Canes Advance to Sweet 16, Wagner Sets Wins Record
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami women’s tennis team clinched its 11th straight Sweet 16 trip Saturday with a 4-0 win over No. 37 TCU at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
After a narrow doubles win, seventh-ranked and seventh-seeded Miami (21-5, 12-2 ACC) cruised to a trio of singles victories to finish the season with a perfect 13-0 home record. One of the singles wins came from senior Stephanie Wagner, giving her 134 in her career, good for a new all-time record at Miami.
“I know it’s a big deal, but it’s honestly just an accumulation of just one step in front of the other for many years,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said of heading back to the Sweet 16. “It’s been a fun road and it’s been a really disciplined road, and at times it’s been kind of a really monotonous road, but this is why I work. It’s not about me, it’s about bringing this team together and making the team have each season become their own. The more teams that I can be a part of and coach to get them to experience this, here today, that’s what I enjoy.”
TCU (16-7, 6-3 B12), seeded No. 33-48, struck first in doubles with a 6-3 win by Olaya Garrido-Rivas and Mia King over sophomore Sinead Lohan and freshman Clara Tanielian, 6-3. The No. 12-ranked duo of Wagner and sophomore Wendy Zhang then topped No. 34 Seda Arantekin and Caroline Wegner, 6-2, to even the doubles tally.
Sophomore Silvia Fuentes and freshman Ana Madcur stormed back from a 1-4 deficit to tie the score at 4-4, including staving off three game points down 3-4. After falling behind 4-5, the Miami pair won the final three games to take a 7-5 victory and give the Hurricanes the doubles point and a 1-0 lead.
“We said before the match that we needed to take this team deep, that this team would definitely be able to play with us, but then that there was going to come a point in time where we needed to separate ourselves,” Yaroshuk-Tews said of the comeback at the No. 3 doubles spot. “Whether it was conditions, whether it was level of play, whether it was number of balls, whether it was being able to handle this situation, but we knew as this match went on that we’re going to get better.”
After her strong finish in doubles, Madcur was the first to wrap up her match in singles, tallying a 6-4, 6-1 win over Pereira to double Miami’s lead to 2-0.
Next it was Wagner who finished her match, making history in the process. The second four-time All-ACC honoree at Miami, Wagner topped Norris, 6-4, 6-2, passing Bianca Eichkorn for the program record and etching her name in the Hurricane record book.
“It just feels great to be up there with so many great players who have come through this program, especially with Lau [associate head coach Laura Vallverdu, who ranks third] at my side,” Wagner said. “I’ve never met Bianca, but it’s just cool to have another German up there. This program means a lot to me and it just feels great to leave a mark and to not be forgotten. I love this program so much. It was the best four years of my life and feels just great to finish on this court like that.”
Just minutes later, Tanielian finished off the match for Miami with a 6-1, 6-3 victory against King. Teammates, fans and coaches then made their way to court one to congratulate Wagner and even douse her with a water cooler in celebration.
“For Steffi to accomplish this is just so cool because she’s so good, so polite, so humble, so hard-working, so methodical,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “She’s everything that we represent here at the University of Miami. To have her come in and break this record [playing four years] at the No. 1 position, in our conference, in her last home match—I just think things happen for a reason.”
Three matches were left unfinished, with the Hurricanes holding the lead in one of them, as No. 75 Zhang was up, 7-5, 4-2, on Garrido-Rivas. Meanwhile, eighth-ranked Lohan trailed Arantekin, 1-6, 6-6 (2-3), and Fuentes was down, 3-6, 4-4, to Wegner.
The Hurricanes, who were the first team to seal a Sweet 16 berth, are now 23-1 at home in NCAA Team Championship play, with 22 consecutive wins, 22 shutouts and a total margin of 96-7. This was the 129th shutout for Miami under Yaroshuk-Tews, including the 72nd since 2009.
In addition to again reaching the Sweet 16, this is the third time in the last five years the Hurricanes have finished a season undefeated at home. Miami is 64-3 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center during that stretch.
The Hurricanes will face Michigan, ranked and seeded No. 10, in the NCAA Sweet 16. The match is set for Thursday, May 19, at 1 p.m. ET at the Michael Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.
To learn more about the University of Miami women’s tennis team, follow @CanesWTennis.
1. No. 12 Stephanie Wagner/Wendy Zhang (UM) def. No. 34 Seda Arantekin/Caroline Wegner (TCU), 6-2
2. Olaya Garrido-Rivas/Mia King (TCU) def. Sinead Lohan/Clara Tanielian (UM), 6-3
3. Silvia Fuentes/Ana Madcur (UM) def. Sofiko Kadzhaya/ Marie Norris (TCU), 7-5
1. No. 9 Stephanie Wagner (UM) def. Marie Norris (TCU), 6-4, 6-2
2. Seda Arantekin (TCU) vs. No. 8 Sinead Lohan (UM), 6-1, 6-6 (3-2), unfinished
3. No. 75 Wendy Zhang (UM) vs. Olaya Garrido-Rivas (TCU), 7-5, 4-2, unfinished
4. Caroline Wegner (TCU) vs. Silvia Fuentes (UM), 6-3, 4-4, unfinished
5. Clara Tanielian (UM) def. Mia King (TCU), 6-1, 6-3
6. Ana Madcur (UM) def. Alexis Pereira (TCU), 6-4, 6-1