Tennis looks to continue historic run against Miami

Sophomore Katerina Mandelikova preparing to hit the ball. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Will Duval | Sports Director

The FIU tennis team is traveling to Gainesville, Florida to face off with the Miami Hurricanes in the first round of the NCAA Gainesville Regional on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Entering this matchup, the Panthers bolster a 19-2 overall record and were named Conference USA Champions in their previous match on April 21. After taking a 4-1 victory over the No. 2 Liberty Flames, the team claimed their second consecutive conference championship.

To start the match, FIU claimed the points for doubles with wins on both the No. 1 and 2 courts. The duo of sophomores Oyinlomo Quadre and Katerina Mandelikova took care of business at No. 1 doubles and emerged with a 6-1 victory.

Able to move on from doubles with an advantage, the Panthers also claimed wins on the No. 1 and 3 singles court. Quadre secured the team’s championship by taking back-to-back 6-4 wins at No. 2 singles.

For the first time in program history, the team won back-to-back conference championships.

Following their victory, the entire program received three major awards and 15 total all-conference honors.

After leading the team to a championship and a No. 28 national ranking, head coach Katarina Petrovic was named CUSA’s Coach of the Year, as announced on Wednesday, May 1.

Outside of staff awards, sophomore Ekaterina Khairutdinova was named CUSA Player of the Year and made First Team All-CUSA. Freshman Valery Gynina took home CUSA Freshman of the Year honors and marked the team’s third consecutive player to receive the award.

Heading into the regional playoffs, the Panthers must look to continue their all-around team dominance against Miami.

The Hurricanes hold a 11-7 overall record and took a 4-1 loss to the FSU Seminoles in their previous match on April 19. That game marked the quarterfinal round of the ACC Championships, where their chances of a conference title were squashed.

 Senior Isabella Pfennig provided Miami with their only win of the day to avoid a complete shutdown loss. She took back-to-back 6-4 victories at No. 2 singles and earned the team a point.

Miami will be FIU’s first major roadblock in its quest for a championship. 

These two teams have faced off against one another a total of 28 times. Guess how many times FIU has won.


In a matchup that started all the way back in 1985, FIU has only won once.

FIU has lost 18 straight matches to the Hurricanes, with the streak starting on Feb. 13, 2002 and stretching all the way to Jan. 18, 2024.

If the Panthers want to raise the NCAA trophy high above their heads, they’ll have to overcome a UM team that’s had their number for well over 22 years.

It won’t be easy for Petrovic and her squad, but anything is possible.

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