After starting off Mid-American Conference (MAC) play with a 4-3 loss at Ball State University, the Miami University women’s tennis team reeled off seven straight wins to claim its fifth straight MAC regular season championship and will return to Muncie, Ind. to take on the winner of No. 4 seed Ball State and No. 5 seed Western Michigan University in the MAC Tournament.
The RedHawks (11-12, 7-1 MAC) downed the Broncos 5-2 on the road this season, and are looking to win their first tournament title since the 2010 season after sustaining losses to the University of Akron in the finals for consecutive seasons.
Miami is looking to maintain momentum in doubles play, as it has won the doubles point in three of its last four matches. Junior Nimisha Mohan and sophomore Alix Thurman have won seven straight matches in doubles, while the tandem of juniors Christiana Raymond and Ramona Costea has won six of their last eight matches. Junior Christine Guerrazzi and freshman Ana Rajkovic have been in a rut recently, dropping their last six matches in doubles.
Thurman and Mohan were named to the All-MAC team this week.
“[Guerrazzi and I] have had a rough patch of matches,” Rajkovic said. “We’re working at it and trying many things. This weekend, we will give our best and our moment might finally come.”
The ‘Hawks have been strong in singles action this season. Raymond has gone unbeaten in MAC play this season with only one of those matches going to three sets and Costea has a record of 6-2 in conference play. Mohan has won three out of her last four singles matches while Thurman has a MAC record of 5-3 this season, with two of those losses coming in three-set matches. Guerrazzi has five wins in conference play and Rajkovic has won five straight matches.
“In singles, staying with the game plan and believing that I can win are really important,” Rajkovic said. “But it’s a team effort and we stay in the moment and are mentally tough (in singles).”
Ball State (14-10, 5-3 MAC) finished off its season strong by posting consecutive wins over Western Michigan and Northern Illinois University. In the 4-3 decision against the Broncos, the Cardinals failed to pick up the doubles point, but took the singles matches they needed thanks to the help of sophomore Courtney Wild, freshmen Courtney Earnest and Bethany Moore and junior Kristel Sanders. Ball State is 6-2 in matches played in Muncie this season.
Western Michigan (11-13, 4-4 MAC) is on a bit of a cold streak as it has dropped four straight matches to close out the season. The Broncos take on Ball State Thursday.
“This week, we’re working on point play situations and getting adjusted to the different styles of play we may face,” Head Coach Anca Dumitrescu said. “We need to compete this weekend, regardless of who we play, and we need to play with determination, poise and just stay with the game plan.”
Miami will face the winner of Ball State and Western Michigan 10 a.m. Saturday, with the winner advancing to the finals noon Sunday to face either No. 2 seed Bowling Green State University, No. 3 seed the University of Akron or the No. 6 seed the University at Buffalo.