@CanesWTennis Falls, 4-1, at Top-Seeded Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The programs with the second- and third-longest active Sweet 16 streaks in the nation squared off Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Team Championship at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.
The University of Miami women’s tennis team had its 11-year streak come to an end, dropping a 4-1 decision at top-ranked and top-seeded Florida, as the Gators upped their number to 13 in a row.
No. 28 Miami (13-12, 8-6 ACC), seeded No. 17-32, was unable to repeat history nearly 13 years to the day after taking down the top-seeded Gators on their home court in the second round, en route to the 2004 Elite Eight.
“I think Florida played a great match today,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “They were very explosive from the beginning of the match—from doubles, moving forward. I am proud of the way our girls competed, but today, they were the better team.”
No. 11 Anna Danilina and Ingrid Neel registered a 6-0 victory against junior Sinead Lohan and freshman Dominika to give Florida (25-3, 11-2 SEC) the early edge in doubles play.
A 6-2 win by No. 45 Josie Kuhlman and Belinda Woolcock against redshirt senior Maci Epstein and junior Silvia Fuentes gave the Gators the doubles point.
When play was stopped, sophomore Ana Madcur and freshman Estela Perez-Somarriba trailed, 4-5, versus No. 20 Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan, the reigning NCAA Doubles Championship victors.
In singles competition, No. 31 Neel got on the board first for the Gators, earning a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Paterova.
Austin put Florida within one point of victory by registering a 6-2, 6-2 win in her contest against Madcur.
No. 40 Perez-Somarriba picked up a point for the Hurricanes with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 triumph over No. 23 Kuhlman. The Madrid native won nine of the final 11 games, including seven in a row to open that stretch, increasing her winning streak to 11 straight.
Perez-Somarriba is now 23-3 on the spring, including 8-1 versus ranked opponents, with a 3-0 mark against top-25 players. She posted a 20-3 mark in dual matches during her first collegiate campaign.
“Estela did exactly what the Florida kids were doing to us on the other courts, which was making Kuhlman feel like there were no spaces,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “She was up on the baseline, she was dictating play, she was using her angles well and she was changing direction well. I don’t think Kuhlman ever got her feet in the match. She never looked comfortable out on the court. Estela had her running and was playing on her terms from beginning to end.”
No. 44 Danilina clinched the win for the Gators by defeating Fuentes, 6-0, 6-3. With the victory, the top overall seed has reached the Sweet 16 in every year of the 64-team era with the exception of the Hurricanes’ upset of Florida in 2004.
Two matches had yet to be completed when play was halted. In a back-and-forth affair, No. 21 Lohan trailed sixth-ranked Woolcock, 5-7, in a top-25 showdown.
Additionally, Epstein was facing a 3-6, 3-5 deficit against No. 59 Keegan in the final match of her career, which ends with 93 doubles wins and 89 singles victories between her time at Miami and Virginia.
Despite multiple key injuries, Miami’s 2017 season included a 22nd straight NCAA appearance, a 17th consecutive winning season, a 16th NCAA Round of 64 victory in a row and a 13th straight top-four ACC finish, among other notable accomplishments.
For the Hurricanes, who went 9-3 over their final 12 matches, four of their defeats this season came against the top three seeds in the NCAA Team Championship and all but three were to teams ranked in the top 30.
“I am really proud of what these girls learned this season. I really believe that they took the positives they could from this season,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “There were times throughout this year where it seemed like we could only see the negative, but they were able to change their mindsets . . . The tennis, yeah, we did well late in the season, but I am most proud of the fact that, emotionally, they stuck together as a team and they figured it out.”
Lohan and Perez-Somarriba will continue their 2017 campaign May 24 in Athens, Ga., as they will compete in the NCAA Singles Championship. It is the 16th consecutive season—each one of Yaroshuk-Tews’ tenure—Miami has had at least one participant, including the third in a row with two.
1. No. 11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (UF) def. Sinead Lohan/Dominika Paterova (UM), 6-0
2. No. 20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (UF) vs. Ana Madcur/Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM), 4-5, unfinished
3. No. 45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (UF) def. Maci Epstein/Silvia Fuentes (UM), 6-2
1. No. 6 Belinda Woolcock (UF) vs. No. 21 Sinead Lohan (UM), 7-5, unfinished
2. No. 40 Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. No. 23 Josie Kuhlman (UF), 6-2, 6-2
3. No. 31 Ingrid Neel (UF) def. Dominika Paterova (UM), 6-2, 6-1
4. No. 44 Anna Danilina (UF) def. Silvia Fuentes (UM), 6-0, 6-3
5. Brooke Austin (UF) def. Ana Madcur (UM), 6-2, 6-2
6. No. 59 Kourtney Keegan (UF) vs. Maci Epstein (UM), 6-3, 5-3, unfinished