MUNCIE, IN – The University at Buffalo women's tennis team claimed the 2017 Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon as the third-seeded Bulls defeated #4 Miami, 4-2. With the win, the Bulls have earned the MAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulls got off to a strong start in doubles as victories at one and two gave UB the early lead. Buffalo got the first win at two as Anna Savchenko and Chantal Martinez Blanco won 6-2. They clinched the point at one as senior Margarita Kotok and junior Tanja Stojanovska won 6-4.
Buffalo continued in singles by winning the first set in four of the six matches. Freshman Emel Abibula got the first victory with a 6-3, 6-0 win at three to put the Bulls up 2-0. Miami then won at five to get on the board, but sophomore Sanjana Sudhir answered right back with a 6-4, 6-1 win at six to give Buffalo a 3-1 lead, needing just one more win to clinch the match.
The RedHawks won at four to pull within 3-2 and both remaining matches, at one and two, went into a third set. Stojanovska won her first set 6-2 at one before she fell in a second-set tiebreaker, but the first-team All-MAC performer answered right back and won the third set easily, 6-2, clinching UB's first MAC title since 2008.
"I am so incredibly proud of this entire team," said head coach Kristen Maines. "They have been hungry for this since we lost a heartbreaker last year in the semifinals. They have worked every single day with the mindset of being prepared and winning a MAC Championship this year. We knew the tournament was going to be tight from one through six and this team never doubted themselves from the time we arrived in Muncie. I've never coached a team with more desire. It's been a long nine years since our last championship and I'm so proud of what we accomplished this past weekend."
The victory for the Bulls was their eighth straight as they improved to 14-8 on the season. The women's tennis team becomes the first women's program at UB to advance to a second Division I NCAA Tournament.
The Bulls will find out their destination for the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday at 5:30pm during the NCAA Selection Show. It will air directly after the men's selection show concludes. Details for the men's and women's tennis selection show party will be forthcoming in the next day. First round games will be played on either Friday, May 12 or Saturday, May 13.
- Tanja Stojanovska/Margarita Kotok (BUFFALO) def. Nelli Ponomareva/A. Shapovalova (MIAMI) 6-4
- Anna Savchenko/Chantal Martinez Blanco (BUFFALO) def. Hannah Shteyn/A. Vasiukhina (MIAMI) 6-2
- Laura Holterbosch/Mercedes Losada Rubio (BUFFALO) vs. Andreea Badileanu/Emily Struble (MIAMI) 5-4, unfinished
- Tanja Stojanovska (BUFFALO) def. Nelli Ponomareva (MIAMI) 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2
- Chantal Martinez Blanco (BUFFALO) vs. A. Shapovalova (MIAMI) 6-4, 4-6, 3-0, unfinished
- Emel Abibula (BUFFALO) def. Andreea Badileanu (MIAMI) 6-3, 6-0
- Emily Struble (MIAMI) def. Mercedes Losada Rubio (BUFFALO) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
- Hannah Shteyn (MIAMI) def. Anna Savchenko (BUFFALO) 6-2, 6-3
- Sanjana Sudhir (BUFFALO) def. A. Vasiukhina (MIAMI) 6-4, 6-1