Miami clinches share of regular season MAC title
After starting Mid-American Conference (MAC) play with a loss, the Miami University women's tennis team has won six straight matches, including this weekend's 5-2 and 4-3 decisions over Western Michigan University and Bowling Green State University, respectively.
The wins clinched a share of the regular season MAC crown for the fifth consecutive season and the No. 1 seed along with a bye in the MAC Tournament. The RedHawks (10-12, 6-1 MAC) would clinch the title outright with a win in the last match of the regular season Saturday against Northern Illinois University.
"We pulled out a tough win [on Saturday]," junior Christiana Raymond said. "We had a great weekend and fought hard for every match. We are definitely excited about the wins and plan on bringing the same intensity for next week's match against NIU."
In doubles action Friday, Western Michigan (11-12, 4-3 MAC) would take the first match as sophomore Caroline Aleck and junior Kathleen Hawkins defeated sophomore Christine Guerrazzi and freshman Ana Rajkovic 8-1. However, Miami would take the doubles point for the fourth time in its last five matches as Raymond and Ramona Costea and the team of junior Nimisha Mohan and sophomore Alix Thurman got 8-4 and 8-6 wins over senior Jill Pastunink and freshman Kelsey King along with the duo of junior Nini Sujashvili and senior Maggie Remynse, respectively.
The RedHawks carried their momentum into singles play by taking the next three points to take the match. Thurman downed Remynse 6-1, 6-4, while Raymond pushed her winning streak in singles to six matches with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Pastunink and Rajkovic won her third singles match in a row by triumphing over Aleck 6-4, 6-0. The Broncos would respond with Hawkins getting a 7-5, 6-0 win over Guerrazzi. Mohan earned the final point of the match for the Red and White in a 6-4, 7-5 decision against Sujashvili and Costea had her six match winning streak in singles snapped with a 7-5, 6-4 loss to King.
In doubles play against Bowling Green (15-4, 4-3 MAC), the RedHawks would fall in the first match as Raymond and Costea dropped an 8-4 decision to seniors Mary Hill and Jade Johnson, but the team of Mohan and Thurman would take the next match 8-6 against seniors Katie Grubb and Maddy Eccleston to push their doubles winning streak to six matches. BGSU took the doubles point with juniors Nikki Chiricosta and Emily Reuland getting the 9-8 (4) win over Guerrazzi and Rajkovic.
Miami drew even in singles play as Rajkovic won her fourth consecutive match in singles, downing Grubb 6-1, 6-1 to even the match at 1-1. The Falcons answered back with a 6-3, 6-1 win by Hill over Costea. However, Raymond defeated Eccleston 6-0, 6-4 to extend her winning streak to seven matches and put the score at 2-2. The two teams continued to trade points as Brozovich earned a 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over Guerrazzi and Thurman downed Chiricosta 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Mohan would clinch the match and the regular season MAC title as she triumphed over Reuland 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 for her third straight singles win.
"I was very proud of how we competed this weekend," Head Coach Anca Dumitrescu said. "We had to dig very deep against a very tough Bowling Green and we came through under pressure. We need to take this confidence as we head to NIU next weekend. We will enjoy this victory but come Monday we need focus again on our preparation and our game plans."
Raymond also elaborated on the match.
"I am so proud of all my teammates, especially Alix and Nim for making comebacks in each of their matches," she said. "We lost the doubles point today so we knew we had to rebound and win at least four singles. We made a commitment to be on the court for as long as it would take to win the match and we were successful because we fought for each other."
The RedHawks will wrap up regular season play 2 p.m. Saturday, when they hit the road again to face Northern Illinois.
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