MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Barry University's No. 3-ranked women's tennis team beat No. 4 Hawai'i Pacific, 5-2, Saturday at Buccaneer Tennis Center to improve to 18-1.
It was the Bucs' second win over a top-five ranked opponent this season. Barry's lone loss came to NCAA Division I No. 63 North Florida.
"It was a very good performance," Barry coach Avi Kigel said. "We knew coming in this would be a very tough match. Doubles was the key, I think, in the beginning. We were able to squeeze (out one) at No. 1 to go up 2-1 after doubles. And then very competitive singles, but we were able to pull it through and get the win. I'm very happy about the performance."
Paired with Blanka Szavay for the first time, Barry's Kimmy Twelker keyed a late comeback in a 9-7 win over Karen Ramirez and Celina Goetti at No. 1 doubles. The Bucs trailed 7-6 in the match, but the late rally sent Barry into singles play with momentum.
"We knew they could play really well together, but we didn't know how it was going to work," Kigel said of the Twelker-Szavay combination in a marquee match. "To go ahead up 2-1 after doubles, it's a great feeling. Less pressure, so it was huge for us."
All-American Emma Onila returned to the Buccaneers' lineup this weekend after a two-week absence, and delivered key wins in doubles and singles. She and Linda Fritschken, ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II, blanked Vivian Hansen and Lea Kruse-Utermann, 8-0, at No. 2 doubles. Onila, ranked No. 8 in the nation in singles, was a 6-0, 6-2 winner over 34th-ranked Goetti at the No. 2 flight.
"In the doubles, I felt really good with Linda, really confident," Onila said. "My volleys were really on point. I just felt like I haven't missed any days off. In my singles, I was just focusing more on being calm, doing my best and staying in the match, and not getting upset because I've been away for so long. I'm just happy that I'm progressing."
Twelker also defeated Hansen, 7-5, 7-5, at No. 5 singles to improve to 9-0 this year. Her doubles play, however, may have been the most instrumental part of the match.
"It was important for us because it's always better for us to be up 2-1 than be down 2-1," Onila said of Twelker and Szavay's pairs victory. "It was really important for them to pull it off at the end. The support always helps."
Barry's Karina Goia, ranked 19th in singles, beat Ramirez, 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 1 spot. She improved to 14-0.
Ranked No. 31 in the nation, Fritschen was leading Magdalena Smejova, 6-4, 5-3, at No. 3 singles when the Bucs secured their fifth point to clinch the match.
"At this point, we just have to continue, and hopefully everybody stays healthy," Onila said.
HPU picked up its first win at No. 3 doubles when Lorena Gheorghe and Smejova defeated Barry's 13th-ranked duo of Elisabeth Abanda and Goia, 8-3. Gheorghe beat the ninth-ranked Abanda, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 4 singles.
Barry improved to 13-0 against nationally-ranked teams this season. The Bucs are 11-0 at Buccaneer Tennis Center this year.
"We're playing well," Kigel said. "We're one of the best teams in the country. We know that, but we have to play really well, and be there mentally to go all the way. A lot of things can happen, but we definitely have the talent."