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University of Miami Women's Tennis Wraps Record-Setting Season

May 30, 2009 07:00 AM
by Rick Vach, USTA Florida

The University of Miami ended a record-setting team and individual run in late May when the Lady Hurricanes reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA team event, losing to the eventual national Champion Duke, and two players reached the semis of the individual singles event, with one finishing runner-up.

No. 3-ranked Duke topped No. 6-ranked Miami 4-1 in a rematch of this year's Atlantic Coast Conference Championships approximately a month earlier where Duke had edged Miami 4-3.

"We had our looks on some courts, but hats off to Duke," said UM coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, adding that Duke winning the opening doubles point set the tone for the match. "I don't believe that there are too many teams that still can beat us in singles, but like I told the girls, as this tournament progresses, the doubles point is going to become more important...There is not a whole lot to say, other than they just simply out played us today. We didn't play our best tennis, but Duke had a lot to do with that."

In singles Dukes' Mallory Cecil beat Miami's Julia Cohen 6-2, 6-1; Laura Vallverdu put Miami on the board with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Ellah Nze; Duke's Amanda Granson outlasted Michaela Kissell 3-6, 6-1, 6-3; and Duke's Reka Zsilinszka clinched with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Bianca Eichkorn.


The UM junior Vallverdu ended her individual singles run in the final, falling to Duke's Cecil 7-5, 6-4 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas. The previous day in the semifinals, Cecil had cruised past the Hurricanes' No. 1 player Cohen 6-1, 6-0.

Vallverdu in her semifinal had outlasted Marrit Boonstra of Florida 6-1, 6-7(9), 6-3.

"I think if you look at her draw, and the players she had to play back-to-back, it was an amazing run in the quality of players that Laura took down," Yaroshuk-Tews said of Vallverdu's NCAA tennis runner-up effort. "Beginning with [Kelcy] Tefft and ending with Cecil, she had an amazing run, and just an unbelievable tournament."

Vallverdu was just the second player in UM women's tennis history to earn a trip to the finals after 2007 NCAA Singles Champion Audra Cohen. After sitting out almost the entire fall season with injury, she finished her junior year with a record of 33-8 (26-4 dual), going 18-8 against nationally ranked competition.

Cohen, Eichkorn and Vallverdu were also selected to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Americans squad. Vallverdu, the junior from Valencia, Venezuela, collected her third consecutive ITA All-America award and finished the season ranked No. 10 in the final ITA/Campbell's Singles poll. She ended the year as the first player in school history to amass 30 or more wins in each of her first three seasons.
The sophomore Cohen received her first-ever ITA All-American honor. She transferring from the University of Florida a year ago and finished No. 5 in the ITA/Campbell's Singles poll. Cohen became the first sophomore in UM history to earn a trip to the semifinals of the NCAA Women's Tennis Singles Championships. 

Sophomore Bianca Eichkorn also received her first ITA All-American award in doubles, and was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III Second Team. Cohen and Eichkorn were named to the No. 2 doubles position on the NCAA Tennis Championship All-Tournament Team.






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