URBANA, Ill. – The University of Miami women’s tennis team holds the longest current streak of reaching the NCAA tournament quarterfinals at five straight seasons. However, the Canes were stopped on their quest for a team national title by the third-ranked Texas A&M Aggies, 4-0, on Sunday.
“I think [Texas A&M] played better in big moments,” said Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews. “I think we started out a little rough in some spots and on a day like today, you can’t do that.”
With three Canes (23-6) still battling, Texas A&M’s 52nd-ranked Nazari Urbina closed out her 6-1, 6-4 victory over the Hurricanes’ 102nd-ranked Lina Lileikite on Court 3, sending the higher-seed to the NCAA tournament semifinals.
Like her teammates on Courts 5, and 6. Lilekite was fighting to send her match into a third set, hoping to extend Miami’s season.
On Court 4, Clementina Riobueno, the nation’s 102nd-ranked singles player, was leading, 7-5, 4-2 over her opponent Ines Deheza when the match was called. Junior Melissa Bolivar was close to forcing a third set out of the No. 6 position. After the Colombian, narrowly fell in the first set, 7-5, she was leading in the second, 6-5.
Texas A&M (25-3) took a 2-0 lead when Miami’s Kelsey Laurente – ranked 81st in the country – was upended by the Aggies’ 68th-ranked Cristina Stancu on Court 2, 6-1, 6-4.
The Hurricanes’ highest-ranked singles player, freshman Stephanie Wagner (No. 60) gave fourth-ranked Cristina Sanchez all she could handle at the No. 1 position. The Amberg, Germany native forced an extra game in the first set, falling 7-5 and nearly did the same in the second, coming up just short, 6-4.
“I think [Stephanie] played a great match,” Yaroshuk-Tews added. “She needed to play better when she was up, but she played a great match.”
For the first time in its seven postseason matches, Miami dropped the doubles point.
Since becoming doubles partner late in the season, Brittany Dubins and Stephanie Wagner were a perfect 6-0. However, an 8-2 loss on Court 3 to the Deheza sisters ended their undefeated streak. The Aggies clinched the early point on Court 1 as the 18th-ranked duo of Stancu and Hristov defeated Albuquerque and Riobueno, 8-2.
“There is certain positions that you have to beat A&M at, if you want to beat them,” said Yaroshuk-Tews. “Starting with No. 3 doubles. We didn’t respond well to the different looks, the different paces they were giving us. In my opinion that is a must-win match and we just didn’t respond well… All-in-all, we could have played better tennis.”
Despite the loss it was a historic season for the Hurricanes. With four first-time collegiate players competing, Miami won its first ACC Tournament Championship and advanced to the national quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive season. No other women’s team can claim that feat.
When asked about Miami’s season, Yaroshuk-Tews said, “Looking back on the season, I think this group overachieved… for them to do what they have done and come as far as they have come, I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the season they’ve had.”
Wagner, named the first alternate for the NCAA Women's Tennis Singles Championships, will wait until the NCAA announces the singles draw on Tuesday to see who she may face in Wednesday's first round. Check HurricaneSports.com and @HurricaneTennis on Twitter for updates.
1. #4 Cristina Sanchez-Qui (TAMU) def. #60 Stephanie Wagner (UM) 7-5, 6-4
2. #68 Cristina Stancu (TAMU) def. #81 Kelsey Laurente (UM) 6-1, 6-4
3. #52 Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. #105 Lina Lileikite (UM) 6-1, 6-4
4. Maria Ines Deheza (TAMU) vs. Clementina Riobueno (UM) 5-7, 2-4, unfinished
5. Anna Mamalat (TAMU) vs. Monique Albuquerque (UM) 6-4, 6-6, unfinished
6. Stefania Hristov (TAMU) vs. Melissa Bolivar (UM) 7-5, 5-6, unfinished
1. #18 Stefania Hristov/Cristina Stancu (TAMU) def. Monique Albuquerque/Clementina Riobueno (UM) 8-2
2. #49 Cristina Sanchez-Qui/Wen Sun (TAMU) vs. Melissa Bolivar/Kelsey Laurente (UM) 0-0, unfinished
3. Maria Ines Deheza/Maria Paula Deheza (TAMU) def. Stephanie Wagner/Brittany Dubins (UM) 8-2
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (2,1,3)