Miami (Fla.) earns fifth quarterfinal berth in a row with win against Northwestern
URBANA, Ill. -- For the fifth consecutive season, Miami (Fla) will be playing in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals after its 4-3 win against Northwestern on Friday at Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.
With the score tied at three games apiece, Miami junior Melissa Bolivar was competing in a third set match with the Wildcats’ Nida Hamilton. The final set was tied at four before she closed out her opponent by winning the final two games.
“I didn’t feel comfortable throughout the match,” Bolivar said. “I just fought through it. You have to win, even though you’re not playing your best. That’s a quality we have; we fight through it regardless of our level of tennis that day. I think that’s what I did. It was a team effort and we pulled through.”
After claiming the doubles point, Miami (23-5) got quick singles wins from its top two positions to push its lead to 3-0. Stephanie Wagner raced to a 6-1, 6-2 win against Veronica Corning on court No. 1. Kelsey Laurente, ranked 81st, upset No. 57 Kate Turvy 6-1, 6-3 on court No. 2.
However, Northwestern (20-9) got back into the match, claiming three consecutive victories on court Nos. 4, 5 and 3, respectively, setting up the dramatic finish on court No. 6.
“Northwestern is a great team,” head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “[Northwestern] always give us a struggle. They seem to always pick on our weaknesses well. We responded well [Friday] in some positions. We didn’t respond so well in other positions, but it was a great college tennis match.”
In a reversal from their matchup at the ITA National Indoors in February, the Hurricanes dominated Northwestern in doubles on Friday. Miami earned victories from both the Nos. 1 and 3 positions in clinching the early point.
Albuquerque and Riobueno jumped out to a 6-0 lead on the nation’s 14th-ranked doubles team of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton. They went on to win the match 8-1, defeating the highest-ranked opponents they have faced on the season.
At the No. 3 doubles position, the Canes’ tandem of Brittany Dubins and Wagner were equally as impressive as their teammates on court No. 1, as they also cruised to an 8-1 victory. Wagner and Dubins moved to a perfect 6-0 on the season as doubles partners.
The win sends Miami to the quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive season, a feat that no other women’s tennis team has achieved.