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Miami University (Ohio) Women Team News
Top-Seeded Miami Holds off Buffalo's Challenge in MAC Semis
Saturday, 05/01/2010

May 1, 2010

 Final Stats

 KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Top-seeded Miami was pushed to the brink by No. 5 Buffalo in its Mid-American Conference semifinal Saturday afternoon, but escaped with a 4-1 victory at Western Michigan's Sorensen Courts. Sophomore Stephanie Danesis saved the day with a three-set victory at No. 2 for the deciding point.

After winning the doubles in convincing fashion, Miami (17-6) jumped out to first-set wins in five of the six singles ties. But Buffalo quickly regained composure and momentum, pushing three of the matches to a deciding set. No. 2 was one of those, where Danesis won the opening set 6-4 over before falling 6-2. The Akron native broke serve to start the third and never looked back, winning the third set and the match, 6-0.

"Once again, we came out as a team and got the win," Interim Head Coach Ricky Rosas said. From spots 1 to 6 we fought until the end against a tough opponent. Winning the doubles point was a great way to come out and it gave us confidence for the singles. I knew it wasn't over after that. I am so excited for this win and ready to defend our title tomorrow."

The RedHawks had opened a 1-0 lead by cruising through the doubles. Miami surrendered just four games total in the three matches, winning 8-2 at No. 3 and 8-1 at No. 1. Anastasia Dracheva and Sydnee Bridger lost the opening game on serve, then won three straight games. After Diana Popescu and Diana Toia made it 3-2, Miami rattled off five games in a row to claim the victory. Danesis and Megan Martzolf won the first three games, then five straight to close out their win.

At No. 2, Cara Wald and Riekie Honiball held a 7-0 lead and had three match points, but Anna Subenkova and Tamara Markovic rallied to erase the shutout. The match was abandoned at 7-1 when the other ones were completed. 

Buffalo evened the match at 1 when Markovic defeated Bridger 6-2, 6-1 at No. 6 singles. While the top three matches went to a third set, Honiball and Wald were grinding through wins at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. Honiball won a tiebreaker 9-7 in the first before taking the second set 6-3, while Wald battled to a 6-4, 6-1 victory after leading 5-2 in the first set.

Dracheva won her first set at No. 1 6-1, but Denise Harijanto rallied to even the match 6-3. The Bulls senior won all four games in the third set when the match was abandoned. Martzolf followed a similar pattern and was in jeopardy of losing for the first time in 23 matches this spring. After taking a 6-3 win in the opener, she fell 6-4 and was down 5-0 over the final two sets when the match ended.

"I just tried to have a more positive attitude in the third set," Danesis said. "I kept fighting, not only for myself, but for my teammates. Seeing us losing at 1 and 3, I knew it was critical for me to come out strong in the third set. I dont think she (Petrova) expected that."

Miami will look to defend its 2009 championship Sunday at noon when it faces No. 3 seed Western Michigan. The pairing is a rematch of last year's final, won 4-0 by the RedHawks.


Miami 4, Buffalo 1

Singles competition
1. Anastasia Dracheva (MIAMI) vs. Denise Harijanto (BUFFALO) 6-1, 3-6, 0-4, unfinished
2. Stephanie Danesis (MIAMI) def. Aleksandra Petrova (BUFFALO) 6-4, 2-6, 6-0
3. Megan Martzolf (MIAMI) vs. Diana Popescu (BUFFALO) 6-3, 4-6, 0-5, unfinished
4. Riekie Honiball (MIAMI) def. Diana Toia (BUFFALO) 7-6 (9-7), 6-3
5. Cara Wald (MIAMI) def. Kira Golenko (BUFFALO) 6-4, 6-1
6. Tamara Markovic (BUFFALO) def. Sydnee Bridger (MIAMI) 6-2, 6-1

Doubles competition
1. Stephanie Danesis/Megan Martzolf (MIAMI) def. Denise Harijanto/Aleksandra Petrova (BUFFALO) 8-1
2. Riekie Honiball/Cara Wald (MIAMI) vs. Anna Subenkova/Tamara Markovic (BUFFALO) 7-1, unfinished
3. Anastasia Dracheva/Sydnee Bridger (MIAMI) def. Diana Popescu/Diana Toia (BUFFALO) 8-2

Match Notes:
Buffalo 9-9, No. 5 seed
Miami 17-6, No. 1 seed
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,5,4,2)

MAC Tournament Semifinals
Miami to face either No. 3 Western Michigan in Sunday's 12 noon championship
Official: Tim Baurer T-2:45 A-100