OXFORD, Ohio – When Ramona Costea first began playing tennis at the age of six, it was something she had been encouraged to partake in by family members. Back in her home town of Galati, Romania, Costea’s sister and cousin were already playing the game and urged her to join.

As a junior on Miami University’s tennis team, Costea not only continues to uphold that family tennis tradition but also looks to win matches for the defending Mid-American Conference champions. Costea is one of six returning members on the squad and head coach Anca Dumitrescu has seen Ramona make strides on the court through her first two seasons at Miami.

Ramona has improved greatly since her arrival here,” said Dumitrescu. “Last year particularly she showed that she can be very mentally tough and now she needs to nurture that toughness and rely on it each time she is on the court. I am looking forward to her continuing to establish her consistency mentally and tactically and I believe in her ability to persevere in pressure situations.”

Costea finished the fall portion of the 2013-14 season with a 6-5 record in singles competition. She believes that the whole team performed better this fall than the year before and is hopeful for that means when the season opens up on Jan. 17 at the Purdue Invitational.

“I think that both individually and as a team we improved a lot,” said Costea. “As a team, we worked really hard over the fall season and I feel like this helped us develop common goals and a team cohesion. We encountered tougher opponents too, and as a result we gained a lot of experience.” 

Heading into the spring campaign, Costea says she wants to continue to improve individually so she can help her team achieve their goal of winning a first-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament. She acknowledges that the team’s recent success has been powered by a strong coaching staff at the top in Dumitrescu and associate head coach Ricardo Rosas.

“I like the fact that both of them remind us of our goals in the 'heat of the battle' and they find the best way to do it,” said Costea. “They are really good motivators, they're positive people and they put a lot of passion in coaching us, so there's a lot of reasons why I like playing for them.” 

Alongside senior Christiana Raymond and junior Christine Guerrazzi, Costea was one of three RedHawks to earn a perfect 4.0 GPA during the fall semester. The Miami University tennis team returns to action on Jan. 17 when they begin play in West Lafayette, Ind. for the Purdue Invitational.