By Tim Glon
ADA — Senior Michelle Tuma celebrated Senior Day in grand style by winning the deciding match to lead the Ohio Northern women's tennis team to at least a share of the Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season title with a 6-3 victory over John Carroll Friday afternoon at University Courts.
The Polar Bears (16-3 overall, 7-0 OAC) also clinch the No. 1 seed in the OAC Tournament, which is slated for April 28-May 2.
The Blue Streaks fall to 8-6, 4-1.
ONU can win the league title outright with a victory in its last regular season match at Capital on Wednesday.
Northern has now won eight OAC Regular Season titles in the past 12 seasons.
The Polar Bears battled back from a 2-1 deficit after doubles and won the hard-foughtcontest.
With ONU up 4-3, Tuma won the deciding match 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 at No. 1 singles.
Junior Meghan Letizia tied the match at 2-2 with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 4 singles, but it was all nail-biters from there.
JCU won 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6 singles to go back on top 3-2, but junior Christina Corbean answered with a tight 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 singles to even the score at 3-3.
Freshman Lynn Kelly battled for a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 2 singles to put ONU ahead 4-3, setting up Tuma's match-winner.
Junior Taryn Stromback fought her way to a 6-4, 5-7, 10-2 victory at No. 5 singles to close out the match.
"The ladies showed a great deal of heart to battle back against a very good team," ONU head coach Scott Wills said. "We willed a couple of wins, just by battling hard every point. I was great to see the team rally around each other and grind it out."
Tuma, who hails from Coburg, Ontario, Canada, had her parents on hand for Senior Day to join in what turned out to be two celebrations.
"It was pretty unbelievable how it all turned out," Tuma said. "It was a very tough match but we got it done. Even though I had the win that put us over the top, it was a total team effort. It was great seeing everyone else battling and grinding it out and giving each other momentum as the match went on. I'm proud of the effort and now we are one step closer to our goals."
JCU was up early after winning at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles.
Stromback and Kelly won 8-3 at No. 3 doubles for the Polar Bears' lone doubles point.
ONU will return to action Tuesday with a home match against Kenyon and will wrap up the regular season on Wednesday at Capital.