For University of Miami women’s tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, her team’s Sweet-16 match in the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships on Thursday night in Athens, Ga. will feel a bit unusual.
The No. 12 seed Hurricanes (21-5), who blanked Boston University and No. 18 Oklahoma at UM last weekend in the NCAA regionals, will face Yaroshuk-Tews’ alma mater, No. 5 seed UCLA (23-2), coached by her close friend Stella Sampras Webster.
Webster, who was an NCAA doubles champion as a freshman in 1988, was an assistant coach at UCLA when Yaroshuk-Tews, 40, played there. Webster is the older sister of former World No. 1 and 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras.
“They’re nice, classy people,” Tews said of Webster and her husband Steve, who is a vocal UM fan when the Bruins aren’t playing the Hurricanes. “It’s unfortunate we have to play each other, but it’s business.”
The match is scheduled for 7 p.m., but if the tournament proceeds like last year’s, it will likely start closer to 10 p.m.
“They have a nice stadium so a lot of people can come out and watch us,’’ said Brittany Dubins, who will play No. 6 singles and was clutch last Saturday in a tiebreaker with Melissa Bolivar at No. 2 doubles. The two were down match point to the Sooners and rallied to take the deciding team doubles point.
The night before, Dubins and teammate Monique Albuquerque were in caps and gowns at for their graduation ceremony.
“I have to say it was one of the best few days of my life,’’ Dubins said. “Paige told us how every match will get tougher and tougher and how the regionals helped prepare us.”
If UM should upset UCLA, on Saturday it would meet the winner of fourth-seeded Duke (26-4) vs. No. 13 Clemson (22-6). Miami defeated Clemson this season but lost to Duke.
“They’re always a strong team,’’ Dubins said of UCLA, “so we expect them to play well. We just want to be aggressive, play our best and make it fun.”