Hurricane Sports Writer
Members of the University of Miami’s men’s and women’s tennis teams enjoyed a successful individual meet season, which concluded last November. Now, the real thing is about to begin.
The men’s squad, ranked No. 18 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, kicked off the dual meet season yesterday against Florida Atlantic and continue with a match against South Alabama on Sunday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. The 37th ranked women’s team kicks off their season tonight at 6:00, as they play host to FAU.
The expectations are high for a men’s squad that finished the 2000-2001 campaign with a 21-4 record and a No. 11 national ranking. Head coach Jay Berger has six of last year’s nine letterwinners returning, including an excellent senior trio of Jose Lieberman, Tomas Smid, and Tarik El Bassiouni.
Much of the attention, however, may be directed towards freshman phenom Todd Widom, who is one of three newcomers on the team. Widom posted a 9-2 mark during the fall season, which included an appearance at the quarterfinals of the ITA Regional Championships back in October.
The men’s squad certainly has enough players to pose a threat for NCAA contention, but first, they need to get through another challenging schedule. Miami travels to Tallahassee in February for a meeting with their hated in-state rivals. Other challenging road matches include SMU and Duke, the squad which knocked Miami out of the NCAA tournament last season. The NCAA Championships kick off on May 18 at College Station, Texas.
On the women’s side, the 2001-2002 season also carries a positive outlook. Miami finished 15-9 last season, good enough for second in the Big East before bowing out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hurricanes return seven members of the 2000-2001 team, including senior Marcy Hora and junior Lauren Scaglione.
The women’s squad is also bolstered by the addition of three newcomers, including sophomore transfer Marcy Tora, who is ranked No. 69 in the nation.
The women’s home schedule includes matches against in-state rival Florida, as well as Virginia and Boston College. The road schedule includes dates with TCU, Michigan, and Notre Dame.
This weekend is a springboard for both teams to advance on the success of a season ago.