©Colette Lewis 2009--
College Station, TX--
The two morning matches in the women's Sweet 16 played out very similarly, with the favorites dropping the doubles point but roaring back to take four of the five singles that finished, setting up a rematch of the ACC's best in the quarterfinals.
No. 6 Miami dropped the doubles point to defending national champion UCLA, seeded 11th, but the Hurricanes won four of the first sets in singles, and closed out every one of those matches in straight sets. Bianca Eichkorn of Miami put her team in the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Maya Johansson at No. 3 singles.
Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said that her team didn't panic after losing the doubles point, saying that against a team like UCLA, winning it is "icing on the cake." Laura Vallverdu brought Miami even quickly taking a 6-1, 6-1 win from Andrea Remynse at No. 2. She then took her considerable remaining energy to the sidelines of her teammates' courts to cheer them on.
UCLA got their second point from Yasmin Schnack, who beat Julia Cohen 6-1, 6-4 at No. 1 singles, but Bruins' head coach Stella Sampras-Webster said that the Bruins never really took advantage of the opportunities they had to turn around the second sets on the other courts. She complimented Miami on their fight and composure in hanging on to their leads.
Yaroshuk-Tews wasn't ready to take any extra credit for taking down the defending champion, but she did call it a "feather in our cap." Yaroshuk-Tews, who played for UCLA from 1992-96, didn't take much extra satisfaction from beating her former team either.
"That's old news," said Yaroshuk-Tews. "We've played them a lot, had a lot of battles, a lot of wars against them. They're great people and good tennis players, but I want to beat them as bad as I want to beat any other team."
One of the teams she may want to beat even more badly is Duke, who edged Miami 4-3 in the ACC conference championship match in April, saving five team match points.
No. 3 Duke also started slowly, dropping the doubles point to No. 14 Arkansas. Duke got off to a good start in singles, winning at No. 3 and No. 5 in straight sets, while Arkansas got their second point at No. 6. It was 2-2 for a very long time, and although Duke had won first sets in two of the three remaining matches, the outcome was in doubt until Mallory Cecil, at No. 1, took control of her All-American encounter with Aurelija Miseviciute. Putting the thought of the lethargic tiebreaker she lost in the first set out of her mind, the freshman from South Carolina won the second and third sets 6-2, 6-1, and combined with Amanada Granson's three set win at No. 4 a few moments earlier, earned Duke another encounter with Miami.
"We've had two unbelievable matches with them; we lost to them down at their place 5-2...and obviously the ACC finals," said Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth. "Every time we play them it's going to be a battle. Expect another four or five hour match."
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Friday, May 15, 2009