Uploaded Ad
MBB CanesTix
MBB CanesTix

Women’s Tennis Won’t Back Down

Courtesy: Hurricanesports.com
          Release: 05/01/2013
Send this article to a friend Print RSS
Article Image

By Walter Villa
via the Miami Herald

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Miami Hurricanes tennis standout Lina Lileikite had four wisdom teeth pulled last month.

Five days later, she was back on the court.

Last weekend, Lileikite was named the MVP of Atlantic Coast Conference postseason tournament in Cary, N.C., embodying the spirit of a program that has been amazingly consistent during the past decade.

“We fight to the end,” said Lileikite, who plays No. 3 singles for the Canes. “We understand that it takes one more ball to put inside the court than our opponent.”

The Canes (20-5) will take that simple approach to their home courts May 10-11 when they host an NCAA regional for the ninth year in a row.

Miami will play North Florida (16-4) a week from Friday at 11 a.m. The other first-round match at UM’s Neil Schiff Center will feature South Carolina (13-11) and Purdue (17-5) at 2 p.m. The winners will play May 11 at 1 p.m. Every round of the 64-team NCAA tournament is single elimination.

The Canes have advanced out of regionals and to the Sweet 16 for seven consecutive years, and they have gone to the elite eight four straight years.

But some things are a bit different this season. The Canes are coming off their first ACC title, and their No. 6 national seeding matches the 2009 team for the highest in program history.

Canes coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, who has directed super talents such as NCAA champ Audra Cohen, former No. 1 national seed Megan Bradley and All-American Bianca Eichkorn, loves her current team.

“I think this is probably the best team I’ve ever coached,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We’ve had some amazing players in the past. But top to bottom, this is the best unit.”

Yaroshuk-Tews is also thrilled that the Canes have no seniors and should be able to grow together and improve during the next couple of years.

One of those young players is Lileikite, a 5-9 sophomore from Latvia. There’s also No. 1 singles player Stephanie Wagner, a freshman from Germany; No. 2 Kelsey Laurente, a freshman from Miramar; No 4 Clementina Riobueno, a freshman from Venezuela; No 5 Monique Albuquerque, a sophomore from Brazil; and No 6 Melissa Bolivar, a junior from Colombia.

Brittany Dubins, a junior from Miami Krop High School, teams with Wagner at No. 3 doubles. The other doubles pairings, based on Miami’s most recent match, are Albuquerque and Riobueno, and Bolivar and Laurente.

“They all have that fighting spirit,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “They are workers.”

The coach said that five days before the ACC finals, she put pressure “full throttle” on Lileikite, an only child and tough-minded 21-year-old who taught herself English online in Latvia and was coached by her father, Saulius.

“I knew Lina could handle it,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “All the stories I heard about her dad coaching her made me sound easy.”

The pressure tactic worked, and now the Canes will look for more.

And, no, Yaroshuk-Tews is not worried that her team will not live up to her lofty praise.

“I’ve been telling them that pressure is a privilege,” the coach said. “If you don’t have pressure, it means you aren’t any good.”
Schedule
 
Friday, January 16
Women's Tennis vs. Miami Spring Invite
Coral Gables, Fla.
All Day
Saturday, January 17
Women's Tennis vs. Miami Spring Invite
Coral Gables, Fla.
All Day
Sunday, January 18
Women's Tennis vs. Miami Spring Invite
Coral Gables, Fla.
All Day
Friday, January 23
Women's Tennis vs. ITA National Indoor Kick-Off Weekend
Coral Gables, Fla.
TBA
Saturday, January 24
Women's Tennis vs. ITA National Indoor Kick-Off Weekend
Coral Gables, Fla.
TBA
Sunday, January 25
Women's Tennis vs. ITA National Indoor Kick-Off Weekend
Coral Gables, Fla.
TBA
Friday, February 06
Women's Tennis at ITA National Team Indoor Championships
Charlottesville, Va.
All Day
Saturday, February 07
Women's Tennis at ITA National Team Indoor Championships
Charlottesville, Va.
All Day
Sunday, February 08
Women's Tennis at ITA National Team Indoor Championships
Charlottesville, Va.
All Day
Monday, February 09
Women's Tennis at ITA National Team Indoor Championships
Charlottesville, Va.
All Day
Friday, February 20
Women's Tennis vs. FGCU
Coral Gables, Fla.
4:00 PM
Friday, February 27
Women's Tennis vs. Wake Forest
Coral Gables, Fla.
4:00 PM
Sunday, March 01
Women's Tennis vs. Clemson
Coral Gables, Fla.
11:00 AM
Friday, March 06
Women's Tennis at Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y.
3:00 PM
Sunday, March 08
Women's Tennis at Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
5:00 PM
advertisement
Travel
 
Shula's 347 Grill
Casual Eatery
More Info
View More Dining Options
Holiday Inn
Coconut Grove/Coral Gables
Book Today
View More Hotel options
Aventura Worldwide
Transportation Service
More Info
Visit Travel Center
Nike
Coca Cola