Ben Garbarek

Although the RedHawks were seemingly on their way to a tennis victory against Xavier, Mother Nature had other plans.

After sweeping all three doubles matches, play was suspended due to lightning during singles play Tuesday afternoon in Oxford.

Before the powerful storms that swept Miami’s campus, the Red and White battled a gusting and fierce wind.

“The wind can be frustrating,” said Interim Head Coach Ricardo Rosas. “We have to be more patient with the strong winds.”

Senior Katrina Lomidze said the wind played a large factor during match play with Xavier.

“The wind was very unpredictable,” Lomidze said. “I had to use more topspin on my forehand and more slice on my backhand.”

Miami looked strong in its doubles play. The first doubles team of seniors Lomidze and Linda Jirouskova defeated the Musketeers’ tough combo of Jackie Vilnes and Kara Courtney 8-5. The loss snapped Vilnes and Courtney’s 15-match winning streak in doubles play, which dated back to January.

“We were always in control of the match; we played confidently,” Lomidze said.

The RedHawks also saw solid wins from the No. 2 doubles team of Leda Pesatova and Victoria Pulido. The pair of juniors handled Jill Ducro and Annie Diedalis with relative ease to the tune of an 8-4 victory. The No. 3 team of Kristin McPhillips and Kelly Douple likewise won convincingly, beating their Xavier counterparts 8-5.

“Xavier was not adjusting that well to the wind,” Rosas said. “We adjusted well and played calm.”

Miami was cruising to several wins in singles before the stormy weather.

Lomidze came out on the winning end of a fierce battle on the No. 1 singles court. She jumped out to an early 2-1 break in the first set, but Vilnes of Xavier refused to give up without a fight. The two battled through the darkening clouds and thunder into a decisive tiebreaker, with Lomidze coming out on top.

Miami’s Jirouskova also found herself in a tough battle against Durco in No. 3 singles action, but was a mere game away from claiming the first set at 5-4 before the delay. Likewise, Douple was running away with her No. 6 matchup against Alicia Papa 6-1, 3-3.

The weather prevented two promising matches in the No. 4 and 5 singles. McPhillips and Pulido both split their first two sets in their matches, but neither was able to play a game in the third set of their matches.

Pesatova was bailed out by the storm, trailing Xavier’s Courtney 3-6, 1-4 in No. 2 singles action.

Despite the meteorological woes of the afternoon, Rosas was pleased with Miami’s efforts.

“We had really good matches,” Rosas said. “We played good, we didn’t think about the wind too much.”

Rosas will be the acting head coach for the remainder of the season. Former Head Coach Ray Reppert broke the heart of Miami tennis after leaving the squad Feb. 14 to accept a position as a director at a private tennis club in St. Petersburg, Fla. Reppert served as Miami’s head coach for the past 12 years before his departure this year.

Miami currently owns a record of 2-2 in conference play, but 8-10 overall.

With the end of the season rapidly approaching, Rosas feels good about his squad entering the final stretch.

“We’re picking up confidence, this team is stepping up,” Rosas said. “We know we can win.”

The team will continue MAC play Friday when they travel to Bowling Green, followed by a trip to Western Michigan Saturday.

Both teams are negotiating a makeup date for Tuesday’s postponed matches.