Women's Tennis Falls in Championship Match to Miami
KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan women's tennis team had its championship run come to an end, 4-1, to regular season champion Miami in the finals of the 2010 Mid-American Conference Women's Tennis Championship at West Hills Athletic Club.
The third-seeded Broncos (16-11) and RedHawks (18-6) were forced indoors for the final match after the head tournament referee determined that WMU's Sorensen Courts wouldn't be fit to play after last night's storms.
"We're still undefeated outside," head coach Betsy Kuhle said. "Ultimately though, I just think the difference was the road we took to get to the final was so long. The difference between opening with the No. 8 seed and No. 6 is wider than people think. Then we had to defeat an Akron team that was the only nationally-ranked conference team in the semis. It was just a very difficult road for us, and we gave all we had left today."
WMU lost its conference opener to the RedHawks, 5-2, in Miami on March 26 and cut the margin in the rematch, but not enough to change the decision.
The team's split the first two doubles matches with the RedHawks winning at No. 1, 8-3, and then junior Amanda Moccia and sophomore April Kerr came back with an 8-5 win at No. 3. The point came down to senior Yumi Matsuto and sophomore Maria Nivia at No. 2. That duo clinched the doubles point for WMU in the semifinals, but fell behind, 6-3, and couldn't recover to drop the decision, 8-4.
The Broncos exacted their dominance in the bottom half of the lineup against the RedHawks by winning each of the three first sets. Freshman Jill Pastunink finished the tournament undefeated at No. 6 singles with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Sydnee Bridger. Pastunink concluded the season on an 11-match winning streak.
At No. 4 singles, freshman Maggie Remynse was just points away from finishing Riekie Honiball with a 6-4, 5-4 lead when the match was abandoned. Nivia, who was named to the all-tournament team, was also leading in her match at No. 5 after concluding a grueling first set tiebreaker, 7-6 (2), over Cara Wald.
The top three positions proved to be the difference in the match. MAC All-Tournament team member Matsuto battled in the first set, but couldn't keep it up as Megan Martzolf won the first match off 6-4, 6-0. She was followed shortly by all-tournament honoree Stephanie Danesis with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 2.
Pastunink won her match at No. 6 in the third bout to conclude, but tournament MVP Anastasia Dracheva survived Second Team All-MAC senior Emily Dudzik's first set comeback from trailing 5-2 to clinch Miami's second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament 7-5, 6-1.
The Broncos finish the season by reaching the tournament championship for the sixth consecutive season after being picked to finish in a tie for third in the preseason coaches poll. The Broncos conclude the season 16-11 and finished in the top three in the conference for the 28th consecutive season.
"I think we over-achieved this year," Kuhle said. "With moving our No. 5 and No. 6 player from last season into the top three and the youth we had, I'm proud of what we accomplished. We won 16 matches, with wins over Michigan State and Marquette. I think we had a fantastic season all things considered. We did our best and I'm very encouraged about what we have returning next year."
#1 Miami 4, #3 Western Michigan 1
May 2, 2010 at Kalamazoo, Mich. (West Hills Athletic Club)
|1. Anastasia Dracheva (MIAMI) def. Emily Dudzik (WMU) 7-5, 6-1|
|2. Stephanie Danesis (MIAMI) def. Amanda Moccia (WMU) 6-0, 6-0|
|3. Megan Martzolf (MIAMI) def. Yumi Matsuto (WMU) 6-4, 6-0|
|4. Maggie Remynse (WMU) vs. Riekie Honiball (MIAMI) 6-4, 5-4, unfinished|
|5. Maria Nivia (WMU) vs. Cara Wald (MIAMI) 7-6 (7-2), unfinished|
|6. Jill Pastunink (WMU) def. Sydnee Bridger (MIAMI) 6-2, 6-3|
|1. Stephanie Danesis/Megan Martzolf (MIAMI) def. Emily Dudzik/Jill Pastunink (WMU) 8-3|
|2. Riekie Honiball/Cara Wald (MIAMI) def. Yumi Matsuto/Maria Nivia (WMU) 8-4|
|3. April Kerr/Amanda Moccia (WMU) def. Sydnee Bridger/Anastasia Dracheva (MIAMI) 8-5|
|#1 Miami 18-6|
|#3 Western Michigan 16-11|
|Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,2,6,1)|
|2010 Mid-American Conference Women's Tennis Championship|
|Winner advances to NCAA Championships|
All-Tournament Team: Denise Harijanto (Buffalo), Prang Pantusart (Akron)
Stephanie Danesis (Miami), Anastasia Dracheva (Miami) - MVP