In its last home game of the regular season, the Miami University tennis team earned at least a share of its fourth-straight Mid-American Conference (MAC) title, defeating Northern Illinois University (NIU) (10-9, 1-4 MAC) at the Hepburn Courts 6-1 on senior day.
The RedHawks won their 32-straight regular season match in conference play, pushing their record to 12-9 overall, 7-0 in the MAC and maintaining their undefeated home record.
Miami also clinched the No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament Friday due to its tiebreaker advantage over the University of Akron.
The team of senior Stephanie Danesis and freshman Christine Guerrazzi won the first four games of the match on its way to an 8-2 victory, giving Danesis her 150 career win in doubles play.
“All in all, it was a great way to end the seniors last home match,” Danesis said. “We came out fighting in front of the largest crowd we have had and clinched at least a shared MAC regular season title.”
The pairing of senior Jessica Parr and sophomore Christiana Raymond followed and gave Miami the doubles point with an 8-6 win. Senior Riekie Honiball and sophomore Nimisha Mohan finished off the sweep in an 8-4 decision.
Danesis easily dispatched the Huskies’ Sara McLaughlin, 6-1, 6-1 in singles to give the ‘Hawks a 2-0 lead. The win was also her seventh consecutive win in singles play, and she will look to continue her hot streak next week.
“Going undefeated for singles in MAC play has been a goal of mine every year and I’m hoping to achieve that next Saturday against Ball State,” Danesis said.
Freshman Alix Thurman earned a 6-0, 7-5 decision before freshman Ramona Costea clinched the match in a 6-1, 6-3 victory in her first MAC match.
The win by Thurman pushed her record to 6-1 in MAC play and 9-1 over the last 10 singles matches. The RedHawks continued to pile it on against NIU as Mohan posted a 6-4, 6-4 win in her fourth-straight triumph in singles play and Raymond followed up with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Northern Illinois prevented the shutout with freshman Nelle Youel defeating Honiball 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 1-0 (10-3). However, the defeat left NIU still searching for its second win in conference play.
“It was a special day for the team,” Head Coach Anca Dumitrescu said. “Not only was it the last home match for three amazing seniors but also with this win we clinched a share of the regular season conference title. I want to thank everyone who came and supported the team from administration members to fans and parents.”
Miami can win the MAC title next Friday when it wraps up the regular season in Muncie, Ind. against Ball State University.
A win against the Cardinals will give the ‘Hawks an unblemished MAC record for the second consecutive year.
The RedHawks will then compete in the MAC Tournament April 27-29 in DeKalb, Ill.