Talented up-and-coming women’s tennis team unfairly overlooked

I am going to shock a lot of people. I am going to write a positive women’s sports column.

There is a women’s team demanding attention, and despite what some would claim, I am a women’s sports advocate. So, if you are a tennis fan or a women’s sports fan, I have something to tell you. The women’s tennis team just might be the best at the University of Miami.

Featuring the nation’s No. 2 player, Megan Bradley, this team is poised to make a national championship run.

Last season, the Hurricanes came very close to winning it all, getting all the way to the Elite Eight before falling to UCLA. This year, the team has a very good chance to be in the Final Four.

While other women’s teams have struggled with the move to the ACC, the women’s tennis team seems to have no trouble adjusting. The ‘Canes are 5-2 on the season, with four of their victories by a 7-0 margin.

The credit should go to Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, who is in her fourth season at UM. Yaroshuk-Tews has turned the Miami tennis program into one of the nation’s best. She recruited Bradley away from UCLA and Bradley has gotten better every season. She finished last season ranked fifth and had a 22-2 singles record.

Coach Yaroshuk-Tews has done a phenomenal job and has made the team one of the nation’s top programs.

Yaroshuk-Tews has also scored other recruits. Staci Stevens finished last season 22-10-she was a key to Miami’s run last season. It was Stevens’ win that clinched Miami’s Sweet 16 victory and moved it into the Elite Eight.

The team is full of younger talent as well.

Melissa Applebaum, a gifted junior who finished last season at No. 24 in singles play in the final ITA Southeast Region Rankings, paired with Bradley in doubles last season and was undefeated in the NCAA Tournament.

Sophomore Audrey Banada opened the season ranked eighth in doubles alongside Bradley in the ITA National Poll. The tandem finished the Fall season ranked second in the South Region. She was 31-2 last year overall.

Those four players plus freshmen Juliette Mayroleon and Patricia Starzyk, make this team is solid from top to bottom. Yaroshuk-Tews has done a phenomenal job with this program and has made the team one of the nation’s top programs. Since she has been at Miami, the men’s tennis team has gone through three different coaches.

While most people will never notice the team, I urge you to go out and watch the Hurricanes play one day. Whether you are a tennis fan or not, this team will be something special to watch. If you don’t go, you will be missing out on what could be a magical season.

Darren Grossman can be contacted at d.grossman@umiami.edu.