Hurricane Headliners: Audrey Boch-Collins

Hurricane Headliners: Audrey Boch-Collins

Christy Cabrera Chirinos by Christy Cabrera Chirinos

In Hurricane Headliners, Christy Cabrera Chirinos spotlights some of Miami’s top-performing student-athletes as they look to continue excelling in and out of competition.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Audrey Boch-Collins typically doesn’t like to look at the scoreboard.

When the senior is on the court, she wants to focus on her match, and her match only – not what may be happening on some of the courts around her.

It’s a tactic that lets her stay in the moment, forces her keep her attention where it should be.

But last Sunday’s NCAA Tournament match against Florida felt different in a multitude of ways and so, at one point, Boch-Collins looked up, saw the score, and had a startling realization.

Miami’s tournament fate, she realized, would ultimately be decided on Court Four – her court.

After dropping the doubles point to start the match, the 22nd-ranked Hurricanes had rallied in singles play, with Xinyi Nong, Alexa Noel, and Maria Paula Vargas all picking up wins to tie the Round of 32 match at 3-3.

That was when Boch-Collins – already ahead in her third-set matchup against Florida’s Alicia Dudeny – took a deep breath and realized it was up to her to close out the win for Miami.

“Throughout the match, I never panicked. The moment you panic is the moment you’re in trouble, so I just stayed calm and kept to myself,” Boch-Collins said. “I only looked at [head women’s tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews and associate head coach Alex Santos ] when they told me something. Other than that, I kept my head down throughout the rest of the match…

“When Maria won and it was 3-all, I was like, ‘You’ve got this. You’ve got this’ and then I lost the next game. I told myself after that, ‘This is not the time to get nervous. … You’re pulling this game out one way or another’ and that was that. … It was a big sigh of relief when I won. I couldn’t believe we’d pulled it off. It was such a nail-biter. It was a good feeling. It was intense. It was fun. It was every emotion you can think of when it comes to sports.”

Boch-Collins and the Hurricanes will attempt to recapture that feeling and keep their season going when they travel to Michigan to face the third-ranked Wolverines on Saturday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

It’ll mark Miami’s 25th appearance in the Sweet 16 and Boch-Collins is more than ready to do her part to help the Hurricanes keep their season – and her college career – going a bit longer.

Over the course of the last few weeks, Boch-Collins has come to terms with the reality that her time at Miami will be drawing to a close soon. She’s earned her degree in criminology. She knows any time she steps on the court now could be her last time in orange and green.

All of that has led her to reflect on her Miami experience, one that she says has helped her grow over the last three years, both as a tennis player and a person.

“It’s been a good experience. There have been ups and downs, not just in sports, but that’s life. For the most part, I’ve really loved it. I’m going to miss college. I know in a few short weeks, I’ll be done,” Boch-Collins said. “But it’s been a good academic and athletic career. … Learning under Paige and Alex, Paige has made me a lot tougher than when I first got to college. … If you want to get where you want to get, you’ve got to work and if you’re screwing up or not doing the right things, she’s going to tell you. Sometimes, I didn’t want to hear it, but at the end of the day, I did need to hear it. I think they helped me learn to be more open-minded, to listen, to absorb things like a sponge and I’ve definitely become tougher, on and off the court.”

Having the opportunity to grow as a player and line up against some of the top competition in the ACC are two of the big reasons Boch-Collins made the decision to transfer from Baylor to Miami early in her college career.

After finishing 17-3 in singles play at Baylor as a freshman, she came to Miami where she posted a 29-10 record and notched her first singles win over a ranked opponent during her first season with the Hurricanes.

This year, she has been a reliable, steady force for the Hurricanes who has used her toughness and grit to help Miami climb up the ITA rankings. And last week at Florida, she responded when Yaroshuk-Tews adjusted Miami’s lineup and moved her from Court Five to Court Four ahead of the matchup with the Gators.

“She’s been on fire her last year and just has seemed to take everything and learn from everything,” Yaroshuk-Tews said of Boch-Collins. “She’s been a great leader for the girls. Very outspoken, lots of fun. She’s just an accumulation of what this program’s about. She works so hard in matches and throughout the year, she’s seen different opponents, and you can see some kids just quit [against her] because they’re like, ‘We can’t do this. This is just too hard.’ And you see some kids try to beat her in all these different ways and this year, she’s had an answer for everything. It’s been pretty cool to see.”

"If we play how we’ve been playing, I think we can win any match.”

Miami's Audrey Boch-Collins

With that memorable win over Florida now behind her, Boch-Collins is setting her sights on what she hopes will be another memorable weekend, this time in Ann Arbor.

“I think for all of us, this year hasn’t been the smoothest of seasons, by any means. I feel like we were kind of having an uphill battle trying to climb the rankings and we couldn’t quite get where we wanted to. But all of the hard work that we’ve put in over the last year finally paid off [at Florida],” Boch-Collins said. “Obviously, now it’s Michigan. I don’t think any of my teammates have been to Ann Arbor, so it’s a new place, a new venue. I think we have to have the same mindset going into [last] weekend: keep doing what we’re doing. We’re playing good tennis and if we play how we’ve been playing, I think we can win any match.”

A Memorable Finish

The Hurricanes golf team, which earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament, finished its season Wednesday at the Auburn Regional.

In her final tournament as a Hurricane, senior Sara Byrne notched the eighth top-10 finish of her collegiate career after she posted a one-over-par score of 217 to place seventh among the 69 golfers who competed in Auburn.

Byrne, an All-ACC selection who was recently named to the Arnold Palmer Cup, a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring the nation’s top collegiate golfers, shot par-or-better in two of the three rounds at the regional, including a 71 on day two of the tournament.

Bringing Home Medals

The ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships began Thursday in Atlanta and already, the Hurricanes are making their presence felt.

Thrower Deisiane Teixeira won the gold medal in the women’s javelin competition with her mark of 55.74m, which improves her own outdoor school record. It also ranked seventh in the NCAA as of Thursday evening. Teammate Erikka Hill earned a bronze medal in the javelin with her personal-best mark of 48.33m.

And early Friday, the Hurricanes swept the javelin competition at the championships, with thrower Devoux Deysel bringing home the gold medal on the men’s side with his throw of 70.49m.

It marked the first time since 2003 a school has swept the javelin at the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The championships will continue through Saturday.