Photo by Ben Taylor
By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
After winning its 11th straight Mid-American Conference match and its seventh consecutive match overall, the Miami University women's tennis team hits the road this weekend to take on Bowling Green State University. This season, Miami pursues its seventh straight conference title.
The RedHawks (12-6, 6-0 MAC) top the conference standings, while the Falcons (0-14, 0-5 MAC) ride a 17-match losing streak that dates back to last season.
"In practice, we're keeping it simple, taking it day-by-day," head coach Yana Carollo said. "We're trying to keep our players happy and keep them fighting. We've been doing a lot with our team spirit."
Miami's doubles record is 13-3 in conference play. Senior Ramona Costea and sophomore Andreea Badileanu paired up to win their 12th straight match last weekend in a 6-2 decision against University of Toledo. The tandem has also earned MAC Doubles Team of the Week twice this season.
Seniors Alix Thurman and Hannah Shteyn have compiled an impressive winning streak of their own, taking eight consecutive matches, including a 6-2 victory over Toledo last week.
Senior Christine Guerrazzi and freshman Nelli Ponomareva is an equally successful pair. The duo took MAC Doubles Team of the Week honors March 27 after downing the 52nd-ranked doubles team in the country from Western Michigan University.
"In doubles, we've been working on being aggressive coming to the net," assistant coach Ricardo Rosas said. "We have great teams in the No. 1-3 spots for us. We need to keep finishing at the net and put the pressure on the other team, and we have three solid teams. It's always nice to win the doubles point and only have to win three matches in singles."
Miami dominates singles MAC play with a 31-5 record. Guerrazzi, Ponomareva and Shteyn each have won six straight matches in during the stretch.
Badileanu has won MAC Women's Tennis Player of the Week twice this season and is 5-1 in MAC singles. Guerrazzi ranks first place in Miami tennis history in career singles wins (81).
Last weekend against the third-ranked Rockets, no MU player was forced to play a third set.
"We need to finish strong, especially since it's almost the end of the MAC season," Thurman said. "We've been on a roll as a team and we need to keep this momentum going. We need to treat this weekend like every other game we play."
The RedHawks head north to take on Bowling Green 1 p.m. Saturday.
The doubles teams for the Falcons have yet to win a match this season. Freshman Megan Miller leads the team with two MAC singles wins, while sophomore Harley Hutchison, sophomore Brittany Plaszewski and freshman Emily Witt each have one conference win. Despite the team's struggles, it almost knocked off fourth place Northern Illinois University in a 4-3 loss March 20.