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Miami University (Ohio) Women Team News
Gorny Win Highlights Miami Sweep of Akron
Saturday, 04/04/2009

OXFORD, Ohio -- Freshman Monica Gorny rallied from one set down to hand Akron's Zara Harutyunyan her first defeat of the spring and only her fourth of the entire season, highlighting a 7-0 Miami victory in women's tennis action Saturday afternoon at the Withrow Courts. The victory was the fifth in a row for the RedHawks, who improve to 9-6 overall and 4-0 in Mid-American Conference play.

Gorny, a native of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, had her serve broken in the final game of the first set to fall 6-4, but rallied for 6-2 and 6-1 wins to complete the RedHawks' sweep. The match was the final action of the afternoon and was played out to three sets -- as opposed to going to a super tie-breaker -- because national ranking points were on the line. In the second set, the players were tied at 2-2 before Gorny won five straight games, and 10 of the next 11, to close out the match. Harutnunya, also a freshman from Yerevan, Armenia, entered the match 16-0 this spring and 33-3 overall this year.

"I felt like I wasn't playing as well as I would have liked early on," Gorny admitted. "We have been practicing indoors recently and played inside yesterday and I was making too many mistakes. I didn't feel that I was playing terrible, though, and the first set is not the end. I started to serve better and I fought through the second set. Then, I had the momentum for the third.

"It was one of the bigger matches I have played, particularly this year," added Gorny, who has played Girls' Singles at Wimbledon, the French Open and the U.S. Open. "She is the kind of world-class player that could play Junior Wimbledon."

Miami was in danger of falling behind 1-0 for the first time in six matches, but made two near-miraculous comebacks to secure the point. Gorny and Riekie Honiball jumped out to an early 4-2 lead, then hung on for a 7-5 win at No. 2. Brintney Larson and Cara Wald opened a 4-1 advantage in No. 3 action, but were broken on their next two serves and trailed 5-4. Later, they were behind 7-6 but won the final three games -- two on breaks -- to win 9-7.

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Athough Miami had already secured the doubles point, the No. 1 match provided the most drama. Stephanie Danesis and Megan Martzolf started with a break to open a 2-0 lead, but then dropped the next three games to Harutyunyan and Anna Baronayte, who entered the match 15-0 this season. The teams stayed on serve until 4-4, when Akron won three straight to surge ahead. But Miami took four straight, including a break in the final game, to clinch a 9-7 victory.

Singles play started out with a pair of quick Miami victories -- 6-2, 6-1 by Martzolf at No. 4 and 6-1, 6-3 by Larson at No. 5. The RedHawks clinched the victory when Dracheva won her ninth straight match, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2.

Miami added points at No. 6 with a 6-4, 6-3 win by Riekie Honiball and at No. 5 when Danesis captured a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3.

The 7-0 scoreline was the third sweep of the season, joining matches against Eastern Illinois (Jan. 18) and Cincinnati (Feb. 27).

"The weekend was good from the point of view that we got two more wins," Head Coach Howard Joffe said. "But more so, it was full of competititve tennis. That is the biggest value. As a rule, the doubles point is more of a sprint, but I am very proud of our kids for coming back. We managed to negotiate a difficult situation.

"It was good to see us competing better -- the wins are a function of that. As far as the final match went, Monica played very, very fine player. We knew it was going to be a very difficult match. The difference was that she stayed composed and competed well."

Miami returns to action next weekend with a pair of matches on the Withrow Courts. The RedHawks host Eastern Michigan on Friday and Toledo on Saturday with both matches slated to start at 1 p.m.