Senior tennis player leaves historic legacy, following her success in the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship

CORAL GABLES, FL - MAY 11: FIU's Andrea Lazaro plays during a first round NCAA Team tennis Championship match between the University of Central Florida and Florida International University on May 11, 2018 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center, Coral Gables, Florida. UCF defeated FIU 4-3. (Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics)

By Cristhian Plasencia


Andrea Lazaro had a historic run in the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship, as she became the first FIU tennis player to advance to the quarterfinals of the singles competition.

To begin the tournament, the senior star defeated Melissa Lord from Standford in the first round, 6-4, 6-1. Lazaro entered the match ranked No. 13 in the Oracle/ITA National singles standings.

The following day, Lazaro toppled Duke’s Meilble Chi, with a score of 6-3 in both sets. She punched her ticket into the Round of 16 to face off against Estela Perez-Somarriba from the University of Miami Hurricanes.

“Compared to yesterday, I think that today I was able to find my game,” Lazaro said. “I also feel more confident than the first match.”

On Friday, May 25, Lazaro continued to plow her way through the bracket. The senior toppled No. 3 ranked Perez-Somarriba, 6-1, (5-7), 6-0. Lazaro’s victory in the Round of 16 marked her 30th win of the season.

“She was a tough opponent, but I played my game,” Lazaro said. “Even though I lost the second set, I stayed calm and positive. This gave me the win.”

Lazaro national championships hopes ended on gloomy weather Saturday afternoon, however, as Ashley Lahey from Pepperdine won in three sets. The first dueled out match went to Lahey, as she won it 7-5. With conviction, the FIU senior returned the favor, as Lazaro won the second set, 7-5.

Lahey took a 3-0 lead in the last set before the match was forced indoors due to weather concerns. It was an uphill battle for Lazaro and resulted in a 6-3 loss.

“This was an amazing college career for Andrea and her success at FIU,” FIU head women’s tennis coach Katarina Petrovic said. “She came up short today after a tough fight. Andrea broke all FIU tennis records, and she will be dearly missed.”

The 2017-18 season was a record-breaking year for the FIU women’s team and Lazaro. For the first time in school history, the tennis program won the Conference USA Tournament, earning an automatic bid.

Unfortunately, as a team, the Panthers were eliminated in the first round versus UCF.

The Barcelona native concludes her collegiate career with a remarkable senior record of 30-3 and finishes with a 74-17-career record.

In preseason rankings, she was ranked 29th but jumped in the top five during the first half of the season. No. 3 was her highest ranking. Lazaro also earned her spot in the Conference USA All-First Team for the second straight season.

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