BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's tennis team was selected as the preseason pick to win the Mid-American Conference title, the league office announced on Friday morning. The Bulls, who have won MAC titles in each of the last two years, are looking for their third straight MAC crown.
Buffalo received 62 points and six of the eight first place votes, picked by the league's eight head coaches. Akron was selected to finish second with 54 points, while Miami was picked third with 48 points. The poll concludes with Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Ball State, Toledo, and Northern Illinois.
The Bulls will have a veteran squad this year, which includes four seniors and two juniors. UB, which is cosched by the reigning MAC Coach of the Year Kristen Maines, is led by senior Chantal Martinez Blanco, who has been honored by the MAC in each of first three seasons, including a first team All-League selection last year.
Buffalo will look to replace to loss of All-MAC selections Tanja Stojanovska and Lolade Ogungbesan with four newcomers to this year's team. The group is led by Nikoleta Antoniou-Karademitrou, who had an outstanding fall season, including a Flight B victory at the MAC Fall Tournament.
Singen, Germany native Pia Schwarz will also add depth to the UB lineup as she finished in third place in the Flight C singles bracket at the MAC Fall Tournament. The Bulls also have Williamsville, NY native Gabriella Kivovich on the squad and they most recently added freshman Hsin-Yuan Shih, a native of Taiwan, who is joining Buffalo for the spring semester.
"It is an honor to be recognized again by the great coaches in this league, but that also means that we will need to bring our best performance to every match because we know there is a target on our back," said Maines. "I am excited to get the team back on campus and begin preparing for what should be an exciting spring."
UB opens the spring season on Friday, February 1 when the Bulls host Niagara. Buffalo will begin league play on March 22 when it hosts Bowling Green.
As regular season champions last year, the Bulls will host the 2019 Mid-American Conference Championships. Those will take place from April 26-28.