In the hopes of winning the program’s first women’s tennis national title, sixth-ranked Miami must defeat defending champion and No. 10 UCLA in the Round of 16 tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.
“Whenever you play a west coast team you’re expecting to play a great tennis program,” head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “They’re solid from top to bottom. We’re expecting a great match from them.”
The Hurricanes (25-4) were a perfect 8-0 in the Coral Gables, Fla. NCAA Regional this past weekend with wins against Army and Florida International.
“We’re coming from playing two top 30 teams and we’re going to play No. 10 in the nation,” junior Laura Vallverdu said. “There’s going to be a big difference just in the level of the match, but not on the level we’re playing. We’re not getting too excited or nervous because we’re just taking it as another match.”
Yaroshuk-Tews and the Canes have won 14 of their past 15 matches, with the lone loss against No. 2 Duke in the ACC Championship Final.
“I think we just need to keep our focus on the same thing,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We need to outcompete everybody that we play. We’re a talented group of young ladies. If we compete hard we’re going to go really far.”
As a Pac-10 team, UCLA (19-6) isn’t a familar foe to UM. The last time the two teams met was in 2005 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The result was a 5-3 victory for the Hurricanes, who are 3-7 in the all-time series.
Vallverdu said that she knows the Bruins’ top two singles players – No. 15 Yasmin Schnack and No. 57 Andrea Remynse – the latter of whom she will face in the second position.
“I know Remynse. She’s a big fighter,” Vallverdu said. “She just plays the whole match and isn’t going to give you anything. She’s not going to overpower me.”
On the season, Miami is 3-4 when facing top-10 teams. If the Canes win, they will face the winner of the Arkansas/Duke match at noon on Sunday.
“That’s one thing we talk to the girls about a lot in team meetings. We’ve been through many battles this year and it’s just going to be another battle in front of us and it’s not going to be something new,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I think they’ve only helped us become a tougher team.”
PROJECTED NCAA LINEUP
1. #3 Julia Cohen (29-5)
2. #24 Laura Vallverdu (26-7)
3. #31 Bianca Eichkorn (37-7)
4. #49 Michaela Kissell (35-7)
5. Claudia Wasilewski (24-10)
6. Gabriela Mejia (21-13)
1. #19 Kissell/Vallverdu (17-6)
2. #52 Cohen/Eichkorn (13-2)
3. Mejia/Wasilewski (6-9)
1. #15 Yasmin Schnack (26-9)
2. #57 Andrea Remynse (20-15)
3. #114 Maya Johansson (18-18)
4. Nina Pantic (20-11)
5. Ashley Joelson (16-14)
6. Carling Seguso (26-11)
1. #3 Remynse/Schnack (21-6)
2. #66 Seguso/Stephanie Wetmore (14-6)
3. Joelson/Pantic (5-5)