Women’s tennis sweeps Alabama tourney

If this weekend’s Wilson/ITA South Regional Championships is any indication of the woman’s tennis team’s upcoming season, teams throughout the ACC will be circling its dates with Miami.

The tournament, held at the University of Alabama, featured eight of the nation’s top collegiate singles players as well as premier doubles teams from 21 different schools. Miami, No. 15 in the nation, proved it could compete with national powerhouses like the University of Florida and University of Georgia. Not only did it compete, it dominated.

The doubles duo of senior Megan Bradley and sophomore Audrey Banada teamed up to beat FIU’s doubles in the semi-finals and advanced to a Sunday morning final against intrastate rival UF. Bradley and Banada, No. 28 in doubles, defeated UF’s Lolita Frangulyan and Whitney Benik to win the doubles championship.

With the doubles championship in hand, UM looked to make it a sweep and grab the singles championship as well. Top seeded at the tournament and No. 2 nationally, Bradley overwhelmed her opponents en route to a Monday morning finals showdown with the player who ousted Bradley from the tournament last year, Shadisha Robinson of UGA. Robinson defeated Bradley in a three set semi-finals victory at last year’s Wilson/ITA Championships.

This year, however, Bradley was poised for payback. She reversed her fortunes and solidly defeated Robinson 6-3, 6-4 to win the championship.

While Bradley and Banada made headlines during the tournament, Head Coach Paige

Yaroshuk-Tews was very pleased with the performances of all her players. The team is comprised of a valuable mix of veteran players and freshman.

Yaroshuk-Tews pointed out the play and leadership of senior Staci Stevens. Stevens reached the Round of 32 in last weekend’s tournament and has played well throughout the fall season. Stevens, now in her fourth year in the program, will help develop the younger players and solidify the No. 2 spot.

Sophomore transfer Emily Mowery compiled an 18-14 record at the College of William and Mary last year and will need to make an immediate impact for the team. Mowery also advanced to the Round of 32.

UM has the tools it needs to be competitive in their inaugural ACC season. Three of the nation’s top 16 teams are members of the ACC, with Clemson and Duke holding the Nos. 5 and 6 spots respectively. While the team is not exceptionally deep in players, they hope to make up for it with a combination of talent and hard work. Every player on the seven-woman roster will play.

Yaroshuk-Tews said the team has the potential to do great things as long as they stay healthy and play well on a consistent basis.

Halloween is just around the corner, but there are no ghosts on the women’s tennis team. Yaroshuk-Tews said that the Hurricanes fear no one, which is a good thing because, come spring season, teams across the nation will have plenty of reasons to fear UM.

Chris Hamilton can be contacted at c.hamilton@umiami.edu.