Miami Hurricanes coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, in the UM Sports Hall of Fame (along with her former UM baseball-playing father Ernie Yaroshuk), knows talent -- and then usually coaches it to new heights.
Yaroshuk-Tews announced Monday that her program, ranked seventh nationally, has signed two international players and added another from right here in Coral Gables as a preferred walk-on.
The Hurricanes just finished their regular season with a 7-0 victory over Louisville Sunday. All-American senior Stephanie Wagner moved into a tie with Miami assistant and former player Laura Vallverdu for second place on Miami's all-time singles wins list with 131 -- two shy of fellow German Bianca Eichkorn's UM record.
(Click here for a really nice story by Walter Villa about Wagner that ran in the Miami Herald)
Fellow senior standout Clementina Riobueno clinched the victory over Louisville.
UM women's tennis is now 17-4 overall and 12-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and will begin its play in the Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Tennis Championship on Friday against either No. 15 seed Louisville, No. 10 seed NC State or No. 7 seed Syracuse.
The second-seeded Canes, behind No. 1 seed and second-ranked North Carolina, have a double bye in the ACC tourney.
The ACC tourney begins Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Read below for Miami's press release on the incoming members of its women's tennis team:
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami women’s tennis team has added three new players, as announced Monday by head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews.
The Hurricanes signed Dominika Paterova and Estela Perez-Somarriba to National Letters of Intent, and also welcome Sara Culbertson, a native of Coral Gables, Fla., as a preferred walk-on.
“I think what impressed me most about Dominika, Estela and Sara, is that there’s no doubt in my mind that they’re going to come in here and they’re going to buy into the program and they’re going to buy into the philosophies that we’re going to be putting forth,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “They’re very mature kids and they want to get better. They want to be a part of a great program and I think they’re going to kind of be like sponges in terms of just accepting information and just trying to implement that information. So, we’re excited for the future.”
A native of Unhost, Czech Republic, Paterova is a 5-foot-6-inch right-hander who has peaked at No. 54 in the ITF Juniors rankings. She has also been ranked as high as No. 773 by the WTA in singles and No. 779 by the WTA in doubles.
Paterova, who attends Sportovni Gymnasium Kladno, is a three-time runner-up in the Championship of Czech Republic and has competed in juniors grand slam tournaments. Paterova has reached the quarterfinals of seven $10,000 singles tournaments, including advancing to the semifinals of Sharm El Sheikh 6 in Egypt in February of 2014.
In addition, Paterova has made the quarterfinals in 14 of the 24 $10,000 doubles tournaments she has played in, reaching the semifinals in seven of them, with a trio of championship appearances. The Hurricane signee has won ITF 2 singles titles in Tunisia and Germany, as well as an IFT 1 doubles crown in Germany.
“Dominika is a pretty stoic kid. She has a lot of experience,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “She’s a very clean tennis player. To come in, after a few months under her belt, I think she really has the ability to play pretty high in our lineup.”
Perez-Somarriba, who hails from Madrid, Spain, is a 5-foot-4-inch right-hander who is currently ranked No. 923 in WTA singles rankings and No. 1,084 in its doubles rankings. She has ascended as high as No. 872 in singles and No. 915 in doubles, and owns 21 singles victories against ranked players.
Of players born in 1998 or later, Perez-Somarriba is the sixth-ranked singles player in Spain, and she is No. 31 overall in the country regardless of age. In doubles, she ranks tied for third among players born in 1998 or later and tied for No. 28 overall. A past runner-up in both the Spain Championship and the Spain Master Nike, Perez-Somarriba attends Instituto Mirasierra.
Named the best player in Madrid in 2015, Perez-Somarriba is a five-time Madrid champion in singles and a two-time winner in doubles. She has made five $10,000 singles tournament quarterfinal appearances, with two semifinal berths, as well as the quarterfinals in 10 of 12 $10,000 doubles tournaments, advancing to a trio of semifinals, with two finals appearances.
“Estela is full of personality. I think she’s going to really gel well with our girls,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “She loved our girls when she came on the recruiting trip and our girls loved her. She plays a style of tennis that we’re really looking to implement more into the program. She’s got a great head on her shoulders.”
A local standout at Riviera Preparatory School, Culbertson is a 5-foot-4-inch right-hander. She posted a dominant 6-1, 6-1 victory to win the 1A state singles title last week. Culbertson also reached the 1A state tournament during her junior campaign in 2015, a season in which she was one of five girls named a First Team All-Dade singles selection by the Miami Herald.
Ranked as high as No. 83 in the nation, including No. 14 in the Sunshine State, Culbertson has posted a victory over the top player in Florida. She has recorded four top-six finishes in Level 5 singles tournaments, including finishing as high as second, and came in fourth place in a Level 4 event.
Additionally, Culbertson earned a fifth place finish in a closed regional tournament and picked up a fourth place result in a Level 3 doubles event. She is set to be the first player from Miami-Dade County on the Hurricanes’ roster since Brittany Dubins in 2013-14.
“I’m very excited to bring in a local kid from Miami who just really bleeds orange and green,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I think that’s what impressed me most about Sara is just how much she wants to be a Miami Hurricane and how hard she wants to work.”
Paterova, Perez-Somarriba and Culbertson are all set to join Miami program for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
To learn more about University of Miami women’s tennis, follow @CanesWTennis.