Junior Melissa Bolivar defeated Clemson’s Ani Miao (6-0, 6-4) for the Hurricanes’ first singles point of the match. (Photo by Kristen Spillane)
There are some things in life you just can’t rush through. With nearly five hours of play, and two hours of doubles competition alone, the University of Miami women’s tennis team proved that success does not come easily nor quickly.
The No. 15 Hurricanes defeated the No. 23 Clemson Tigers 4-3 in Sunday’s ACC matchup at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables.
Coming off a series of difficult matchups and fresh off their first ACC loss of the season to Florida State, the Hurricanes proved themselves a force to be reckoned with on the courts.
UM secured the doubles point with wins from first pair sophomore No. 110 Lina Lileikite and freshman Stephanie Wagner, second pair freshmen No. 91 Clementina Riobueno and Monique Albuquerque, and the tiebreaker win from third pair junior Brittany Dubins and No. 74 freshman Kelsey Laurente.
Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews gave credit to Dubins’ experience and poise on the court as a major factor in the doubles win.
“Kelsey and Britt did an incredible job…we had a little more experience on our side, and that came from Brittany Dubins. She’s been in situations like that time and time again, and I told her ‘you’re not always going to be successful, but you’re always going to respond,’” said Yaroshuk-Tews. “We know that Brittany will always respond, always be coachable, always do what we ask her to do. And we played some smart patterns there at the end, we were able to kind of turn the momentum a little bit.”
In singles play, the Hurricanes collected points from Bolivar’s win over Ani Miao (6-0, 6-4) and Riobueno’s 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Tristen Dewar.
“The energy that I felt from the back courts, from five and six, that’s where we need to be, that’s like Miami-style tennis. Those two girls were running the place back at five and six, we felt them at one through four,” said Yaroshuk-Tews of Bolivar and Riobueno, “I know that they had the energy, I know they had the fight, I know they had the attitude the needed to have today, which is in my opinion is more important than the tennis, but the tennis usually follows when you’re like that.”
It was Wagner’s singles victory on court three that clinched the match for the Hurricanes with her 7-5, 6-4 win over Clemson’s No. 44 Beatrice Gumulya.
“She’s a warrior…she’s so competitive, off the court, on the court, it doesn’t matter, she brings her stubbornness to the court and her fight to the tennis court and she has this like refuse to lose mentality and I love it, I love being on her court,” said Yaroshuk-Tews, “That was a big win, that kid’s number 44 in the country [Clemson’s Gumulya], and Stephie’s been working really hard and she earned that win today on court three, and I’m really proud of her.”
In their first ACC win of the season, the Hurricanes hard-fought victory is the direct result of the right attitude and good old-fashioned hard work.
“We were all really motivated and were practicing really hard the last week and I think it paid off. We started with a great energy in the doubles and then in the singles,” said Wagner.
Next up for the Hurricanes, a road trip to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday.
“This week we worked super hard physically, we worked super hard mentally with them, kind of preparing them for their future. Not just today, but this coming weekend and the following weekend,” said Yaroshuk-Tews, “We want them to enjoy today, but we also want them to have a short memory. I say the same thing when we win as when we lose. It’s a short memory. They earned it today, and they’ve got to enjoy it tonight, and wake up tomorrow morning to get ready to earn it again.”
words and photo_kristen spillane.