The Hurricanes will compete in the Miami Fall Invite this weekend, but the three-day competition means more to the team as a time to get better.
“It’s not focusing on the results, it’s focusing on the process,” Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “There are little things we need to work on. I told the girls that we need to put the results to the side in the fall, if we are going to see improvements in the spring.”
Collegiate tennis operates on a different schedule depending on the semester. In the fall, teams across the country compete in invitational tournaments to improve as programs, and to gain singles and doubles competition rankings. The spring is when universities compete against one another, culminating in the NCAA tournament in May.
The Canes had success on all accounts last season. They made it all the way to the final in the ACC Championship, the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Team Championship and the semifinals in the NCAA Singles Championship. Miami wants to go even further this season.
“Losing in the semifinals of the NCAA last year; I always want to get better,” junior Sinead Lohan said. “I was thinking to myself after that match that maybe if I practiced a bit harder, that maybe I wouldn’t have lost.”
Yaroshuk-Tews has a plan to make sure her team reaches new levels.
“This year we will definitely be putting more emphasis on strength and conditioning,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We need to get better at doubles; we need to learn more about it. We need to have more of a sense of understanding on what to do on the doubles court and not just rely on the singles points as much as we do.”
Getting better as a team usually starts with the returning players.
“I needed to work on my agility, getting faster on the court,” Lohan, who is ranked No. 5 in the country in singles competition, said. “I worked on that a lot over summer. I also played a few tournaments over summer; it was good practice for me.”
Sophomore Ana Madcur, who is ranked No. 117 in singles competition, has her eyes set on improvement across the board as well.
“We did a pretty good job last season and played well in tough moments, but we have plenty of areas to get better,” Madcur said. “I have to be more solid at every single point; I’m also working on my serve.”
Yaroshuk-Tews also talked about the talented group of newcomers in the program, including a few freshmen.
“All the returners are playing really good tennis, sprinkle that in with some very talented freshmen and we can have a special team,” Yaroshuk-Tews said.
The coaching staff has not been easy on the team coming into this season, but the players appreciate that and understand what is necessary to reach new goals.
“Practices have been tough, but very good,” Madcur said.
Yaroshuk-Tews, the program’s all-time winningest coach in 15 years at Miami, knows a thing or two about how to get the best out of her players.
“Building good communication between players and coaches,” Yaroshuk-Tews said after being asked about what the team is looking to accomplish this fall. “Keeping an eye on the new players and making sure their transitions are as smooth as possible.”
The Hurricanes have even added yoga to their practice schedule.
“It’s great,” Madcur said with a smile. “It helps a lot to stretch our bodies and relax. It helps us to concentrate.”
The whole team has goals for this year, and it looks to continue to execute its plan for the rest of the fall and into the spring.
“It’s all about continuing the culture,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “Sometimes when you add new players, things can change. We want to make sure that by the end of the fall semester, we are running on all cylinders.”