CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The ninth-ranked University of Miami women’s tennis team will look to build on its strong start to the spring season this weekend at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va.
Hosted by the University of Virginia, the Hurricanes will open play in the three-day tournament against the fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs on Friday, Feb. 7 at noon. All 16 teams participating this weekend are ranked in the Top-17 nationally.
The Hurricanes enter the weekend with an undefeated 3-0 record, with victories over No. 60 LSU and No. 71 Ohio State in Coral Gables at the ITA National Kickoff Weekend. The two wins earned Miami a berth at this weekend’s tournament.
Miami defeated Florida Gulf Coast 6-1 last Friday to earn their third victory of the spring campaign.
Four Hurricanes have begun the spring with four or more wins, paced by 4-0 overall singles records by sophomores Kelsey Laurente and Stephanie Wagner. Junior Monique Albuquerque leads all Canes with five victories and is currently riding a two-match winning streak.
Wagner and Laurente’s performances have them both in the national rankings at No. 32 and No. 64, respectively. The ranked sophomores will be facing their toughest competition of the season in Charlottesville. 54 of the top-118 singles players in the nation will be competing this weekend at the Indoor Championship, including the top five players in the country.
A tournament with so many nationally ranked opponents will help the budding sophomore stars Wagner and Laurente develop.
“The tournament itself just makes you better, it makes you tougher, it makes you stronger, and that’s why you’ve got to be there,” head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “It’s big for the program. I am happy for the girls.”
The competition on the doubles courts will not be any lighter for the Canes. 31 of the top 60 doubles tandems will be playing in Charlottesville this weekend.
Miami has two ranked doubles teams, No. 29 Albuquerque and Clementina (5-0) Riobueno and No. 55 Wagner and Brittany Dubins (3-1). The unranked tandem of Melissa Bolivar and Laurente may be off to the best start of the season with a perfect 5-0 record.
Facing quality opponents early in the season at the Indoor Championship sets the precedent for an extensive run at the NCAA Championship.
“National Indoors is where you need to be,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “If you want to hang around deep at the NCAA, you have to be at National Indoors.”
The University of Miami is one five ACC teams playing in Charlottesville, matching the tournament-high. Joining the Hurricanes from the ACC are No. 3 UNC, No. 10 Duke, No. 13 Clemson and No. 14 Virginia.
This will be Miami’s first time playing indoors this spring, but Yaroshuk-Tews believes it will be beneficial to her team.
“We don’t get a lot of practice indoors,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “But, I love it because we have got to play great tennis against great teams in a tough environment.”