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W. Tennis Knocks off No. 8 Virginia, 4-3

by Alex Schwartz

CORAL GABLES, Fla. The University of Miami women’s tennis team rallied to defeat eighth-ranked Virginia, 4-3, Sunday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

No. 26 Miami (11-6, 8-4 ACC) dropped the doubles point against the Cavaliers, but won four singles matches, including two in decisive third sets, to log its first top-10 victory of the season.

“We needed this,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We’ve been patiently just sticking with the process, staying positive with these girls and really pointing out all the positives. Even through a lot of tight losses, there have been a lot of positives. So, we’ve been trying to grab onto those. It was just nice to see them come out today [and do this], especially the ones that got the wins today.”

The Cavaliers, with their three ranked pairs, took the opening point by claiming both completed doubles matches. First, Rosie Johanson and Emma Navarro, ranked No. 41, topped Miami’s No. 20-ranked pair of second-year freshman Diana Khodan and Maya Tahan, 6-1.

The Virginia (12-4, 8-3 ACC) duo of Vivian Glozman and Amber O’Dell, ranked No. 52, clinched the point by defeating third-year sophomore Daevenia Achong and second-year freshman Florencia Urrutia, 6-3. The Cavaliers won deuce points at 3-3 and 4-3 on their way to victory.

A top-30 matchup between Miami fifth-year senior Estela Perez-Somarriba and freshman Isabella Pfennig, ranked No. 19, and Virginia’s Sofia Munera and Natasha Subhash, ranked No. 29, was left unfinished with the Hurricanes ahead, 5-3.

“I sensed calmness before the match, which kind of bothered me in doubles because I almost felt like we were too calm, but I didn’t see nerves. So, I hit them pretty hard after doubles,” Yaroshuk-Tews shared. “I told them if they go out there and they don’t play with more fire, I felt like we were going to struggle to pull out a ‘W.’ But the good news is that they were calm and I hadn’t seen that in the last few big matches that we’ve played. So, I was happy to see that. I was happy to see the poise and the disciplined tennis in the big moments.”

Miami took the first two singles matches to pull in front, 2-1, behind impressive displays in the bottom third of the lineup.

Tahan cruised past O’Dell, 6-1, 6-1, to level the score and then Khodan, for her ninth consecutive victory, defeated Glozman, 6-2, 6-2

The Cavaliers evened the score at 2-2 behind a 7-5, 6-3 victory from No. 101 Johanson, who rallied from a 0-3 second-set deficit to defeat Achong in straight sets.

No. 35 Subhash snapped No. 17 Pfennig’s seven-match winning streak to put Virginia back in front. She took five straight games in the first set to close it out and then won the second in a tiebreaker to earn a 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) result.

Miami, facing a 3-2 deficit, needed both remaining matches, one on Court 1 and the other on Court 4.

Fourth-ranked Perez-Somarriba provided the tying point by rallying to defeat sixth-ranked Navarro, who entered the match with an unblemished 14-0 record in her young college career. After dropping eight of the first nine games, Perez-Somarriba won 12 of the final 17 to log a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory. With the decision, the Madrid native improved to 14-5 in her career against top-10 foes.

“Stela never wants to lose; she definitely doesn’t want to lose when it’s 4-3. She felt her team,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I think she felt that we were going to pull two in the back [from Maya and Diana]. Daev was even hanging on tough there in the second set. I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I was never worried [about Estela]. I know that’s crazy to say, but I wasn’t worried. … I give a lot of credit to Navarro. What a player, what a class act, what a match.”

All eyes turned to Court 4, where Urrutia finished off a third-set comeback to defeat Hibah Shaikh and give Miami the win. Facing a 1-3 deficit in the final set, she won each of the last five games to post a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory and send the Hurricanes into a jubilant celebration.

“It was nice to see Flor come through in a situation like that,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “You’ve got to play with a mentality that big players play big tennis in the big moments. It’s not about playing well when you’re up 5-0 in a match. This wasn’t easy to do. I’m proud of them.”

With its seven-match homestand in the books, Miami now heads to Tallahassee, Fla., to play sixth-ranked Friday at 4 p.m. in its final ACC match of the season.

To keep up with the University of Miami women’s tennis team on social media, follow @CanesWTennis on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

RESULTS

Doubles Competition
1. No. 19 Estela Perez-Somarriba/Isabella Pfennig (UM) vs. No. 29 Sofia Munera/Natasha Subhash (VA), 5-4, unf.
2. No. 41 Rosie Johanson/Emma Navarro (VA) def. No. 20 Diana Khodan/Maya Tahan (UM), 6-1
3. No. 52 Vivian Glozman/Amber O’Dell (VA) def. Daevenia Achong/Florencia Urrutia (UM), 6-3

Singles Competition
1. No. 4 Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. No. 6 Emma Navarro (VA), 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
2. No. 35 Natasha Subhash (VA) def. No. 17 Isabella Pfennig (UM), 6-3, 7-6 (7-1)
3. No. 101 Rosie Johanson (VA) def. Daevenia Achong (UM), 7-5, 6-3
4. Florencia Urrutia (UM) def. Hibah Shaikh (VA), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
5. Diana Khodan (UM) def. Vivian Glozman (VA), 6-2, 6-2
6. Maya Tahan (UM) def. Amber O’Dell (VA), 6-1, 6-1