Akron Women's Tennis Topped by Michigan in NCAA First Round
Story courtesy of Akron Sports Information
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championship, The University of Akron tennis team lost 4-0 to 10th-ranked Michigan in the first round of the Ann Arbor Regional on Saturday indoors at Varsity Tennis Center.
Akron (20-5) was an automatic qualifier into the 64-team field after claiming the program's first-ever Mid-American Conference tournament title on May 1, when it defeated Miami (Ohio) 4-3 in Ypsilanti, Mich. Freshman Natalia Kuvakina scored a three-set, last-match-on-court win at No. 6 singles to give the second-seeded Zips a comeback victory over the top-seeded and defending league champion RedHawks. Read a complete recap of the MAC championship title match.
UA's 20 overall victories this season is the most since the 1990-91 squad finished with a 26-6 mark, but its historic year came to a close today against the Big Ten Conference's regular-season champion, which featured four players ranked nationally in singles and two of its doubles teams listed in the national poll.
Akron gave up the doubles point for the first time in five matches, with a loss at the first and second flight. Zara Harutyunyan and Angelina Jogasuria fell 8-3 at No. 1 to Denise Muresan and Brooke Bolender, the nation's eighth-ranked pair. At No. 2, Angelika Jogasuria and Prang Pantusart were defeated 8-3 by Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno, ranked 64th. When the early point was clinched, the UA duo of Anya Baronayte and Jeremie Benjamin trailed 7-4 at No. 3 to Mimi Nguyen and Sam Critser.
Michigan (23-4) posted wins at Nos. 1, 4, and 6 singles to score match point and become just the second team this season to shut out the Zips. Muresan, ranked eighth nationally, topped Harutyunyan 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1. Critser, ranked 67th, won 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4 over Angelina Jogasuria. Nguyen downed Kuvakina 6-1, 6-0 at No. 6 to clinch match point and advance the Wolverines into Sunday's second round where they will meet No. 22 Tulsa.
At the time the match was decided, Angelika Jogasuria led 7-5, 1-1 at No. 2 versus Brooke Bolender, ranked 81st. Play at No. 3 sat at 6-all between Taney, ranked 82nd, and Pantusart. Baronayte trailed Tatsuno 6-3, 4-1 at No. 5.
Along with winning its first MAC title, making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament and compiling an impressive win total, Akron's student-athletes received a number of accolades this season as well. Harutyunyan was named league player of the year for the third-consecutive season and also earned a spot on the All-MAC First Team for the third-straight year. Additionally, Pantusart and Angelika Jogasuria were named to the all-conference second team. UA's three all-league selections tied Miami as most of any league member this year. Harutyunyan and Pantusart were named to the all-tournament team as well, with Harutyunyan also being chosen as MVP.
All of these achievements during the watch of first-year head coach Brandon Padgett.
No. 10 Michigan 4, Akron 0
1. (8) Denise Muresan/Brooke Bolender (Michigan) def. Zara Harutyunyan/Angelina Jogasuria (Akron) 8-3
2. (64) Whitney Taney/Rika Tatsuno (Michigan) def. Angelika Jogasuria/Prang Pantusart (Akron) 8-3
3. Mimi Nguyen/Sam Critser (Michigan) vs. Anya Baronayte/Jeremie Benjamin (Akron) 7-4, unfinished
1. (8) Denise Muresan (Michigan) def. Zara Harutyunyan (Akron) 6-1, 6-0
2. Angelika Jogasuria (Akron) vs. (81) Brooke Bolender (Michigan) 7-5, 1-1, unfinished
3. (82) Whitney Taney (Michigan) vs. Prang Pantusart (Akron) 6-6, unfinished
4. (67) Sam Critser (Michigan) def, Angelina Jogasuria (Akron) 6-1, 6-2
5. Rika Tatsuno (Michigan) vs. Anya Baronayte (Akron) 6-3, 4-1, unfinished
6. Mimi Nguyen (Michigan) def. Natalia Kuvakina (Akron) 6-1, 6-0
Order of finish:
Doubles - 2, 1
Singles - 1, 4, 6
Akron - 20-5
Michigan - 23-4