Ending with vengeance
Bulls end regular season with with a 6-1 decision over Akron
The Buffalo women's tennis team (14-5, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) entered Akron looking for revenge on Saturday.
Not only was it seeking a win in its regular season finale, the Bulls were also out for redemption - the Zips eliminated them in the first round of last year's MAC Championships.
The Bulls defeated Akron (10-16, 0-9 MAC) 6-1 Saturday. Buffalo's win was monumental for the program and for one of its captains. Senior Anamaria Candanoza secured an 8-0 MAC singles record with her 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Candanoza's victory was Buffalo's fourth point, clinching the match.
"That's a huge accomplishment for her," said head coach Kristen Maines. "She's a wonderful girl that we've been so fortunate to have as captain. She's the epitome of discipline, she goes out there and grinds, outworking her opponent. That's what UB tennis is all about. We couldn't be more proud of her conference play. It wasn't by chance either, she really earned it."
The Bulls began the match hot, sweeping the competition in all three doubles matchups. Seniors Tanvi Shah and Marta Stoyanova earned an 8-4 victory for Buffalo at first doubles, while senior Miranda Podlas and freshman Margarita Kotok earned an 8-5 decision at second.
Candanoza and freshman Laura Holterbosch secured Buffalo's first victory with an 8-3 finish in third doubles over Akron's Karolina Maksimava and Martina Zerbola.
Buffalo won five of its six singles matchups, beginning with Shah's 6-2, 5-0 decisions.
This proved to be an important win for the team's confidence heading into the MAC Championships. Earlier this month, Buffalo lost two conference matchups against Ball State (16-8, 6-2 MAC) and Bowling Green (10-8, 4-4 MAC) but the team has always answered these matches with victories. The Bulls have alternated wins and losses in their last five matches.
"We made better decisions [today]," Maines said. "We learned from the losses last week and applied it to what needed to be done. Working on doubles and staying consistent, that's been the mentality this whole week."
The only matchup that required a third set was Buffalo's Podlas against Masimava, with Podlas earning the extra point after a 10-3 downing.
The Bulls earned the fourth seed for the MAC Championships, which is set for Friday morning in Miami, Ohio.
Buffalo is confident it will make a playoff run in the upcoming MAC Championships after last year's first round exit. But the Bulls must stay consistent with their strong doubles to be successful, according to Maines.
"They've done a great job," Maines said. "The biggest difference in last year and this year was staying healthy. We have good momentum going into the [MAC] Championships. We beat the No. 1 seed [Miami Ohio] 5-2 earlier this month. It's up for grabs. There's such depth in the matches; they're all tough teams. We just need to be consistent."
The Bulls will work on their consistency during this week's practices before traveling westward for the MAC Championships. The first match is set for Friday, April 25 in Miami, Ohio. The first matchup scheduled for 10 a.m.
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