The University of Miami women’s tennis team set the tone for the season with straight-set wins against the Quakers. The ‘Canes were forced to make the University of Pennsylvania their opener after the match against Florida Atlantic was postponed due to undesirable weather conditions.
Senior Megan Bradley played up to her position at the No. 1 singles spot by taking on the Quakers’ Julia Koulbitskaya. Bradley finished the match in just two sets, winning 6-1, 6-2.
“Megan was one of the only people who didn’t look rusty on the court. She has had the most experience and it shows when she plays,” Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said.
Bradley also lent a hand in the doubles portion of the match alongside sophomore Audrey Banada, resulting in an 8-2 score over Penn’s Koulbitskaya and Michelle Mitchell. The No. 3 doubles team of Staci Stevens and Patricia Starzyk secured the doubles point after their 8-5 victory.
Junior Melissa Applebaum won the No. 3 singles match-up 6-4, 6-3, improving her overall record to 8-4.
Banada followed suit with a straight-set win at the No. 5 position.
Juliette Mavroleon, a freshman who previously reached a World Junior Ranking of No. 293 before becoming part of the team, defeated Caroline Stanislawski 6-2, 6-4, to end the individual matches.
Stevens, a senior, was forced into a third set after being overtaken 1-6 in the No. 2 singles spot. Stevens eventually outlasted the freshman Quaker winning the match.
Starzyk closed out the overall match with a three-set win 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.
Starzyk is the newest member of the Miami team and sole international player. The Austrian-born player held the title of national champion from 1994 through 2000. Her freshman season began just this semester.
“Staci and Patricia fought hard to the very end and finished strong. It really showed that they had character and endurance,” Yaroshuk-Tews said.
This will be Yaroshuk-Tews’ fourth season as head coach. Her success is a reflection of the methods she uses to build each individual player. With no set expectations for the season in terms of wins and losses, Yaroshuk-Tews maintains that the most important thing the squad needs to work on is mentally preparing for matches and keeping a positive outlook at the toughest points of a match.
“It’s one thing to go into a match thinking you can win, but another to keep that same mindset when you’re down,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “If we work on that as well as their overall skill levels and consistency, we’ll have a winning season.”
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.