Tennis takes second straight MAC title
The Miami University tennis team defeated Eastern Michigan University 4-2 in the Mid-American Conference championship match, crowning the RedHawks MAC Champions for the second year in a row.
"Eastern Michigan is a very good team," assistant coach Ricardo Rosas said. "Our girls were prepared. They knew that it was going to be close, and I think that's one quality that I see this team has developed, the ability to be tough when it really counts."
Miami (17-6, 7-1 MAC) defeated the University at Buffalo 4-0 Saturday, which sent them to the MAC Championship Sunday.
In doubles action against Buffalo, senior Nimisha Mohan and freshman Andreea Badileanu won their match 8-4. Following their lead, senior Christiana Raymond and sophomore Ana Rajkovic took an 8-2 victory to grab the doubles point.
In order for Miami to clinch its spot in the MAC Championship, the RedHawks had to win three matches in singles.
Badileanu finished her match with a 6-1, 6-0 win. Rajkovic followed her lead, winning 6-4, 6-2. Raymond finished the day with a 6-4, 6-2 victory to send Miami to the MAC championship game.
Mohan and Badileanu lost their match 8-2 in doubles. Raymond and Rajkovic won their match 8-4, but junior Alix Thurman and junior Christine Guerrazzi lost their match 8-6 giving the doubles point to EMU.
Miami vs. Eastern Michigan was a battle, as four of the six singles matches went into a third set. In order to clinch the victory, Miami needed to take four matches.
The first match to finish involved Rajkovic, who fell to her Eastern Michigan opponent 7-5, 6-4. Shortly after, Badileanu defeated her opponent 6-4, 6-4.
Guerrazzi gave Miami its next win, winning 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. Following Guerrazzi's victory, Mohan gave Miami the 3-2 match lead with her come from behind win, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
"I knew it was going to be a hard match, but I just believed I could do it," Mohan said.
With Miami in the lead, the pressure was on for Raymond and Thurman, with just one of them needing a win.
Thurman and Raymond were both in their third set, as their entire team cheered them on. Thurman responded to the cheers with a 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) tiebreak win to clinch the MAC title.
Thurman and Mohan were both named to the MAC All-Tournament team, with Thurman also being named MAC Tournament MVP.
For Raymond and Mohan, their final match on their home court came with a MAC title.
"One thing about Nimisha, her strength is that we knew we could count on her, she's not going to give up, she's going to fight until the end," Rosas said. "She had a big part in the momentum change when she won that match."
With the win, the RedHawks clinched a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The 'Hawks will find out their opponent Tuesday, during the NCAA Tournament Tennis selection show.
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