Michigan Advances Past Iowa In Dramatic Fashion
It would come down to the third set of No. 2 singles to determine which team advanced to Sunday's championship final. Hillary Mintz and Elizabeth Exon played a marathon three-set, three and a half hour match. The two fought through deuces in seemingly every game of the 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 match including a tiebreaker in the second set, which was won by Exon to tie the match at one set each. With exhausted players on both sides of the net, Exon was finally able to take control of the third set to beat Mintz and give Michigan the win.
Simultaneously on the adjacent court, Debra Streifler of Michigan took a grueling first match, 7-5 at No. 4 singles, but Jacqueline Lee toughed out the second set, 6-4, to set up a dramatic third set. Tied at four games apiece, Lee battled to take the next two games and the second set 6-4. The third stanza was more back and forth action, but it was Lee who would come out on top 7-5 before collapsing to the floor in relief and exhaustion.
After winning the doubles point by scores of 8-4 at No. 2, and 8-1 at No. 3, Michigan took a 1-0 advantage into singles play. That point would prove to be the difference in the Wolverine's 4-3 victory.
At sixth singles, Michigan's Lindsey Howard defeated Kayla Berry 6-1, 6-1 to put her team up 2-0. The next match to finish was Meg Racette's victory over Kara Delicata at No. 1, which cut the Wolverine's lead in half.
Chisako Sugiyama then put Michigan back up by two when she defeated Merel Beelen on court five. Milica Veselinovic kept Iowa alive, however, and set up the dramatic finish with her 6-4, 6-4 win over Nina Yaftali at No. 3.
The Wolverine victory sets up a rematch of the 2005 Big Ten Championship match, which saw No. 1 seed Northwestern top then-No. 7 seed Michigan by a score of 4-1. Tomorrow's final match will begin at noon CT at the University of Illinois.