Michael Solomon, Staff Writer

Junior Anastasia Dracheva returns a serve on April 17. (Contributed Photo)

Back-to-back champions.

That’s what the Miami University women’s tennis team is after earning victories last weekend over Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and University of Toledo. The women clinched a share of the title on Friday night and won the outright regular season championship Saturday, earning a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament this upcoming weekend at Western Michigan University (WMU).

“It means a lot to us to win the title,” Head Coach Ricardo Rosas said. “It was really exciting and it was one of our goals for the season. Seeing these guys work hard and accomplish what they did, once again going undefeated in the MAC, was fun to watch. It feels pretty good and they are very excited with their accomplishment. They are pretty motivated to play this weekend.”

After two 4-3 victories the previous weekend against Buffalo and Akron, the Red and White showed their depth both nights, defeating Eastern Michigan 6-1 and Toledo 7-0. The RedHawks have now won 16 straight league matches dating back to last season.

On Friday night, the ‘Hawks jumped out to an early 1-0 lead over EMU after sweeping the doubles matches. Sophomore Stephanie Danesis and junior Megan Martzolf won 9-7 at the No. 1 position, while teammates Anastasia Dracheva and Sydnee Bridger won at the No. 3 position with a score of 8-2. With the point already in hand for the Red and White, the pair of Riekie Honiball and Cara Wald won at the No. 2 position 8-7 to complete the sweep of the doubles matches.

The RedHawks continued their dominance in the singles matches, winning five out of the six matches to secure the match 6-1 over the Eagles. At the No. 3 position, Martzolf continued her undefeated season (20-0) with a 6-2, 7-5 win. The win moved the ‘Hawks to 14-6 overall and 7-0 in the MAC.

On Saturday, the RedHawks concluded their streak of six straight road MAC matches with a 7-0 win at Toledo. Miami won eight out of the nine matches played en route to sweeping Toledo on their senior night. After Toledo won the first doubles match at No. 2 by a score of 8-2, the RedHawks came back to win the next two matches and secure the 1-0 lead. Dracheva and Bridger won 8-5 at the No. 3 position, while the pair of Martzolf and Danesis earned the point for the RedHawks with a 9-8 (7-4) win at the No. 1 position.

Miami went on to win all six of the singles matches. The 6-3, 6-0 victory at No. 3 singles improved the junior’s record to 21-0 this spring. Dracheva, Wald, Honiball, Danesis and Bridger all won in the singles matches for the RedHawks, who earned their second straight conference championship with the 7-0 win over the Rockets.

“It means a lot to us because we have been through a lot this year,” Dracheva said. “It has been a really rough year for us, so winning the regular season title is very exciting and we are looking forward to playing in the tournament championship this weekend.”

The Red and White clinched the No. 1 seed for the MAC tournament, which takes place this weekend at WMU. Their opening round game will be 10 a.m. Friday against the winner of the No. 9 and No. 8 match between Northern Illinois and Ball State. If the RedHawks win Friday, they play Saturday morning in the semi-finals with the finals on Sunday.

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