April 12, 2012

Captains' Corner is a bi-weekly update from a captain or leader of one of the RedHawks' 19 teams that runs every other Thursday throughout the academic year. Today's update is from sophomore tennis player, Christiana Raymond, a Westerville, Ohio native who is majoring in Kinesiology.

I am very proud of the work each member of our team has put in this season. We have all improved throughout this year, and this has been proven by our results throughout the season. We have been toe-to-toe with nationally-ranked teams, such as Penn State and Nebraska, and we are undefeated in our regular conference season, standing at 6-0 in the MAC.

We started our conference schedule this year by playing Akron, our biggest rival, and won in a nail-biting 4-3 match, with Akron having had multiple match points. Not only have we improved our tennis and fitness, but we also have each improved mentally. We are a team of fighters, and I think that is what has made all the difference this year thus far.

We have two conference regular season matches left, one against Northern Illinois at home this Friday and the other away against Ball State the following Friday. The MAC tournament then begins on April 26 at Northern Illinois. We are continuing to focus and work hard in practice with our eyes still focused on our goals of bringing home a four-peat championship of the MAC regular season and winning the MAC Tournament for the third time in four years; winning the MAC tournament would then automatically place us in the draw of the NCAA tournament.

Along with our willingness to fight for each match, we also enjoy cheering for and supporting each other every step of the way in each practice and match. Many times this year, including in our matches against Akron and Louisville for example, our level of energy and support for each other has pulled us through the tough matches. Because of this exemplary team effort, I feel we have all grown closer to each other and are willing to fight for each other even more because of our desire for the team to succeed as a whole.

With that said, we are sad to see our three seniors on the team graduate and leave the team after this year. Our team's Senior Day will be held Friday as we play Northern Illinois. It will be an emotional day, as we will greatly miss the graduating seniors, but we are all excited for them as they move on to the next chapter in their lives. It would be fantastic to have as many fans as possible come to Friday's match to celebrate the seniors' last home match at Miami and to celebrate their outstanding four-year careers.

I look forward to the rest of the season with the girls as we continue to work hard and keep our eyes on the prize on our journey of winning another MAC championship and getting another NCAA ring. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank each and every fan and all of our parents for their constant support and encouragement. We are blessed to have such a great support system.

Love and Honor,

Christiana