Hidden behind Mark Light Field, the Cobb Stadium and UM’s football practice fields, the Neil Schiff Tennis Center is quietly home to a No. 12-ranked team in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
It also houses the No. 8-ranked doubles duo in the country: a No. 39-ranked freshman from Ireland and a veteran coach who has brought her team to the NCAA’s Elite Eight six of the last eight seasons.
This is a team that came off of major victories in the fall of 2014, both for upperclassmen and newcomers. Big-name veterans like Stephanie Wagner, Lina Lileikite and Monique Albuquerque will lead standout freshmen Sinead Lohan, Wendy Zhang and Judith Bohnenkamp into head-to-head play in the coming weeks.
“I truly believe this team has a special dynamic,” Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews told Hurricanesports.com. “I’m having fun watching them grow stronger as a team with each day.”
Yaroshuk-Tews has been coaching the team for 13 years and is the winningest coach in program history.
Wagner, perhaps the most dynamic member of the team, must be headstrong in motivating her teammates and continuing the momentum after wins. Lohan, who won both the singles and doubles brackets at the Bedford Cup last semester, will be put to the test in head-to-head matchups instead of bracket-style play.
One-on-one matchups begin in three weeks. The Hurricanes must pick up wins both within the ACC and out of conference to make a statement in the ACC Championships and potentially continue to the NCAA Championships at the end of the school year.
In the 2013-2014 season, Miami won six of eight non-conference matchups and went 12-for-14 in ACC contests with losses to only Duke and North Carolina. This season, only two matches are out of conference (including the opener against FGCU), so every match will be imperative for the looming tournaments in April.
The Hurricanes’ next match is the weekend of Friday, Feb. 6 to compete in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va.