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Canes Reach Elite 8 for 5th Straight Season

Canes Reach Elite 8 for 5th Straight Season

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
20-9 23-5
  #1 Singles 1 2 3
  Veronica Corning 1 2  
  No. 60 Stephanie Wagner 6 6  
  #2 Singles 1 2 3
  No. 57 Kate Turvy 1  
  No. 81 Kelsey Laurente 6    6  
  #3 Singles 1 2 3
  Belinda Niu 6 7
  Lina Lileikite 6 5
  #4 Singles 1 2 3
  Linda Abu Mushrefova 6  
  No. 102 Clemtina Riobueno  0 4  
  #5 Singles 1 2 3
  Alicia Barnett 6 1 6
  No. 105 Monique Albuquerque 3 6 1
  #6 Singles 1 2 3
  Nida Hamilton 6 4
  Melissa Bolivar 7 (6)  1 6
  #1 Doubles 1 2  
  No. 14 Abu Mushrefova/Hamilton 1    
  Albuquerque/Riobueno 8    
  #2 Doubles 1 2  
  Corning/Barnett 3 unf  
  Bolivar/Laurente 6 unf  
  #3 Doubles 1 2  
  Wagner/Dubins 8    

“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