Miami women’s tennis downs FAU for first win of season
Fourth-year junior Maya Tahan returns the ball in the final moments of her match against Florida Atlantic on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Photo credit: Sam Peene
The No. 11 Miami Hurricanes (1-0) made quick work of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), 6-1, to claim their first victory of the season.
It was a blustery afternoon at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables, Fla., but the wind did little to stop a dominating performance from the ‘Canes. After playing an intense Spring Invitational in Miami against three ranked teams, FAU (2-2) was a welcome change for the ladies.
The Hurricanes got off to a strong start in the doubles as fifth-year senior Daevenia Achong and fourth-year junior Maya Tahan cruised to a 6-3 win on Court 1. Moments later, the second student in the shirt red Alexa Noel and junior Isabella Pfennig picked up the doubles point. , 6-3, on Court 2 to give the ‘Canes a 1-0 lead in the game. On Court 3, junior Audrey Boch-Collins and rookie Mia Mack were taking care of business, 4-3, when the match was called off.
Miami didn’t slow down when singles play began. UM won five of the opening six sets, with No. 60 Achong and Boch-Collins losing no match. Achong finished his game first, winning 12 of 13 games played and doubling the Hurricanes’ lead to 2-0.
Fifth-year senior Daevenia Achong returns the ball to Florida Atlantic during the Miami Tournament against the Owls at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Tuesday, January 24. Photo credit: Sam Peene
On Court 5, Mack picked up the third point of the day as she cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 win. Miami won the match minutes later as Boch-Collins raced to a 6-0, 6-1 win on Court 4.
Although UM won the match, 4-0, both teams continued to play on the remaining courts. On Court 1, controversy began to build in the second set when Miami’s Alexa Noel called her opponent’s forehand long. This led to a burst of fire from FAU head coach Ricardo Gonzalez.
Although the chair umpire reaffirmed Noel’s call, Gonzalez protested loudly, saying it was the second time Noel had called a ball that was “clearly inside the line”.
Redshirt sophomore Alexa Noel prepares to return the ball during Miami’s tournament against Florida Atlantic at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Tuesday, January 24. Photo credit: Sam Peene
Tensions remained high from then on, but Noel remained calm as she took several breaks throughout the set. She was the fourth player to finish, as she won 6-4, 6-2 to give UM a 5-0 lead. Pfennig capped off her match in style as she also won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, on Court 3.
With just one match left to play, all eyes turned to Court 6, where FAU’s Millie-Mae Matthews was the only Chouette to win her opening set, 6-7. Tahan bounced back quickly, moving to a 6-1 set to force a decisive tiebreaker in the third set.
In the tiebreaker, it seemed like an inevitable sweep for the ‘Canes as Tahan took a 9-3 lead. Needing just one more point to win the game, FAU’s Matthews went the extra mile and saved six match points in a row. At 9-9, Matthews picked up two more hard-fought points to claim the Owls’ only win of the day.
The ‘Canes are now turning their sights to another familiar opponent, Florida International, at ITA’s kick-off weekend. The match begins Saturday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Miami will then face either UCLA or Iowa State.