Canes beat Rattlers with strong singles

Gabriel Flores, sophomore, plays a game of doubles. Zach Beeker//The Miami Hurricane

The University of Miami men’s tennis team finished its first homestand of the spring season with a last-minute, 4-3 victory over Florida A&M.

Strong singles play from freshman Wilfredo Gonzalez and sophomore Diego Soto secured the UM victory in the final matches.

“I’m very proud of the guys, getting through such a hard-fought match,” head coach Mario Rincon said. “They showed a lot of poise at the end of that victory.”

The Hurricanes earned their first point with a decisive 8-1 doubles win from the sophomore tandem of Gabriel Flores and Diego Soto.  The Rattlers answered with two tough doubles wins to take the 2-1 lead entering singles play.

Quick two-set wins from senior Santiago Nieto (6-1, 6-1) and junior Victor Mauz (6-3, 6-2) fueled Miami’s intensity and confidence.

“In a hard game like this one, it’s important to win quick to get your teammates pumped up,” Mauz said. “We needed these quick matches in singles after we lost those doubles.”

FAMU’s Temuera Asafu-Adjaye was too much for Miami junior Marco Stancati, and he earned the 3-2 lead for the Rattlers in two sets, 6-4. 6-2.

Any chance for a Hurricane win hinged on the second and third singles matches featuring Gonzalez and Soto.  Gonzalez maintained composure throughout an important match against FAMU’s Takura Happy and prevailed in two sets, 6-2, 7-5, to tie the score at 3-3.

Sophomore Diego Soto clinched the victory for the Canes with a come-from-behind first set.  Trailing in his first set, Soto rallied for the 7-5 win over Levan Clark and carried his momentum through to his 6-2 set and match win.

“In the beginning it was tough, I was decentralized,” Soto said. “But I knew the team needed my match, that was a huge motivation for me. You feel so much pressure, the work of everybody, from players to coaches to trainers, and in that moment, it’s all on you. You have to think not about the wins, but just to do your best.”

The Canes now turn their attention to the future.  Up next for the UM men is the ITA Kick-Off Weekend tournament in Gainesville, Fla., Jan. 28-29.

“We will face Wake Forest next, a good squad.  We have to play our best,” Rincon said. “We’ve learned a lot so far and will continue to improve with a lot of work, especially in doubles.”