University of Miami

UM women blank North Florida in NCAA tennis regional

Sinead Lohan hits a return during UM's NCAA regional match against North Florida on Friday, May 8, 2015.
Sinead Lohan hits a return during UM's NCAA regional match against North Florida on Friday, May 8, 2015. Miami Herald Staff

Thrust into doubles play for the third time in 23 dual matches this season, Hurricane freshman Silvia Fuentes had twice as much fun Friday in Miami’s opening round of the NCAA women’s tennis tournament.

Not only did Fuentes and partner Monique Albuquerque clinch the doubles point against North Florida after Stephanie Wagner and Sinead Lohan won their match 8-1, the freshman from Spain clinched the 4-0 team sweep with a 6-0, 6-2 win at the No. 3 spot in singles.

“Yay!’’ said a breathless Fuentes, excited at the thought. “Pretty cool.”

The No. 15 Hurricanes advance to the second round of the tournament for the 14th consecutive year — every year that University of Miami Sports Hall of Famer Paige Yaroshuk-Tews has been the coach.

Miami (17-6) meets Mississippi (16-10) at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on the UM campus.

The 23rd-ranked Rebels defeated Denver 4-0 Friday.

The Canes didn’t lose a set Friday, with No. 1 Wagner defeating Esther Zuniga 6-2, 6-1 and No. 2 Sinead Lohan defeating Michelle Valdez 6-1, 6-1.

Yaroshuk-Tews credited the early doubles victories with getting the Canes rolling.

“In terms of momentum, it’s big,” she said. “In terms of everybody’s demeanor going into singles, it’s big. Typically when we play good doubles it leads into great singles.

“Our girls took care of business. We’re going to have a much stronger opponent Saturday.’’

For North Florida (17-4), the loss was its second in 2015 to UM and third time in the past four years the Ospreys have ended their season in the NCAA opening round at Miami.

There were plenty of tears to go around among the visitors.

“We have four seniors, so it’s tough to have finished their season here again — and for them, the end is such a killjoy because it really is the end,’’ said UNF coach Audra Cohen, a former Hurricane and NCAA singles national champion in 2007. “Miami is good. They’re deep. It’s really tough to play here.

“I’m not incredibly upset that it was 4-0. We probably could have played a little better on some courts, but we competed about as well as we could.”

The last team standing Saturday advances to the NCAA Sweet 16 on May 15 in Waco, Texas.

“If everybody takes care of her own court and is focused and brings the energy, we’ll have a positive outcome,” Wagner said.

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