Michael Solomon, Staff Writer

Junior Cara Wald prepares to make her next move against her opponent. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO )

With only two weeks left in the season, the Miami University women’s tennis team entered last weekend knowing their two road matches would be a big indicator of who won the Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular season title.

They came out of it still unbeaten in conference and confident a second successive MAC title was just around the corner.

“Last weekend was a really big weekend for us,” junior Megan Martzolf said. “We all went out there and played really well. Although both of the matches were 4-3, these wins will give us motivation heading into this weekend.”

Arguably playing in two of their toughest MAC matches, the women first headed to Buffalo, N.Y. Friday night to take on the University at Buffalo Bulls. The Red and White fell behind early after Buffalo took the doubles point, winning at the No. 3 and No. 1 positions. Buffalo eventually took a 2-0 lead over the RedHawks, after sophomore Laura Grace Mezher lost at the No. 6 singles position.

Miami fought back, winning the two points back via Martzolf and sophomore Stephanie Danesis. Martzolf defeated Buffalo’s Diana Popescu at the No. 3 position 6-4, 6-2, extending her spring singles winning streak to 18 matches.

Danesis followed suit, taking care of Aleksandra Petrova 6-4, 6-0 at No. 2 singles. The RedHawks clinched the match 4-3 when juniors Cara Wald and Anastasia Dracheva won at positions No. 5 and No. 1 respectively.

After the comeback win Friday night, the RedHawks hoped for the same result Saturday, when they traveled to northern Ohio to take on the nationally ranked University of Akron Zips. The match had big implications on the MAC title race, as Akron and Miami were both undefeated atop the MAC standings.

Although Akron won one of the doubles matches, Miami earned the early point by winning the other two. Danesis and Martzolf earned an 8-5 victory at the No. 2 position, and Dracheva and junior Sydnee Bridger won at No. 3 by the same score.

After Akron tied the score at 1, Miami opened up the lead to 3-1 when Bridger and Martzolf both recorded victories in their matches. Martzolf won her 19th straight game, winning by a count of 7-6, 6-4 at the No. 3 singles position. Wald closed out the match for the ‘Hawks winning at the No. 5 position 7-5, 6-0.

“Last weekend were two of our hardest matches in the MAC this season, and we won them on the road,” Bridger said. “Those wins gave us confidence heading into this upcoming weekend and the conference tournament in two weeks.”

With the 4-3 win over Akron, Miami (13-6, 6-0) earned their 14th straight victory in MAC play dating back to last year, and took a step closer to winning the regular season title. The RedHawks can clinch the title outright this weekend on the road against Eastern Michigan University and University of Toledo with two wins, or earn a share of the title with a split.