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Hurricanes' women's tennis continues to flourish as coaches, freshman win ITA awards

The UM women's tennis team, ranked sixth in the nation, will meet No. 11 Northwestern at 6 p.m. Friday in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA National Championships in Urbana, Ill.

It's the eighth consecutive season that the Canes have advanced to the Round of 16.

On Tuesday, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its regional award winners, and UM coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews -- already inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame -- earned Coach of the Year for the Southeast Region.

Hurricanes assistant Alex Santos earned Assistant Coach of the Year for the Southeast Region.

And freshman Stephanie Wagner, UM's No. 1 player, earned Rookie of the Year.

All three will be eligible for the same awards on the national level.

Yaroshuk-Tews' teams are always top-notch, and this one is no different. What's especially gratifying is that all eight players will return next season.

"If we don't get to the final 16 I'm not happy,'' Yaroshuk-Tews said Tuesday. "I make that known with my staff. ...To get to the Sweet 16 is tough and it's grueling, but with this talent, this is where they should be.''

The coach said her players' goal at the beginning of the season was to get at least to the semifinal of this year's nationals. Last year they lost to Florida in the quarters.