Canes lose to Gators in fourth straight Elite Eight

Freshman Liat Zimmermann warms up for her singles match against Barry University. The Hurricanes fell to the University of Florida in the Elite Eight. Zach Beeker // Staff Photographer

In the final match of an exciting season, the 11th-ranked University of Miami women’s tennis team was defeated by the No. 2 Florida Gators, 4-0.

The Hurricanes, which had made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Team Championships for the fourth year in a row,  went into the match against the Gators after dispatching the No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels, a conference foe that had defeated Miami just a few weeks prior in Chapel Hill.

Florida proved to be no pushover, however, as the Gators jumped out to a quick point during the doubles matches, winning two out of three before taking the next three singles matches against Miami.

Although not the end they envisioned, ultimately it was another successful season for the team, being capped off with a 7-0 rout of the Virginia Tech Hokies in the home season finale late in the season.

Seniors Anna Bartenstein and Gabriela Mejia exited Schiff stadium with doubles and singles wins to show for the match and two illustrious careers nearing the end.

“It’s a weird feeling. I really like to be part of this, but everything has an end,” Mejia said. “I think Anna and I are doing a good job of enjoying every moment.”

The Canes took an early lead after securing the doubles point with decisive wins from all three doubles pairs.

UM continued to dominate the courts in singles play with quick wins from No. 25 Mateus (6-2, 6-1) over Virginia Tech’s Shannon and No. 61 freshman Lina Lilekite (6-1, 6-2) against the Hokies’ Courtney Rauscher.

Zimmerman and Bolivar each took their matches in straight sets. Zimmerman prevailed 6-1, 6-2 over Carol Kahoun while Bolivar defeated Tea Ivanovic 6-1, 6-4.

Bartenstein closed out her home career as a Hurricane with her win over Martha Blakely while Dubins completed the 7-0 sweep after defeating Katie Blow 6-2, 6-4.

“It was exciting, I was very nervous, I’m sad that it’s kind of over.” Bartenstein said of her final match in Coral Gables.

Bartenstein highlighted the importance of focus on both the individual and team scale.

“Personally, I wanted to keep my focus, play point by point and not think so much about when I miss or don’t play my game. As a team, we have been trying to play on our terms,” she said.

Mateus departed Schiff stadium for the final time with advice for the young team.

“Fight every point because this is what UM tennis does,” she said. “I feel like they have done it pretty well, and we’ll just keep doing it until we leave.”