Women’s tennis wraps historic season, prepares for conference championship

The 2004 season has marked a new high for the women’s tennis team as it heads to the Big East Championships with ambition and the drive to perform.

The Hurricanes’ outstanding finish has led them to a No. 22 ranking. Their last match of the season ended in true Hurricane fashion, shutting out the Golden Panthers from Florida International University in a 7-0 victory. The Hurricanes ended their regular season with that victory and a 15-3 record.

The match versus FIU couldn’t have played out in any other manner. The Hurricanes first dominated all three doubles matches. The match was then clinched after consecutive wins at Nos.1, 3 and 4 singles. Though the Panthers put up quite a fight in the other singles matches, they fell short after losing three tiebreakers, resulting in a Hurricane win. Matches of such caliber would not have occurred if not for the incredible talent of the team. One particular standout from the last match was junior Megan Bradley, who defeated her opponent Paula Zabala 6-3, 6-1. Staci Stevens and Audrey Banada also made an impressive showing after they both defeated their opponents in two sets. Banada has made impressive progress this year, finishing with a 20-4 overall record as a freshman.

The women’s final home match was also just as impressive, resulting in a 7-0-shutout victory over Old Dominion. The match ended on a high note for the Hurricanes, as they finished the 2004 season with a 12-0 record at home. The women let no other team dominate their turf.

The blend of outstanding players and discipline of the team has much to do with the success of the women. Certain players have seen incredible triumph throughout the 2004 season. Bradley jumped in the ITA rankings to No. 2 in the nation. Sophomore Melissa Applebaum also displayed great talent, as she is ranked No.37 in the nation.

With the collaboration of all these elements, the women’s tennis team has truly proved itself, not only as outstanding athletes but also as an incredible group of women. Not just any group of women can begin and end their spring season with a 7-0-shutout victory.

Now as they head to the Big East Championships on April 29 – May 1, all will be put on the line to make a clear and defining statement as the Hurricanes leave the Big East Conference and prepare to join the ACC. For the women the ball is in their court. It is up to them now to make it happen.

Antoinette Cordova can be contacted at a.cordova1@umiami.edu.