URBANA, Ill. -For the fifth consecutive season, the University of Miami women’s tennis team will be playing in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals after its 4-3 win over Northwestern Friday night at Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.
With the score tied at three games apiece, Miami junior Melissa Bolivar was competing in a third set match with the Wildcats’ Nida Hamilton. The final set was tied 4-4, before the Barranquilla, Colombia native closed out her opponent by winning the final two games.
No. 11 Northwestern vs. No. 6 Miami
|No. 60 Stephanie Wagner||6||6|
|No. 57 Kate Turvy||1||3|
|No. 81 Kelsey Laurente||6||6|
|Linda Abu Mushrefova||6||6|
|No. 102 Clemtina Riobueno||0||4|
|No. 105 Monique Albuquerque||3||6||1|
|Melissa Bolivar||7 (6)||1||6|
|No. 14 Abu Mushrefova/Hamilton||1|
“I didn’t feel comfortable throughout the match,” said Bolivar. “I just fought through it. You have to win, even though you’re not playing your best. That’s a quality we have; we fight through it regardless of our level of tennis that day. I think that’s what I did. It was a team effort, and we pulled through.”
After claiming the doubles point, Miami (23-5) would get quick singles wins from its top two positions to push its lead to 3-0. Stephanie Wagner, the ITA Southeast Region Rookie of the Year and 60th-ranked player in the nation, raced to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Veronica Corning on Court 1. Kelsey Laurente, ranked 81st, upset No. 57 Kate Turvy, 6-1, 6-3 on Court 2.
However, Northwestern (20-9) would get back into the match and then some, claiming three straight victories on Courts 4, 5 and 3, respectively, setting up the dramatic finish on Court 6.
“Northwestern is a great team,” said the ITA Southeast Region Head Coach of the Year Paige Yaroshuk-Tews. “[Northwestern] always give us a struggle. They seem to always pick on our weaknesses well. We responded well today in some positions. We didn’t respond so well in other positions, but it was a great college tennis match.”
In a reversal from their matchup at the ITA National Indoors in February, the Hurricanes dominated Northwestern in doubles on Friday. Miami earned victories from both the Nos. 1 and 3 positions in clinching the early point.
Albuquerque and Riobueno, jumped out to a 6-0 lead on the nation’s 14th-ranked doubles team of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton. The Hurricane duo would go on to win the match, 8-1, defeating the highest-ranked opponents they have faced on the season.
At the No. 3 doubles position, the Canes’ tandem of Brittany Dubins and Wagner were equally as impressive as their teammates on Court 1, as they also cruised to an 8-1 victory. Wagner and Dubins moved to a perfect 6-0 on the season as doubles partners.
The win sends Miami to the Elite Eight for the fifth straight season, a feat that no other women’s tennis team has achieved. The Canes have an off day on Saturday before facing No. 3 Texas A&M at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday.
1. #60 Stephanie Wagner (MIA) def. Veronica Corning (NU) 6-1, 6-2
2. #81 Kelsey Laurente (MIA) def. #57 Kate Turvy (NU) 6-1, 6-3
3. Belinda Niu (NU) def. #105 Lina Lilekite (MIA) 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
4. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. #102 Clementina Riobueno (MIA) 6-0, 6-4
5. Alicia Barnett (NU) def. Monique Albuquerque (MIA) 6-3, 1-6, 6-1
6. Melissa Bolivar (MIA) def. Nida Hamilton (NU) 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-4
1. Albuquerque/Riobueno (MIA) def. #14 Mushrefova/Hamilton (NU) 8-1
2. Bolivar/Laurente (MIA) vs. Corning/Barnett (NU) 6-3*
3. Wagner/Dubins (MIA) def. Turvy/Niu (NU) 8-1
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,2,4,5,3,6)
* = unfinished