That’s the number of consecutive Sweet 16 appearances the sixth-ranked University of Miami women’s tennis team has advanced to in the NCAA Championships.
The Hurricanes (22-5) secured their latest trip with a 4-0 win over 30th-ranked Purdue (18-6) in the tournament’s second round on Friday from the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
“Purdue is a tough team,” said Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews. They played long points… I have a lot of respect for those girls… They are a very solid team all the way through. It was a great match to prepare us to go to the next round.”
It was another interesting day for the Canes, as they had to complete their delayed match against UNF. Rain halted Friday’s match and it was scheduled to resume Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Sophomore Lina Lilekite needed only two points to complete the sweep of the Ospreys. Then it was on to the Boilermakers for a 1 p.m. start.
As has been the case nearly all season, UM took care of business in earning the doubles point.
Stephanie Wagner and Brittany Dubins cruised to an 8-3 win on Court 3 to set the tone for doubles, extending the duo’s perfect streak to four matches. The point-clinching win came from Albuquerque and Riobueno at the No. 1 position.
After trailing the nation’s 27th-ranked tandem of Kapitany and Schmidt three games to two, Miami’s pair won six of the next eight to give the Canes the crucial early point. Kapitany and Schmidt are the highest ranked team Albuquerque and Riobueno have defeated this season.
Not long after singles began, the first of two lightning delays called for play to be halted. However, after the second delay, the Canes were able to close out three consecutive singles matches to seal the victory.
Out of the No. 5 position, Albuquerque was able to cruise to her third straight postseason win, 6-3, 6-0 over Kapitany,. Soon after, Miami’s most veteran player, Melissa Bolivar was able to close out Purdue’s Gisella Pere, 6-2, 6-1 on Court 6. The win was the 18th of the season for the junior.
However, no Hurricane player has won as much as Riobueno. The 102nd-ranked freshman clinched the victory for UM with her team-leading 24th victory, this time over the Boilermakers’ Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum, 7-5, 6-2.
When asked if there was a player that has really stepped up for the Canes, Yaroshuk-Tews replied, “Right now, I think it’s a complete team. Lina really put her foot on the gas at ACCs an now she has kept [it there]. But I think it’s a complete team, that’s the coolest thing about it. We really have an opportunity to win on every court against every team we play. I’ve never coached a team that is as deep as this group.”
Miami will move on to Urbana, Ill., the host of this season’s NCAA National Tennis Championships, to face 11th-ranked Northwestern in the Sweet 16 on Friday. The two teams met earlier this season at the ITA National Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va. in February. Northwestern won the match, 4-2.
For more information on the NCAA National Tennis Championships, click here.