This was FIU over Miami, Barcelona over Madrid and senior over sophomore.
FIU tennis star Andrea Lazaro — a senior from Barcelona — defeated University of Miami sophomore Estela Perez-Somarriba of Madrid in three sets 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 on Friday at Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
With that win, Lazaro became the first FIU tennis player ever to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Perez-Somarriba, who is ranked third in the nation, finished her season with a 39-8 record, the sixth most wins by a Hurricanes player. After reaching the NCAA semifinals in 2017, Perez-Somarriba was the 2018 ACC Player of the Year.
In other words, beating her was a major accomplishment for Lazaro.
“I was very happy to beat a UM player,” Lazaro said. “UM is always better ranked than us. So, it’s always good to beat one of their players.
“Estela is a nice girl and a tough opponent. I knew I had to open the court to beat her. She is good at the baseline. I had to play short balls, play the angles and hit my forehand.”
The day after beating her fellow Spaniard, Lazaro, who is ranked 13th nationally, lost to Pepperdine sophomore Ashley Lahey, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.
Lazaro finished the season with a 30-3 record, the best mark in FIU tennis history. She was trailing 17th-ranked Lahey 3-1 in the set when rain postponed play. The match was then completed on an indoor court.
“Andrea fought until the last match point,” FIU coach Katarina Petrovic said. “She had an amazing year and career, setting a new standard at FIU.”
Lazaro, who majored in Sports Management and minored in Marketing, graduated from FIU on April 28. In a few days, she will return to Spain to play pro tennis, something she said she’ll try for at least one year.
No matter how that works out, she will have fond memories of FIU. Said Lazaro: “I’m very proud of all the hard work I put in with my coaches and teammates.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ FIU’s baseball season ended last week with two straight losses in the Conference USA Tournament in Biloxi, Mississippi. FIU finished 26-28.
The bright spot for FIU’s season was that its hitters led C-USA in homers with 69. Eddie Silva hit 16 homers, and freshmen Jose Garcia (13) and Adan Fernandez (10) also hit double figures.
In addition, sophomore shortstop Derek Cartaya, who went 5 for 5 against Florida Atlantic on Wednesday, hit .342 for the season. He improved tremendously from his freshman year, when he hit just .178.
▪ Marcus Burwell, a 6-3, 170-pound combo guard, became the first recruit signed by new FIU men’s basketball coach Jeremy Ballard.
Burwell averaged 19.7 points, 4.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds at Northeastern Junior College in Colorado, ranking 36th in the nation in scoring (NJCAA). He made 82 percent on free throws, 51 percent on field goals and 40 percent on 3-pointers while averaging just 26 minutes per game.
▪ High jumper Clarissa Cutliff, competing this past weekend at the NCAA East Regional in Tampa, qualified for nationals for the second straight year. She advanced to the NCAA Championships, June 6-9 in Eugene, Oregon.