Tennis team looking for more

Laura Vallverdu keeps her eye on the ball as she hits a backhand in a match against FAU last season. Photo by Steve Root // Hurricane Staff.

With the hot Miami sun beaming down, everyone has one thought in mind: Get inside!

Meanwhile, while everyone cools off in the air conditioning, the University of Miami men’s and women’s tennis teams are outside at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center, giving their hearts and souls in the blazing Miami heat.

The goal: A national title.

These early rumblings of a national title may seem lofty and premature, but are they really that far-fetched?

The men’s squad is coming off a year where they were ranked for a good portion of the season, finished runner-up at the ACC Championships and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Hurricane women were ranked in the top 25 all season, climbed all the way to No. 7 at one point in the season and advanced to the Sweet 16 at the NCAA tournament.

This valuable experience will come into play for this year’s teams.

Both teams are returning their top players and are excited about the additions of some very talented transfers.

The men boast a roster that includes the No. 1-ranked doubles team – senior Daniel Vallverdu and sophomore Carl Sundberg – in the nation. Vallverdu is also the No. 3-ranked singles player in the nation.

“Daniel is one of the most complete players in college tennis,” head coach Mario Rincon said. “He has the ability to play at the highest level in both singles and doubles. Carl had a great season in doubles last year as a freshman, and he continues to improve his game and develop towards his potential.”

The team also welcomes junior transfer David Simon, who is ranked No. 99, and freshman Ignacio Taboada.

“David, as well as Ignacio Taboada, is a great addition to our team, and I expect both of them to perform very well,” Rincon said. “We are really looking forward to this year and building upon the success we had last season.”

Leading the way for the women’s team is Daniel’s sister, junior Laura Vallverdu, who is the No. 14-ranked player in the nation. Joining her is an impressive cast of female athletes – sophomore transfer Julia Cohen is ranked No. 25, sophomore Michaela Kissell is ranked No. 49 and sophomore Bianca Eichkorn is ranked No. 109.

The Hurricane women’s squad also features the dangerous doubles tandem of Vallverdu and Kissell, who are ranked No. 15.

Both squads do have a tough road ahead of them, as they will be competing in the All-American Championships and the ITA National Indoor Championships this semester, amongst other tough events.

Despite this though, there are major expectations surrounding both of these squads. Not only do the players and coaches believe in the heights that these teams can reach, but those who pay close attention to Miami Hurricanes tennis are expecting more from this season.

They have plenty of talent. They possess valuable experience. And the players are in place. Now all that is left to be seen is if both of these Hurricane squads will be able to put everything together to make a run into the record books.