The No. 20 women’s tennis team began a tough three-match week with a 6-1 win over No. 30 William and Mary Tuesday night.
When the match started at 6 p.m. the stands had an unusually large crowd, which was enticed by a sign that read “Free Food.” Unfortunately, the dwindling crowd left when the food ran out and the temperature dropped, missing a few exciting tennis matches.
In No. 2 singles, senior Mari Toro came away with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Lena Sherbakov, who was battling injuries. Even though the match lasted two sets, it lasted the longest because of the lengthy rallies. Sherbakov used many drop shots to her advantage when the points became too long. Toro was able to keep her cool and finish out the match.
“I wasn’t playing that good,” Toro said. “She hit pretty consistently without a lot of pace. I knew I had to get the ball over one more time.”
No. 4 singles Staci Stevens defeated Kate Boomershine 7-6, 6-4. Boomershine made Stevens work for every point.
No. 5 singles Audrey Banada beat Emily Mowery 6-3, 6-4. Banada, a 5’4″ freshman, was forced to use her entire body to hit with power. Mowery, also a 5’4″ freshman, could not overcome Banada hitting groundstrokes from line to line.
No. 6 singles lasted three sets, as Sihem Bennacer was able to change the momentum of the match to beat Lingda Yang 1-6, 7-5, 6-0. Bennacer struggled in the beginning but eventually found her focus.
In the only loss for Miami, No. 3 singles Melissa Applebaum was defeated by Amy Wei 6-2, 6-3. Applebaum dominated with power but Wei was still able to consistently return the ball.
“I just want the team to win,” Applebaum said. “Unfortunately I didn’t win but I helped out in doubles.”
What appeared to be an exciting match in No.1 singles between No.9 Megan Bradley and No.19 Megan Muth was abruptly stopped after Muth’s back went out. The match was defaulted at 2-1 in Bradley’s favor.
The Hurricanes won all three doubles matches to gain a point. No. 1 doubles Applebaum and Bradley defeated Muth and Yang, 8-1. The ‘Canes’ duo had significantly more power and committed less unforced errors.
No. 2 doubles Sara Robbins and Bennacer defeated Boomershine and Wei in a closely contested match 8-5.
In No. 3 doubles, Banada and Toro defeated Mowery and Sherbakov easily by a score of 8-1.
Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said the players showed a lot of enthusiasm.
“The energy amongst the girls is the best energy I have seen all year,” Yaroshuk said. “When they are feisty they play better.”
The ‘Canes (7-1) will take on No. 68 Virginia Tech on Saturday at 9 a.m. before heading to California to play UCLA and Pepperdine.
“It’s always good to get a win and have that confidence for the upcoming matches,” Toro said.
Whitney Brown can be contacted at email@example.com.