W. Tennis Edged by Top-Ranked North Carolina, 4-3
By Teodor Handarov
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Despite a promising start and a strong finish, the University of Miami women’s tennis team fell short against top-ranked North Carolina, 4-3, Friday evening at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
No. 31 Miami (8-4, 4-1 ACC) claimed the doubles point to take the lead, but North Carolina (15-1, 4-0 ACC) overcame the early deficit and clinched the match before Miami sophomore Estela Perez-Somarriba and senior Sinead Lohan notched top-25 victories at the top of the lineup. The defeat was Miami’s first at home this season and first in Coral Gables since March 19, 2017.
“The difference between winning a match and losing a match in college tennis right now just details, minor details: a step here or there, a move here or there,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I’m happy that we played them tough, but we didn’t play them as tough as we could have.”
Miami’s tandem of freshman Ulyana Shirokova and sophomore Dominika Paterova defeated Marika Akkerman and Makenna Jones, 6-3, to open play.
Perez-Somarriba and freshman Sofia Sewing could not stop the second-ranked duo in the country in Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham, dropping a 3-6 decision.
Shortly thereafter, however, Lohan and junior Ana Madcur added a top-20 doubles victory to their resume and downed No. 16 Sara Daavettila and Alle Sanford, 7-5, to clinch the opening point.
No. 18 Perez-Somarriba had a reason to celebrate later in the day, when she knocked off No. 16 Sanford in a top-20 showdown. The match was decided by a 10-point tiebreaker after Sanford won the second set to tie the match.
The tiebreaker reached the win-by-two stage, but at the end of it all it was the Madrid native who came off the court victorious, 6-4, 2-6, 11-9. Perez-Somarriba improved to 14-0 in the spring and 4-0 against top-25 opponents.
“Sanford stepped up and started crushing the ball in the second set, which I think spooked Estela a little bit, but she was able to get her head screwed on and figure it out,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “Our one and two can obviously play with anyone in the country, which is helpful.”
On the adjacent court, Lohan first topped No. 24 Daavettila in one of the longest first set of the match. She was clinical in set two to end the Hurricanes’ day on a high note with a 7-5, 6-1 triumph.
“Sinead battled and just did what she needed to do, which was to make it physical,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “She did – she started playing some really good tennis towards the middle of the match.”
The Tar Heels’ strong start to singles play came with No. 40 Aney defeating junior Daniella Rolda 6-1, 6-3, to tie the matchup.
After winning only a game in the opening set, Shirokova was on her way to a memorable second-set comeback against No. 112 Chloe Ouellet-Pizer, winning four straight games to go up, 6-5. Ultimately, her opponent won a tiebreaker to close the match at 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), putting the Tar Heels in the lead.
The lead then grew even more when No. 78 Graham handed Sewing a 6-4, 6-3, loss after jumping out to a comfortable second-set lead.
“They kind of dictated the rhythm on three courts early in the match, which we discussed to make sure it didn’t happen,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “For that to happen was a little disappointing, but two of the first three kids are first-timers in that situation and first-timers against this team, so I don’t foresee it happening again.”
Before Perez-Somarriba and Lohan put their stamps on the match, North Carolina’s highest-ranked singles player, No. 12 Jones, sealed the victory for her team with a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Madcur.
The Hurricanes continue their homestand Sunday morning, taking on another ranked opponent, No. 46 NC State, at 11 a.m.
1. No. 2 Jessie Aney/Alexa Graham (NC) def. Estela Perez-Somarriba/Sofia Sewing (UM), 6-3
2. Sinead Lohan/Ana Madcur (UM) def. No. 16 Sara Daavettila/Alle Sanford (NC), 7-5
3. Dominika Paterova/Ulyana Shirokova (UM) def. Marika Akkerman/Makenna Jones (NC), 6-3
1. No. 18 Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. No. 16 Alle Sanford (NC), 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (11-9)
2. No. 108 Sinead Lohan (UM) def. No. 24 Sara Daavettila (NC), 7-5, 6-1
3. No. 12 Makenna Jones (NC) def. Ana Madcur (UM), 6-1, 6-3
4. No. 78 Alexa Graham (NC) def. Sofia Sewing (UM), 6-4, 6-3
5. No. 40 Jessie Aney (NC) def. Daniella Roldan (UM), 6-1, 6-3
6. No. 112 Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (NC) def. Ulyana Shirokova (UM), 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)