The No. 11 Miami Hurricanes (1-0) made quick work of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), 6-1, to earn their first win of the season.
It was a breezy afternoon at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables, Florida, but the wind did little to stop a dominant performance from the ‘Canes. After playing an intense Miami Spring Invite against three ranked teams, FAU (2-2), was a welcomed change for the ladies.
The Hurricanes got off to a strong start in doubles as fifth-year senior Daevenia Achong and fourth-year junior Maya Tahan flew to a 6-3 win on Court 1. Moments later, redshirt sophomore Alexa Noel and junior Isabella Pfennig clinched the doubles point, 6-3, on Court 2 to give the ‘Canes a 1-0 lead in the match. On Court 3, junior Audrey Boch-Collins and freshman Mia Mack were taking care of business, 4-3, when the match was called off.
Miami didn’t slow down as singles play commenced. UM took five of the six opening sets, with No. 60 Achong and Boch-Collins not dropping a game. Achong finished her match first, winning 12 of the 13 games played and doubling the Hurricanes’ lead to 2-0.
On Court 5, Mack collected the third point of the day as she sailed to a 6-3, 6-0 win. Miami clinched the match minutes later as Boch-Collins dashed to a 6-0, 6-1 win on Court 4.
Despite UM clinching the match, 4-0, the two teams continued play on the remaining courts. On Court 1, controversy began to brew in the second set when Miami’s Alexa Noel called her opponent’s forehand long. This led to a fiery outburst from FAU head coach Ricardo Gonzalez.
Despite the chair umpire reaffirming Noel’s call, Gonzalez loudly protested, saying it was the second time Noel had called a ball out that was “clearly inside the line.”
Tensions remained high from then on, but Noel remained calm as she took multiple breaks throughout the set. She was the fourth player to finish, as she won 6-4, 6-2 to give UM a commanding 5-0 lead. Pfennig capped off her match in style as she also won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, on Court 3.
With only one match remaining, all eyes turned to Court 6, where FAU’s Millie-Mae Matthews was the only Owl to win her opening set, 6-7. Tahan quickly rebounded, surging to a 6-1 second set to force a decisive third-set tiebreak.
In the tiebreak, it looked to be an inevitable sweep for the ‘Canes as Tahan climbed to a 9-3 lead. Needing only one more point to win the match, FAU’s Matthews did the impossible and saved six consecutive match points. At 9-9, Matthews won another two hard-fought points to claim the Owls’ lone win of the day.
The ‘Canes now turn their sights towards another familiar opponent, Florida International, during ITA Kickoff-Off weekend. The match begins on Saturday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Miami will then play either UCLA or Iowa State.