Miami women’s tennis hosts first regional in four years, sweeping Stetson to advance to second round of NCAAs

Third-year sophomore Maya Tahan attempts a forehand against Stetson on May 6. at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables
Third-year sophomore Maya Tahan attempts a forehand against Stetson on May 6. at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

For the first time since 2018, ninth-seeded Miami hosted a regional during the NCAA Team Championship on a hot and humid Friday afternoon at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

In front of perhaps the largest crowd all year, the Hurricanes swept No. 61 Stetson, 4-0, and advanced to the Round of 32 for the 20th straight time, a streak that began during head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews’s first season. With the victory, Miami moved to 26-1 on its home court during NCAA Team Championship play, sweeping first-round opponents all 14 times it has hosted.

“We came out and played great doubles,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I did not love our start in singles, across the board … but we figured it out, we stayed calm and got the win.”

Miami (18-5) quickly took the doubles point thanks to a pair of identical 6-1 victories.

First, fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong and fifth-year senior Eden Richardson, ranked No. 13 nationally, defeated Alanna DiFrancesco and Elodie Foster in just 25 minutes.

Sophomores Audrey Boch-Collins and Isabella Pfennig then clinched the point, trouncing Noa Cohen and Anais Gabriel.

The match on Court 2 was left unfinished, with Cheri Darley and Nadejda Maslova leading freshman Tatyana Nikolenko and third-year sophomore Maya Tahan, together No. 76, 4-3.

The Canes initially struggled in singles – with early deficits on four courts – before eventually finding their rhythm. However, Stetson (22-3) still managed to take two opening sets.

No. 33 Achong rallied from a 4-1 deficit against Gabriel, taking 11 of the last 12 games. She notched Miami’s second point with a 6-4, 6-1 victory. Moments later, Nikolenko registered a 6-2, 6-2 win over Foster to put the Canes up 3-0.

On Court 5, Boch-Collins let out a cry of jubilation as she clinched the match, taking down Cohen 6-1, 6-2.

“I was trying to stay consistent, make balls on the court, make other girls frustrated,” Boch-Collins said.

The three remaining matches were suspended. Tahan led DiFrancesco, 7-6 (7-2), 4-1 on Court 4, and No. 37 Richardson trailed Maslova, 6-7 (6-8), 3-0. After a rough first set, No. 92 Pfennig was level with Darley 1-6, 6-1, 2-2.

The loss snapped Stetson’s nine-game winning streak and gave Miami its 56th win in the NCAA Team Championship all-time, the 10th-most of any Division I program in the country.

“This is a really solid [Stetson] team,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I give this team a lot of credit for the season they’ve had, and the type of tennis they played today. They played aggressive.”

After downing No. 41 Alabama, 4-0, on Friday, No. 21 UCF will face the Canes at 1 p.m. in the Round of 32 tomorrow at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. The teams last met on Feb. 20, where Miami posted a 5-0 victory over the Knights.