Men travel to Atlanta for ITA Regionals, women host Miami Invite

Senior Diego Soto playing in a match against North Florida in February. File Photo by Nick Gangemi
Senior Diego Soto playing in a match against North Florida in February. File Photo by Nick Gangemi
Senior Diego Soto hits a return during a match last season against North Florida. The Miami men’s team plays ITA Regionals in Atlanta Friday through Tuesday.
File Photo by Nick Gangemi

The men will be in Atlanta for the ITA Regional Championships, and the women will host the Miami Invite here in Coral Gables.

The Miami men’s team is coming off a weekend in Tulsa, Okla., at the ITA All-America Invite. It was the first road trip of the season for the Canes, and coach Mario Rincon was pleased with what he saw.

“They competed very hard, and it was a great experience for them playing in Tulsa,” Rincon said. “They had to deal with playing matches early in the day, late at night, indoors and outdoors.”

Veterans Omar Aly and Wilfredo Gonzalez played in their first appearances of the season, dropping a hard-fought match against Texas-San Antonio in a tiebreaker, 8–7 (9). William Albanese and Diego Soto also fell to LSU 8-3, but despite the losses, the doubles tandems will get an opportunity to bounce back in a competitive field at this weekend’s event hosted by Georgia Tech.

“Every player on our team will get to play our regional tournament in Georgia, and I’m looking forward to seeing their progress,” Rincon said. The match in Atlanta is one of 12 regional competitions being held throughout the country for the ITA Championships.

The Miami women’s squad is looking to continue strong performances from their stint at the ITA Championships, held in California. The team notched two doubles wins. Monique Albuquerque and Clementina Riobueno defeated No. 35 Illinois 8-2, and Kelsey Laurente and Stephanie Wagner topped No. 32 Missouri 8-3.

On the singles end, Wagner continued her momentum gained in Tuesday’s doubles victory, notching a three-set win over Tulane’s Klara Vyskocilova, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

“Stephanie has just been better than her opponents the past two days,” assistant coach Laura Vallverdu said. “She needs to continue working towards reaching her full potential as a complete athlete.”

For the men’s team, this weekend is a chance to face prominent teams from the southeast region, before competing against a more Florida-laden field at a tournament in Ft. Myers.

It will be an opportunity for freshman to gain experience, such as Bernard Tefel, who played in his first collegiate indoor match at the Bedford Cup, while others will return to action after injury concerns. Freshman Jack Murphy had to withdraw in his last match from arm pain.

The Hurricane women have historically played well at their own invitational, which is their final competition before ITA Regionals begin in Athens, Ga.

The Miami Invite kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Admission is free for students.