Miami women’s tennis squeaks by Georgia Tech 4-3 to open ACC play

Fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong rallies the ball during Miami's double match against Georgia Tech on Friday, February 25, 2022 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
Fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong rallies the ball during Miami's double match against Georgia Tech on Friday, February 25, 2022 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

On Court 2, the pressure was on Miami’s top-ranked player.

Needing one point to clinch the match, and with Georgia Tech leading on Courts 1 and 4, No. 67 Daevenia Achong was the Canes’ best chance to win.

She delivered.

At match point, Achong broke her opponent’s serve by sending a rocket down the line, giving No. 15 Miami its first ACC victory of the season over No. 47 Georgia Tech at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Friday night.

“Just really great for [Achong] to be able to clinch that tonight,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “That last ball down the line was an incredible get, and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have gotten that ball last year … So, she has gotten better, and I think she is believing in herself and playing good tennis.”

Riding a three-game win streak, Georgia Tech (3-4, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) carried its momentum into Coral Gables, taking the doubles point from the Hurricanes (6-1, 1-0 ACC) for the first time this year.

Even though sophomores Audrey Boch-Collins and Isabella Pfennig cruised to a 6-0 victory for Miami, the Yellow Jackets’ top-20 doubles pairs proved to be too much for the Canes to overcome.

No. 16 Kylie Bilchev and Ava Hrastar rolled past Miami’s No. 40 ranked duo of fourth-year junior Achong and fifth-year senior Eden Richardson, 6-3, to level the score.

On Court 3, third-year sophomores Diana Khodan and Maya Tahan, ranked No. 38, fought valiantly. But despite breaking their opponent’s serve three times, No. 18 Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura narrowly beat them, 6-4, to give Georgia Tech the doubles point.

Third-year sophomores Diana Khodan and Maya Tahan celebrate a point during their doubles match against Georgia Tech on Friday, February 25, 2022 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
Third-year sophomores Diana Khodan and Maya Tahan celebrate a point during their doubles match against Georgia Tech on Friday, February 25, 2022 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

Down 1-0, Miami turned it around in singles, with every Cane taking the first set in their respective matches.

Khodan blazed past Marsh, 6-2, 6-0, to tie things up, 1-1.

UM then took the lead, as Tahan comfortably downed Sharabura, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, after a grueling first set.

In a top-100 face-off, No. 85 Pfennig gave the Canes another point by topping No. 73 Bilchev, 6-3, 6-4.

Though up 3-1, if it wasn’t for Achong’s heroic effort to take her match 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, for the final point, the Hurricanes would have lost.

Fifth-year senior Eden Richardson gets ready to serve against Carol Lee of Georgia Tech on Friday, February 25, 2022 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
Fifth-year senior Eden Richardson gets ready to serve against Carol Lee of Georgia Tech on Friday, February 25, 2022 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

After Miami clinched its victory, Georgia Tech won two more points. No. 72 Lee rallied to beat No. 81 Richardson 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, and Boch-Collins blew her lead against Jain, losing 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.

“That’s a good Geogia Tech team. Great job to Georgia Tech,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “Great job to our girls; welcome to the ACC. We lost too many of these [close matches] last year, so it’s nice to pull this out.”

Next up, Miami continues conference play on Sunday at 11 a.m. when they face Clemson at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.