Despite a rain delay, the No. 10 Hurricanes women’s tennis team defeated its cross-town rival, No. 31 Florida International University, 6-1, at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center Saturday.
The match started half an hour late due to the courts still being wet from a morning shower, but once they dried up, the Hurricanes took care of business, winning the first six points, giving up only one, as sophomore Laura Vallverdu lost to freshman phenomLiset Brito.
“The girls didn’t play their best,” Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “But it was nice to see them pull through in tough situations.”
Vallverdu, ranked 29th individually coming into the match, lost to Brito 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, but that was all the damage the Golden Panthers were able to do. The Canes won the rest of their singles matches, highlighted by senior Romy Farah’s 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 victory over Egle Petrauskaite.
“I started off a little nervous,” Farah said. “I felt more comfortable as the game went on and played more forward.”
In the No. 3 spot, freshman Michaela Kissel clinched the overall match with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Priscilla Castillo, while at the No. 4 position, freshman Bianca Eichkorn beat Marijana Cutuk 6-1, 6-1.
At the No. 5 position, senior Caren Seenauth battled back from an early deficit against Maria Jose Vallasciana in the second set to eventually win in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. Sophomore Claudia Wasilewski had the first singles win of the day in the No. 6 spot, with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Maria Spencely.
In doubles play, Vallverdu and Farah had their first loss as a tandem, as they fell to Brito and Petrauskaite 8-6. But Miami evened things up as Eichkorn and Seenauth defeated Vallasciani and Spenceley 8-2. And in a thrilling match, Kissell and freshman Jenna Osborne gave the Canes some momentum as they came from behind to beat Castillo and Maria Dolores Pazo 9-8 (8-6).
Miami took on Michigan Sunday afternoon and next weekend they’ll partake in the USTA/ITA National Indoors Tournament.
Coach Yaroshuk-Tews sees room for improvement but is pleased with the win.
“We need to focus on our serves, and every court must have discipline,” she said. “Sometimes we play too big, rather than intelligently at times. But I was really proud of the freshmen today. They were put into spots they haven’t been in before, and they came through.”
Joey Held may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.