Lee and Bektas each totaling 32.
• Brooke Bolender serves as Michigan's team captain this season. It is her first season as captain and the first time since the 2009-10 season that U-M will be captained by a junior (Whitney Taney).
• Senior Mimi Nguyen is the team's lone senior this season, marking the second straight season that Michigan has featured just one senior.
• Since taking over the Wolverines in 2007-08, U-M is 49-4 at the Varsity Tennis Center under head coach Ronni Bernstein. In her sixth season at Michigan, Bernstein is 106-31 as the leader of the Wolverines.
• The Wolverines are coming off their third straight Big Ten championship and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2012. U-M went 21-8 last season, finishing with a No. 14 ranking. It was also U-M's third consecutive 20-win season. Three of Michigan's five 20-win seasons have occurred under head coach Ronni Bernstein.
On what she took away from her freshman season ... "I think the thing I realized the most after last year was how much work you really need to put in to be successful at this level. By the end of the season, I could really see why we were working so hard all year long. To be successful, you really have to put in the work. That is the biggest thing that I took away from last year."
On how she spent her summer... "I spent all summer in Ann Arbor, taking economics for my major (sport management). Sarah (Lee) was here with me, and we had a lot of fun. We played a lot of tennis and went to see Brad Paisley in concert. It was a good time."
On what she wants to do when she graduates ... "I am majoring in sport management and am not really sure what I want to do right now. It would be really cool to be a sports writer or work with sports in some way. I absolutely love sports and could not imagine my life without it."
On what she thinks this team is capable of ... "I think we have a lot of potential. We have two great freshmen (Amy Zhu and Ronit Yurovsky) who have made an impact so far. I think we just want to keep building off what we do every year. We want to go further this year, and I think as long as we keep working as hard we are, we can do that. We had a good fall, and I think this team has a bright future once dual matches start."
On her favorite class at Michigan ... "My favorite class so far has been the history of college sports with John Bacon. He tells such great stories and gets so animated about everything. We had great guests come and talk to us too. It was just a really fun and informative class."
Friday, Feb. 1 -- vs. Tennessee (Varsity Tennis Center), 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 3 -- at North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 1 p.m.