©Colette Lewis 2008--
There are 3-1 deficits that are amazing comebacks, but No. 8 Cal's 4-3 win over No. 9 Duke wasn't one of them. Despite losing the doubles point, Cal quickly tied it with Bojana Bobusic's win at No. 6, and were up a set in three other matches. Reka Zsilinszka at No. 3 and Amanda Granson at No. 5 earned uncomplicated victories for Duke to make it 3-1, but at No. 1 and No. 2 Tara Iyer and Ellah Nze were trailing by a set, as was Melissa Mang at No. 4. When Iyer and Nze both went up 4-1 in their seconds sets against Susie Babos and Marina Cossou, and Mang took the second set from Claire Heinkas, it looked as if Duke could get that last precious point. But senior Babos and freshman Coussou roared back, each taking four straight games and reaching tiebreakers.
Heinkas had closed out Mang, making it 3-2, and Coussou brought the Bears even, when she dominated Nze 7-3 in the tiebreaker.
As the players from both teams filed onto the No. 2s vacated court to cheer their teammates, Babos took a 6-2 lead in the tiebreaker, but Iyer came back, breaking Babos twice, when the senior and 2006 NCAA champion made two errors. Still down a match point, Iyer got a good first serve in, but netted a backhand to put Cal in the quarterfinals.
Afterward, Babos spoke about how excited she was to be the clinching match as a senior in her last NCAA tournament, and joked that she and Coussou regularly fall behind in the second sets to give heart attacks to first-year coach Amanda Augustus.
Top seed Northwestern did stuggle a bit with No. 16 Fresno State before taking a 4-1 victory. At No. 2 singles, Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State, playing with a heavily wrapped left knee and visibly limping throughout the match, defeated the Wildcats' Georgia Rose 6-4, 6-4 for the Bulldogs' lone point. Lauren Lui clinched for Northwestern with a straight set win over Tinesta Rowe at No. 4.
Complete results are available at Tulsa's tournament site.
Thursday, May 15, 2008