Women’s tennis off to 2-0 start in the spring

The University of Miami’s tennis teams finished their opening weekend on a positive note as the No. 37 ranked women’s team (2-0) defeated Barry University, 5-2, and the No. 18 ranked men’s team (1-1) defeated University of South Alabama, 4-3.
The women’s team recorded its first victory of the season against Florida Atlantic University on Friday, with a 5-2 win.
The Lady ‘Canes took the doubles point after a dominating performance by Miami senior Marcy Hora and freshman Staci Stevens, who defeated FAU’s Maria Aguirre-Gomez and Tania Rivera at the No. 1 spot (8-1).
Hurricane sophomores Sara Robbins and Sihem Bennacer easily won their match, as well, defeating FAU’s Stephanie Beaulieu and Jessica Burrow at No. 3 doubles (8-1).
The women took four out of the six singles matches on Friday, including a 6-0, 6-4 victory for Stevens over Rivera at No. 2 singles. Miami newcomer Ewelina Skaza had a comeback victory against Beaulieu at the No. 4 spot (1-6, 6-2, 6-2).
On Saturday, the women’s team defeated Barry University despite losing at No. 1 and No. 2 singles.
Once again, the women’s doubles were highlighted by the sophomore team of Robbins and Bennacer after they shut out Barry’s team of Bojana Miladinovic and Valeria Papandrea (8-0).
The men began their season Thursday night with a disappointing 4-3 loss to No. 48 FAU.
Even though the Miami senior squad of Tomas Smid and Jose Lieberman defeated FAU’s team of Andre Bauzzoni and John Johnson (8-3) in the No. 1 spot, the Hurricanes lost the doubles point after junior Andrew Golub and freshman Andrew McDade fell to FAU’s Doug Devriendt and Cristian Paiz (9-8) in No. 2 doubles.
“The doubles point is critical,” said men’s head coach Jay Berger. “Now we know that we have to work a lot harder in doubles.”
Smid and No. 40 Miami freshman Todd Widom both won their singles matches 6-1, 6-1, in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. Miami senior Joel Berman, however, lost the decisive singles match after shutting out FAU’s F. J. Schofield in the first set in No. 6 singles (6-0, 2-6, 4-6).
At the No. 5 spot, just like Berman, McDade lost his match despite shutting out Paiz in the first set (6-0, 1-6, 3-6).
After the loss, Coach Berger realized that they will need to work harder on other things besides doubles.
“The bottom line is, we played very poorly against FAU,” said Berger. “We’re getting our butts kicked at No. 5 and No. 6, and we have to fix that.”
Despite the tough loss to FAU, the Hurricanes stuck together and defeated No. 17 South Alabama after two three-set victories in singles.
“I like the way our players didn’t get down,” said Berger, referring to the win over South Alabama. “I think the FAU loss brought our team together and it’s given us a little more focus on what we need to do.”
Berger was pleased with the way Widom gutted out his three-set victory at No. 1 singles, after losing his second set with many unforced errors, and coming back to tie the team points at three apiece.
Golub would lead the Hurricanes to victory after his three-set win at No. 4 singles, despite facing lot of pressure.
“The thing I was most impressed with was (Golub),” said Berger. “Even with the match on the line, he wanted to be out there, he wanted to play.”