WOMEN’S TENNIS: Team tops UCF, loses first game to Baylor

The No. 7 Miami Hurricanes women’s tennis team split a pair of matches over the weekend, defeating the University of Central Florida, 6-1 and losing to No. 10 Baylor University, 4-1. The Hurricanes now have a 6-2 record and have experienced their first home loss of the season.

“We expected a battle against Baylor. Nothing less than a battle,” Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “They were stronger mentally and physically and that was eye-opening for our team. In my opinion they’re a lot better than No. 10 in the country.”

For the Canes, the weekend started off on a positive note. On Saturday afternoon, the No. 7 Canes picked up a convincing 6-1 win over the UCF.

Miami found themselves down early 1-0 after losing the doubles point to the Knights. Freshman Michaela Kissell struggled to find her rhythm in the decisive doubles match and failed to seal the doubles win for Miami. The Canes dropped two-of-three doubles matches.

But the Hurricanes didn’t panic and quickly changed the momentum. Senior Gina Sabatino sparked the turn around with a 6-0, 6-1 win and tied the match at 1-1. Moments later, No. 29 All American Laura Vallverdu finished off her 6-2, 6-0 victory in the top position.

The Canes would not look back and swept the singles matches. Senior Caren Seenauth clinched Miami’s victory, 6-2, 6-3 in the fifth spot.

Yaroshuk-Tews recognized that her team was not executing the game plan early against UCF.

“We were definitely a little rusty,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “It was our first matches outside from being inside for three consecutive days last week. We were rusty but it seemed like towards the end of the singles they started to play a little better.”

The following day Miami took on No. 10 Baylor. The Hurricanes struggled early in the contest, dropping two-of-three doubles matches. The Bears built their lead to 2-0 but the Canes responded with a win in the top position. Vallverdu defeated No. 15 Zuzana Zemenova 6-3, 6-2.

“It is impressive to see how far Lau has come and just how much she improves every time she steps on the court,” Yaroshuk-Tews said.

However, Miami couldn’t get it going at the other positions, dropping the fifth and sixth spots. Five of Baylor’s six single players are national ranked. The third and fourth positions were canceled due to a rain delay. Baylor defeated the Hurricanes, 4-1.

Yaroshuk-Tews is still confident the Hurricanes’ success will continue this season through teamwork and dedication.

“The team gets along great,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “They push each other and we have great senior leadership. We have had good team camaraderie.”

Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at l.ledoux@umiami.edu.