Win streak extended to 14, weekend of top-10 matches looms

Sophomore Brittany Dubins crushes a forehand during her match against Fresno State on Wednesday. Dubins’ opponent, Tanya Murtagh, withdrew from the match due to an injury, allowing her to secure the last point of the day for the Canes, who defeated the Bulldogs 5-2. Holly Bensur//Staff Photographer

On one of the biggest sporting days in the city of Miami’s history, the UM women’s tennis team started the day on a positive note.

The Hurricanes reeled off five consecutive singles points to come away with a 5-2 victory over the No. 57 Fresno State Bulldogs (10-6, 3-0 WAC) on Wednesday afternoon. Miami (16-1, 7-0 ACC), ranked No. 7 in the ITA polls, has now won 14 consecutive matches dating back to early February.

For the first time since a match against Georgia Tech in March, Miami dropped the doubles point, dropping the No. 2 and 3 doubles matches to fall into an early 1-0 deficit.

But rather than allow the Bulldogs to gain momentum heading into singles play, the Canes went out and took control of the match.

“I actually think it worked out well that we went down in the doubles point,” coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said after the win. “Being able to breathe and get out of the trenches and get out of an uncomfortable situation is a good feeling to get used to. The way we went down in the doubles point isn’t something I want to get used to, but I think the girls did a good job of responding being down 1-0.”

Sophomore Melissa Bolivar got the streak going for Miami, getting the first singles point to tie the match up at one apiece with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Fresno State’s Laura Pola. Senior Gabriela Mejia gave the Canes a 2-1 lead a few moments later when she dispatched Aishwarya Agrawal in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

After freshman Liat Zimmerman extended the Hurricanes’ lead to 3-1, Lina Lileikite made sure they would be guaranteed the overall win with her 7-5, 6-1 win.

Brittany Dubins secured the final point of the afternoon for Miami after the Bulldogs’ Tanya Murtagh withdrew because of an injury.

At the No. 1 match, senior Anna Bartenstein was defeated in the closest contest of the afternoon. Bartenstein rallied from a 4-3 deficit to take the first set but dropped the final two for a 6-4, 3-6, 7-10 loss.

With just four matches left before heading into the ACC tournament, the Hurricanes prepare to take their last road trip of the regular season this weekend with back-to-back top-10 matchups against Duke and North Carolina. Duke, the No. 3 team in the nation, is undefeated in the conference. UNC, just three spots behind Miami in rankings at No. 8, is also undefeated and comes off a 5-2 victory over Clemson last Sunday.

Still, Yaroshuk-Tews wont let a ranking alter the way her team prepares.

“Duke and UNC is a good weekend,” she said. “I think we have a lot of momentum heading in there. It’s not always easy playing on the road at UNC. But we’re just focusing on doing what we’ve been doing all year, which is trying to play tennis on our terms. Trying to play teams on our terms and understanding that things don’t need to change based on rankings next to teams.”