The Miami University women’s tennis team rectified a 4-3 loss earlier in the season at Ball State University on its way to earning the 2013 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament title in Muncie, Ind. It is the RedHawks’ first since 2010 and the first Tournament title under Head Coach Anca Dumitrescu.
The championship is the eighth acquired by Miami teams this year, a record for the school. The RedHawks (13-12) swept the fourth-seeded Cardinals 4-0 Saturday in the semifinals and won in a thrilling fashion in a 4-3 victory against No. 2 seed Bowling Green State University to win the Tournament and clinch a berth in the NCAA Tournament. They will learn who their opponent will be on the NCAA Selection Show Tuesday night. The first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament will take place May 9-11.
“This weekend was incredible,” junior Christiana Raymond said. “What’s even more incredible is how much our team improved this year, down 4-12 in matches and coming back to have a winning season. Our team is now closer than ever and I truly believe that our amazing team chemistry is what helped us stick together to win the championship. I am proud of everyone on the team and we are going to keep working hard to do well in the NCAA Tournament.”
Miami kicked off the MAC semifinals by sweeping Ball State (15-11) in doubles play. Junior Nimisha Mohan and sophomore Alix Thurman, who were named to the All-MAC first-team and second-team last week, downed junior Kristel Sanders and freshman Bethany Moore 8-3 to win their eighth straight doubles match. Raymond and fellow junior Ramona Costea got an 8-2 win over seniors Paola Rodriguez and Lauren Pickrel to take the doubles point for the ‘Hawks. When play was stopped, sophomore Christine Guerrazzi and freshman Ana Rajkovic held a 6-4 lead over sophomore Courtney Wild and freshman Courtney Earnest.
The RedHawks continued to roll in singles action against the Cardinals as Raymond defeated Rodriguez 6-0, 6-3 for her ninth consecutive singles win and Guerrazzi won a 6-0, 6-2 decision over Sanders to put the Red and White up 3-0. Rajkovic clinched the match by earning her sixth straight singles win in a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Moore. When the match was clinched, Mohan, Costea and Thurman all had leads in the second set after winning the first.
In the finals against Bowling Green (17-5), the Falcons drew first blood in doubles as seniors Katie Grubb and Maddy Eccleston defeated Mohan and Thurman 8-3. Miami would answer back with an 8-1 win by Guerrazzi and Rajkovic over juniors Emily Reuland and Nikki Chiricosta, snapping their six-match skid in doubles play. BGSU would take the doubles point as seniors Mary Hill and Jade Johnson earned an 8-4 victory over Raymond and Costea.
The RedHawks would draw even in singles as Thurman downed Reuland 6-2, 6-0, but the Falcons rebounded to take a 2-1 lead after Hill defeated Costea 6-3, 6-0. Rajkovic knotted things up for the ‘Hawks with her seventh straight win in singles play in a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Grubb. Raymond would give them their first lead of the match with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Eccleston, her tenth consecutive victory in singles action. Bowling Green would tie the match again after freshman Katie Brozovich earned a 6-4, 6-4 win over Guerrazzi. However, Mohan would deliver the match to the Red and White in her 7-4, 6-0 triumph over Chiricosta and would earn Tournament MVP honors.
“It was a great weekend for us,” Dumitrescu said. “I am very proud of us and it was good to see our hard work pay off. We competed very well and fought for every point. It was a well-deserved win.”