Bittersweet revenge and individual awards highlighted the Miami women’s tennis Big East title on Sunday.
The Hurricanes won the Big East championship in a 4-1 upset over Notre Dame, who beat UM 4-3 in South Bend two weeks ago.
The ‘Canes dropped the doubles point, which is not unusual for this team, as they have struggled in doubles all season. However, Miami rallied back to take four straight singles points, which won them the Big East Championship.
“It is always good to win,” said Mari Toro. “It feels great, we have worked so hard for this, and we are happy that we were able to do it.”
“I was a little upset after the doubles loss,” said head coach Paige Yaroshuk. “I thought our girls played amazing doubles and we just came up a little short.
“It’s not easy coming out being down 1-0 in the Big East, but it is something we have done all year. We weren’t shocked. There could not be a more-deserving team than these women, who worked very hard throughout the season, and battled through a lot of close 4-3 losses.
“We worked really hard. We practiced so much, and we just wanted it more than they did. We just outplayed them today. We were pumped up,” said Toro.
The women started out on the right track in the tournament on Saturday by beating Virginia Tech 4-0 in the second round. The ‘Canes dominated the Hokies, and set the tone for the rest of the weekend. The win gave them the momentum to come out on Sunday and take it to Notre Dame.
“I have been telling people all year I have the best girls in the country, and it is nice to see them come out today and just shine,” said Yaroshuk after her first Big-East Championship.
The ‘Canes won the championship the way they wanted to win it. They beat Notre Dame, the best team in the conference.
“Big East champs, it’s nice, especially when you have a team like Notre Dame in your conference. It’s a great feeling, we have definitely accomplished something,” said Yaroshuk.
There were also some individual awards that the ‘Canes took home. Mari Toro won the MVP of the tournament and Yaroshuk won the award for the Big East Coach of the Year.
“Coach of the Year is nice, but to be honest, I didn’t know I was going to get it. It’s nicer to win Coach of the Year over a guy like Jay Louderback (ND) because he is a class act and he has been around a while and he is a great coach,” said Yaroshuk.
As far as Toro being named MVP, Toro herself wasn’t sure that she deserved it over teammate Marcy Hora.
“Mari Toro deserves it. This girl works harder than anyone I have ever seen. She was out here at 6:45 AM hitting balls because her backhand didn’t feel right. If anyone deserves player of the year, Toro does,” said Yaroshuk.
The ‘Canes season is not yet finished. They will go on to play in the NCAA Regional Tournament that starts in a few weeks. With the win in the Big East championship, the ‘Canes have secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as the Big East champion.
“Our goal this year was to get to the Final 16 and that is still what we are shooting for,” said Yaroshuk.