Photo by Connor Moriarty, Photography Editor
By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
The Miami University women's tennis team captured its third straight Mid-American Conference Tournament and fifth overall this weekend. The RedHawks (16-6) downed Eastern Michigan University 4-1 in the semifinals Saturday and Ball State University 4-0 in the finals Sunday at the Hepburn Tennis Courts.
The win clinches MU a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
"We just let them go out there and do it," first-year head coach Yana Carollo said. "We got them motivated before the game and kept encouraging them, starting with doubles. The match went like we expected it to, with Ball State coming out fighting, but we did a good job of executing and we knew what to do. … It was our goal to make it through the first round of the NCAAs, and if we play consistent and stay focused, we can do it." In Sunday's doubles matches, senior Christine Guerrazzi and freshman Nelli Ponomareva triumphed 6-2, while the tandem of senior Alix Thurman and freshman Hannah Shteyn won 7-5.
Shteyn and Guerrazzi made quick work of their opponents in singles, winning 6-2, 6-3 and 6-3, 6-3 respectively. Thurman's 7-5, 6-3 victory clinched the berth to the NCAA Tournament.
After the match, Thurman and Shteyn were honored as members of Miami's all-tournament team. Thurman was also named tournament MVP for the second consecutive year.
"We had some great fight today," Thurman said. "It was an exciting match to be a part of. After coming back to take the first set [in singles], I knew I was going to win and it was important to win my court. We're able to overcome anything, and that'll help us in the NCAAs."
On Saturday, EMU won the first doubles match 6-0, but Miami took the doubles points after Thurman and Shteyn prevailed in a 6-4 match. Senior Ramona Costea and sophomore Andreea Badileanu also won their match, 6-1.
Badileanu picked up the first singles victory for the 'Hawks in a 6-3, 6-1 decision. Costea and junior Ana Rajkovic put the match away for the Red and White with respective 6-4, 7-6 (1) and 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victories.
The NCAA Tournament begins Friday, and the field is announced Tuesday.