Richardson and Achong advance to NCAA title game

Fifth-year senior Eden Richardson and fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong hold up the “U” after a straight-set victory over Oklahoma State to reach the NCAA title game on Friday evening. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

Fifth-year senior Eden Richardson and fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong defeated their third consecutive ranked foe to advance to the NCAA Doubles Championship title game.

Miami’s duo, ranked No. 13 nationally, registered a straight-set victory over No. 12 Ayumi Miyamoto and Lisa Marie Rioux of Oklahoma State, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, on Friday evening at the Khan Outdoor Sports Complex in Urbana, Ill.

Richardson and Achong are the third pair to reach the NCAA Doubles Championship in program history and the first since 1988.

“[The Cowgirls] were crafty. They, I think, a tendency to kind of lull you to sleep in points or force you to make bad decisions,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We knew that going into the match and we spoke about it. I think our girls were able to find the right mix of being aggressive, but also being patient, which is what they needed to do.”

Oklahoma State took the first two games, breaking Miami’s serve at deuce in the second. But the Canes responded by equalizing at 2-2 after winning two games in a row.

Both teams then swapped another pair of games, with the Cowgirls coming back from a 0-40 deficit in the sixth to break and go up 4-2. After Miami tied it at 4-4, Miyamoto and Rioux went up 5-4 and held a set point in the next game. The Hurricanes fended it off, and a tiebreaker ensued after both teams held serve in the next two games to remain deadlocked at 6-6.

Oklahoma State went up 2-0 in the tiebreaker before the Canes answered with two straight points. Tied at 3, the Cowgirls won two more points for a commanding 5-3 lead. Something then clicked for Richardson and Achong, though, as they won four consecutive points to take the first set, 7-6 (7-5).

Miyamoto and Rioux took the first two games in the second set once again, but from there, Miami would dominate.

They won the next three games to take the lead, 3-2. In the next one, they broke at deuce and then fought off three break points in the seventh to go up 5-2. Richardson and Achong didn’t drop a point in the last game, earning a 6-2 second set victory to reach the NCAA title match.

“All tournament, even if they haven’t won all of the big points, they’ve been playing the big points well,” Yaroshuk-Tews shared. “They’ve been playing the big points aggressively and, typically when you do that, it leads to good endings and good things. I think they were able to do that today. They stayed aggressive, they stayed true to their game and it worked out for them.”

With the victory, Miami is the only school to make the NCAA title match in the past three years. Estela-Perez Somarriba won the singles championship in 2019 and lost in the 2021 finals. The 2020 tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alongside Achong, Eden Richardson will play in the final match of her college career on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. ET against first-ranked Jaeda Daniel and Neil Miller of NC State for a national title. The England native won the 2018 NCAA Doubles Championship while at LSU and is looking to close out her career strong by taking it for the second time.

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