Women's Tennis Sweeps Tars on Senior Day

Women's Tennis Sweeps Tars on Senior Day
Akemi Maehama won on Senior Day to move her into a tie for first place all-time in singles winning percentage (.939) at Barry. Photo by Joel Auerbach

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Barry University women's tennis swept Rollins, 9-0, Sunday on a day it began to say goodbye to seniors Cristina Valladares and Akemi Maehama.

Both Valladares and Maehama won their final regular season singles matches at Buccaneer Tennis Center as the No. 1 Buccaneers improved to 19-1 overall, 7-0 in the Sunshine State Conference. No. 8 Rollins fell to 13-4, 2-2. It was the sixth shutout of the season for the Bucs, who will play at No. 5 Lynn for the SSC regular season title Saturday at 11 a.m.

"I played pretty good in my last match at Barry," Valladares said after beating Taylor Brown, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 5 singles. "I am very happy with the matches that I've done. I feel in shape, I'm ready to go, and I want to keep playing my best tennis until the end of the season."

Valladares improved to 8-1 this season, including a 3-0 mark at the No. 5 flight.

Maehama found herself down 5-2 in the opening set to Rollins' Ashley Loft, but battled back for a 7-5, 7-6 (7-1) win. It was her sixth straight victory, and the 46th of her career, which ranks 16th all-time in school history. Her win also moved her into a tie with teammate Karina Goia for the best career winning percentage (.939) in school history. Goia did not play in singles Sunday.

"There were so many emotions going through my mind," Maehama said. "Of course, I want to win. My parents were here and everybody's here, and I didn't start off well, so I kind of felt like, 'Wow, I have to do something.' I wasn't playing my best, but I had to continue and try to play and (do) what I can do."

The match, originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed until Sunday due to weather -- a decision made earlier in the week. That didn't stop the Buccaneers from performing at the top of their game.

Elisabeth Abanda and Goia beat the Tars No. 3 doubles team of Mariana Salvador and Johanna Olsson, 8-3. Sixth-ranked Emma Onila and Linda Fritschken were 8-4 winners over Shannon Etten and Taylor Brown at No. 2. Kimmy Twelker and Blanka Szavay held on for the second straight No. 1 singles victory since being paired together a week ago, this time beating Elissa DeCampli and Ashley Rosenberg, 8-6.

Onila, the No. 7-ranked singles player in the country, was efficient in beating the 17th-ranked DeCampli, 6-0, 6-2, at the No. 1 flight. Fritschken, ranked 43rd, rolled to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Rosenberg at No. 2. Abanda beat Salvador, 6-4, 6-2, at No. 4. Ana Pain battled through a tough second set to pull out a 6-3, 7-5 victory at No. 3 over Etten.

"I'm super proud of all my teammates," Valladares said. "I think we are all doing a really good job. Our coaches have a good program prepared (for) us."

It was difficult for Valladares not to be a little caught up in the emotion of her final regular season match in Miami Shores.

"Yeah, I was sad at first, but now I'm pretty excited because I know we're doing the right things," she said, "and I feel very good playing tennis now, so I'm happy."

For Maehama, the four years have went by fast, but they weren't short of their share of great memories.

"I really have a lot of memories of when we're in the van, going to far places, and all together, squished in," Maehama said. "I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss the conversations the laughs that we shared, the stories. Every year we have a different team, and the moment of adaptation with a new team, that was fun.

"I don't know what to say. It was so fast. Too fast."