HAMILTON, Ohio -- Miami earned a split of its two tennis matches Sunday, winning 6-1 against California (Pa.) in the morning before falling to Xavier 4-3 later in the day
In the morning match, the RedHawks opened a 1-0 lead by winning at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. Christiana Raymond and Alix Thurman fell behing 4-1 before winning seven straight games in an 8-4 decision. Ana Rajkovic and Chloe Heerden bolted to a 4-1 lead enroute to another 8-4 win. The Vulcans took the No. 1 tilt by an 8-5 score.
Miami quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Raymond, who moved into the No. 1 spot Sunday after playing second earlier in the year, won the last nine games of her 6-3, 6-0 decision, while Heerden won the first nine games in a 6-0, 6-2 victory.
The Vulcans, ranked eighth in the country in Division II, picked up their first point at No. 4, winning 6-4, 6-2, but shortly after, Nimisha Mohan clinched the team victory with a 6-4, 6-4 decision at No. 2. The RedHawks added its final two points with wins by Thurman, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4) at No. 3 and Rajkovic, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 5.
The RedHawks were without Christine Guerrazzi, who normally plays at No. 4, because of illness.
In the nightcap, Xavier took the doubles point with wins in the bottom flights, 8-6 at No. 2 and 8-4 at No. 3. Though the point was already decided, the remaining match proved to be epic with Guerrazzi and Mohan battling Kally Alkire and Katie Pleiman. A 6-4 Miami lead was the biggest of the match, until the Musketeer duo won two straight enroute to a 7-7 tie. The tiebreaker took 26 points before Miami escaped with a 14-12 win. During the final game, there were 21 mini-breaks, including nine straight at one time, and seven failed match points -- four against Miami and three against Xavier.
The teams split the first two singles matches in easy fashion. Xavier captured the No. 1 match 6-1, 6-1, but Thurman closed the gap to 2-1 with a 6-0, 6-1 victory at No. 3. The Musketeers moved the score to 3-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 decision at No. 2, but Miami gained a point right back when Guerrazzi took a 7-5, 6-3 victory at No. 4.
The final two matches both headed to a third set as Miami rallied back after being down one set to none. Ramona Costea and Heerden were both serving 3-2, but were broken. Heerden broke back and later led 5-4, while Costea found herself in a similar 5-4 hole. Xavier clinched the match when Andrea Wolf broke Costea again for the 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 No. 5 victory. Heerden held on to win at No. 6 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 for the RedHawks' final point.
Miami (2-4) returns to action next Sunday when it travels to Marshall.