Defending Champion Stanford, Top Seed Georgia Both Survive Third Set Tiebreakers to Advance to Women's Division I Quarterfinals
©Colette Lewis 2014--
The weather could have been the story Thursday for the opening round of the women's Sweet 16, but two dramatic endings stole the headlines from the damp and dreary conditions.
The 9 a.m. matches were split at two locations, the four Lindsey Hopkins indoor courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Center in Athens, and the new six court indoor Ken Byers Tennis Center at Georgia Tech in the heart of Atlanta, 75 minutes away.
No. 2 seed Alabama needed five hours to get past unseeded Notre Dame 4-2 in Athens, with the match coming down to the fifth and sixth courts, which went on when the top four courts had finished. Luicelena Perez defeated Julie Vrabel, Notre Dame's hero in their regional final upset of No. 15 seed Northwestern, 6-1, 6-4, overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the second set to give the Crimson Tide their first trip to the elite eight.
At Georgia Tech, No. 7 seed North Carolina needed less than three hours to blank No. 10 seed Texas A&M, last year's finalists. The Aggies, without No. 2 player Ines Deheza in the lineup, needed the doubles point to establish some momentum, but Cristina Stancu and Stefania Hristov couldn't convert their match point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, with Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter taking the point with an 8-7(7) victory at line 1. The Tar Heels will play Alabama at noon on Saturday.
The second match indoors in Athens had No. 3 Virginia facing No. 14 seed Baylor, but I headed over to Atlanta to watch what I had anticipated would be the best match of the round of 16. Defending champion Stanford, seeded No. 11, and No. 6 seed Cal, who had split their two meetings, both had legitimate title aspirations this year, but one wasn't going to advance out of the Sweet 16.
Cal took the doubles point with wins at lines 2 and 3, and singles had just begun when I arrived at the Bill Moore Indoor courts. Cal was able to take a 2-0 lead when Zsofi Susanyi of Cal breezed past Krista Hardebeck 6-2, 6-1 at line 2, but Carol Zhao countered with a routine 6-2, 6-3 win over Anett Schutting at line 3 to put Stanford on the board.
Kristie Ahn tied it up with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Denise Starr at line 1, leaving the bottom three courts to decide it. Cal's Klara Fabikova closed out Ellen Tsay 6-4, 6-3 at line 5 to give the Bears a 3-2 lead, and Stanford's Taylor Davidson was watching her 6-4, 4-2 lead over Lynn Chi evaporate.
At court 6, Stanford's Caroline Doyle had earned a third set against Maegan Manasse, and Chi had taken the second set from Davidson, who was suffering from cramps. At trailing 1-0 in the third set, Davidson cramped so badly that she crumpled to the court and was assisted to the changeover bench for treatment before resuming play, but she held serve in that game and began to implement a strategy to end points more quickly.
"I've dealt with cramping in the past; it comes from my nerves, I don't know why I do it," said Davidson, a freshman from North Carolina. "I've gotten through it before and that experience with it helped me. Obviously, I fell down, couldn't walk, had some issues there, but it also helped me relax. I realized I couldn't move and get her winners, so I needed to be the aggressor. My muscles just worked with me and I hit every shot I wanted to hit in the third set."
But before she got to that point, Stanford's prospects for defending its title were looking bleak. Doyle was down 4-2 in the third set to Manasse, and coach Lele Forood knew it could all end in a few more games.
"There were a lot of moments it didn't look very good at the end there," said Forood. "It was one of those seesaw matches. They totally outplayed us in doubles, but we had good starts in the singles. We won a lot of first sets, and I started to feel really good about where we were sitting in the match. Things went up and down and up and down. I did not feel good trying to be part of the Taylor help team there. But the great part of her game is that it can be a one-swing point winner. So we talked about, okay, if you can't play a long point, you pick the ball you like and you go for it. She's got shots on both sides. She got into a nice zone after a while in a very calm kind of way--she picked great balls to hit great shots on."
Manasse's 4-2 lead didn't last, but after dropping her own serve for 4-3, she broke Doyle to serve for the match at 5-3. At 30-30, Manasse hit a shot that she thought was a winner, giving her a match point, but a hindrance was called, not on Manasse, but on volunteer coach (and former head coach) Jan Brogan.
"She hit a really good angle and her coach was like, 'great shot'," recounted Doyle, a freshman from San Francisco. "But I was still running for the ball, so it was my point. Basically my whole team, everyone was calling for it."
After some confusion, the chair umpire awarded the point to Doyle. Manasse saved the ensuing break point, but was broken without reaching match point..
Those came in the next game, when Doyle was serving at 5-4, 15-40. Manasse missed a volley on the first, and then was overruled on the far sideline on a Doyle shot she called wide. Doyle went on to win the game to make it 5-5, and Manasse, who also showed signs of cramping, recovered to hold easily for a 6-5 lead. Doyle also held and a tiebreaker would decide it, as Davidson had just completed her 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Chi.
It was all Doyle in the tiebreaker, as she played much more aggressively and yet didn't make any errors with that approach.
"She has a really heavy forehand, so I knew I had to be on the offense, so she wasn't dictating the points," said Doyle, who had split her previous two meetings with Manasse, also a freshman. "So I was stepping up and really trying to get control of the points, and playing the points on my terms."
"At the end Caroline really turned it up, starting getting really aggressive on her forehand," said Cal head coach Amanda Augustus. "She's a great player. They've got six ranked players, we've got six ranked players--it just shows the quality of the matchup. I think we're two of the better teams this year, so I wish them luck. If it can't be us, I want it to be someone from our conference, because I feel really strongly about the type of tennis we have."
Forood expressed her displeasure with such and early meeting with Cal.
"I was totally disappointed, totally disappointed," said Forood. "Really disappointed in how these things happen, let's put it that way. It is not a round of 16 match, and I hope you write that. But you said it, I didn't."
While Stanford was keeping alive their title defense, No. 3 seed Virginia was completing a more routine 4-1 win over No. 14 seed Baylor to earn their first final eight appearance. They will play Stanford at noon on Saturday.
The 4 p.m. matches were played outside, under cloudy skies, but no further precipitation. Top seed Georgia won the doubles point from No. 16 Southern Cal, but just as Stanford and Cal had done, the fourth point was decided in a third set tiebreaker. Lauren Herring defeated Zoe Scandalis 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(5) at line 1 to end the five-hour match, needing five match points to keep the Bulldogs' season alive.
A break of serve was not important in the final set, with Herring serving for the match at both 5-4 and 6-5. She did get to match points at 5-4, and she too was suffering from cramps, serving underhanded several times and serving and volleying to end points in a hurry.
"I had started cramping at the very end of the second set," said Herring, a junior from North Carolina. "So I really wanted to get the points done as quick as possible. On my first match point, I went for a big--well it was supposed to be big--second serve," Herring said of her double fault. "I had no legs at the end."
Herring tried serving and volleying on her second match point, but didn't make a good short volley, and Scandalis got it back.
Herring didn't get to match point serving at 6-5, and trailed 3-1 in the tiebreaker, but then stepped up her game, hitting a couple of overhead winners to take a 6-3 lead. The first two of those three match points were on her serve, and she lost them both, netting a forehand and missing a volley, but with Scandalis serving, Herring lined up a forehand and hit a winner to set off a big celebration in both the chilled crowd and among her courtside teammates.
"For some reason it was easier on her serve," said Herring. "I think that helped me a lot, because it was hard to start off the points after the serve because my legs would lock up."
Herring said she could not have done it without the crowd, calling it "amazing."
"It was really special, because my grandparents were here," Herring said, her eyes welling with tears.
Head coach Jeff Wallace gave credit to Southern Cal.
"I though USC played absolutely fantastic," Wallace said. "It was just an epic battle and either team could win that great match."
Southern Cal head coach Richard Gallien was proud of the competitive spirit his team showed after dropping the doubles point.
"As the 16 seed, undeserved 16 seed, I thought our girls were remarkable today," Gallien said. "We didn't play our best in doubles...but the team came out and was just terrific in singles. To have our kids crying, it breaks my heart, because when they compete like that, the losing is undoubtedly very painful, but the level of pride that I have in her(Scandalis) and the rest of the girls, is immeasurable."
Georgia will play No. 8 seed Florida at 4 p.m. Saturday. Florida shut out No. 9 seed Vanderbilt, but the 4-0 score was deceiving, with four of the matches going three sets.
In the 7 p.m. matches, which both ended after midnight, No. 4 seed Duke defeated No. 13 seed Clemson 4-1, and No. 5 UCLA downed No. 12 Miami 4-0 to set up a rematch of this year's Team Indoor final, which Duke won 4-3.
See georgiadogs.com for more information on the tournament.
The scoring summaries are below:
WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16:
#7 NORTH CAROLINA (27-5) def. #10 TEXAS A&M (21-7), 4-0 - Ken Byers Tennis Complex (Atlanta)
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,2,1)
1. #3 Jamie Loeb/Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #14 Cristina Stancu/Stefania Hristov (TEXAS A&M), 8-7 (7)
2. #13 Whitney Kay/Caroline Price (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #79 Ines Deheza/Saska Gavrilovska (TEXAS A&M), 8-2
3. Rutuja Bhosale/Anna Mamalat (TEXAS A&M) def. #55 Laura Slater/Kate Vialle (NORTH CAROLINA), 8-3
Singles (Order of finish: 4,6,1)
1. #1 Jamie Loeb (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #10 Cristina Stancua (TEXAS A&M), 6-1, 6-3
2. #5 Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. #56 Saska Gavrilovska (TEXAS A&M), 6-7(6), 0-1, unf.
3. #59 Caroline Price (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. Rutuja Bhosale (TEXAS A&M), 6-7(1), unf.
4. Whitney Kay (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Stefania Hristov (TEXAS A&M), 6-2, 6-2
5. #105 Ashley Dai (NORTH CAROLINA) vs. Anna Mamalat (TEXAS A&M), 6-4, 1-4, unf.
6. Tessa Lyons (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Mason Strickland (TEXAS A&M), 6-1, 6-1
WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16: #2 ALABAMA (25-4) def. #17-32 NOTRE DAME (18-10), 4-2 - Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,2)
1. #4 Maya Jansen/Erin Routliffe (ALABAMA) vs. #12 Britney Sanders/Quinn Gleason (NOTRE DAME), 5-4, unf.
2. #39 Mary Anne Daines/Danielle Spielmann (ALABAMA) def. Jennifer Kellner/Julie Sabacinski (NOTRE DAME), 8-4
3. #71 Luicelena Perez/Emily Zabor (ALABAMA) def. Mary Closs/Molly O’Koniewski (NOTRE DAME), 8-3
Singles (Order of finish: 4,2,1,3,6)
1. Britney Sanders (NOTRE DAME) def. #65 Mary Anne Daines (ALABAMA), 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
2. #93 Danielle Spielmann (ALABAMA) def. #39 Quinn Gleason (NOTRE DAME), 7-6(6), 6-2
3. Jennifer Kellner (NOTRE DAME) def. #77 Erin Routliffe (ALABAMA), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
4. #110 Maya Jansen (ALABAMA) def. Monica Robinson (NOTRE DAME), 6-4, 6-3
5. Emily Zabor (ALABAMA) vs. Mary Closs (NOTRE DAME), 3-6, 6-4, unf.
6. #109 Luicelena Perez (ALABAMA) def. Julie Vrabel (NOTRE DAME), 6-1, 6-4
WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16: #3 VIRGINIA (24-5) def. #14 BAYLOR (26-7), 4-1 - Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,1)
1. Stephanie Nauta/Li Xi (VIRGINIA) def. Victoria Kisialeva/Jordaan Sanford (BAYLOR), 8-5
2. #7 Julia Elbaba/Rachel Pierson (VIRGINIA) vs. Ema Burgic/Kiah Generette (BAYLOR), 6-6, unf.
3. Danielle Collins/Maci Epstein (VIRGINIA) def. #84 Blair Shankle/Alex Clay (BAYLOR), 8-4
Singles (Order of finish: 1,4,3,2)
1. #4 Julia Elbaba (VIRGINIA) def. #40 Kiah Generette (BAYLOR), 6-0, 6-1
2. #32 Danielle Collins (VIRGINIA) def. #81 Ema Burgic (BAYLOR), 6-4, 6-3
3. #53 Stephanie Nauta (VIRGINIA) def. #46 Jordaan Sanford (BAYLOR), 6-4, 7-5
4. Blair Shankle (BAYLOR) def. #76 Rachel Pierson (VIRGINIA), 6-0, 7-6(7)
5. Maci Epstein (VIRGINIA) vs. Victoria Kisialeva (BAYLOR), 6-1, unf.
6. Caryssa Peretz (VIRGINIA) vs. Alex Leatu (BAYLOR), 3-0, unf.
WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16: #11 STANFORD (19-2) def. #6 CALIFORNIA (20-5), 4-3 - Ken Byers Tennis Complex (Atlanta)
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,2)
1. #41 Anett Schutting/Lynn Chi (CALIFORNIA) vs. #10 Kristie Ahn/Carol Zhao (STANFORD), 5-7, unf.
2. #47 Maegan Manasse/Denise Starr (CALIFORNIA) def. #50 Taylor Davidson/Ellen Tsay (STANFORD), 8-3
3. #83 Klara Fabikova/Zsofi Susanyi (CALIFORNIA) def. Caroline Doyle/Amelia Herring (STANFORD), 8-4
Singles (Order of finish: 2,3,1,5,4)
1. #3 Kristie Ahn (STANFORD) def. #30 Denise Starr (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 6-2
2. #23 Zsofi Susanyi (CALIFORNIA) def. #51 Krista Hardebeck (STANFORD), 6-2, 6-1
3. #21 Carol Zhao (STANFORD) def. #18 Anett Schutting (CALIFORNIA), 6-2, 6-3
4. #50 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. #24 Lynn Chi (CALIFORNIA), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
5. #87 Klara Fabikova (CALIFORNIA) def. #54 Ellen Tsay (STANFORD), 6-4, 6-3
6. #57 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD) def. #62 Maegan Manasse (CALIFORNIA), 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(0)
WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16: #8 FLORIDA (22-5) def. #9 VANDERBILT (21-7), 4-0 - McWhorter Courts
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,1)
1. Alexandra Cercone/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. #20 Lauren Mira/Courtney Colton (VANDERBILT), 8-4
2. #27 Sofie Oyen/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) vs. Frances Altick/Marie Casares (VANDERBILT), 7-7, unf.
3. Biranna Morgan/Olivia Janowicz (FLORIDA) def. Ashleigh Antal/Georgina Sellyn (VANDERBILT), 8-2
Singles (Order of finish: 2,5,1)
1. #16 Brianna Morgan (FLORIDA) def. #64 Georgina Sellyn (VANDERBILT), 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
2. #14 Olivia Janowicz (FLORIDA) def. #48 Frances Altick (VANDERBILT), 6-2, 6-0
3. #70 Sofie Oyen (FLORIDA) vs. #103 Marie Casares (VANDERBILT), 2-6, 6-3, 3-3, unf.
4. #28 Alexandra Cercone (FLORIDA) vs. #82 Courtney Colton (VANDERBILT), 6-2, 4-6, 2-1, unf.
5. #99 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. Ashleigh Antal (VANDERBILT), 6-2, 6-2
6. #67 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) vs. Lauren Mira (VANDERBILT), 6-7(2), 6-3, 3-0, unf
#1 GEORGIA (24-4) def. #16 USC (18-8), 4-3 - Henry Feild Stadium
Doubles (Order of finish: 1,3)
1. #2 Lauren Herring/Maho Kowase (GEORGIA) def. #49 Kaitlyn Christian/Giuliana Olmos (USC), 8-5
2. #19 Kate Fuller/Silvia Garcia (GEORGIA) vs. Brynn Boren/Zoe Scandalis (USC), 7-7, unf.
3. Lilly Kimbell/Caroline Brinson (GEORGIA) def. Gabriella DeSimone/Zoe Katz (USC), 8-6
Singles (Order of finish: 4,2,3,6,5,1)
1. #6 Lauren Herring (GEORGIA) def. #19 Zoe Scandalis (USC), 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(5)
2. Brynn Boren (USC) def. #15 Silvia Garcia (GEORGIA), 6-3, 6-0
3. #20 Maho Kowase (GEORGIA) def. #60 Giuliana Olmos (USC), 6-4, 6-0
4. #102 Lilly Kimbell (GEORGIA) def. #118 Gabriella DeSimone (USC), 6-1, 6-2
5. Kaitlyn Christian (USC) def. Kate Fuller (GEORGIA), 7-5, 7-5
6. #92 Zoe Katz (USC) def. Mia King (GEORGIA), 6-3, 6-0
WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16: #5 UCLA (24-2) def. #12 MIAMI (21-6), 4-0 - McWhorter Courts
Doubles (Order of finish: 1,2)
1. #8 Monique Albuquerque/Clementina Riobueno (MIAMI) def. #1 Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady (UCLA), 8-5
2. #9 Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #40 Melissa Bolivar/Brittany Dubins (MIAMI), 8-3
3. Courtney Dolehide/Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) def. Lina Lileikite/Stephanie Wagner (MIAMI), 8-5
Singles (Order of finish: 5,2,4)
1. #2 Robin Anderson (UCLA) vs. #29 Stephanie Wagner (MIAMI), 5-7, 6-0, unf.
2. #8 Jennifer Brady (UCLA) def. Clementina Riobueno (MIAMI), 6-4, 6-2
3. #38 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) vs. #90 Lina Lileikite (MIAMI), 6-2, 6-5, unf.
4. #13 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) def. Melissa Bolivar (MIAMI), 6-1, 6-3
5. #75 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) def. Monique Albuquerque (MIAMI), 6-2, 6-3
6. Kaitlin Ray (UCLA) vs. Brittany Dubins (MIAMI), 6-4, 5-1, unf.
WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16: #4 DUKE (27-4) def. #13 CLEMSON (22-7), 4-1 - Henry Feild Stadium
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,2,1)
1. #5 Beatrice Capra/Hanna Mar (DUKE) def. #17 Yana Koroleva/Beatrice Gumulya (CLEMSON), 8-6
2. Romy Koelzer/Tristen Dewar (CLEMSON) def. #36 Ester Goldfeld/Alyssa Smith (DUKE), 8-5
3. #69 Annie Mulholland/Chalena Scholl (DUKE) def. Joana Eidukonyte/Jessy Rompies (CLEMSON), 8-4
Singles (Order of finish: 5,3,6,4)
1. #7 Beatrice Capra (DUKE) vs. #34 Yana Koroleva (CLEMSON), 1-6, 6-3, 2-1, unf.
2. #27 Ester Goldfeld (DUKE) vs. #33 Romy Koelzer (CLEMSON), 6-2, 2-6, 3-4, unf.
3. #36 Hanna Mar (DUKE) def. #100 Beatrice Gumulya (CLEMSON), 6-4, 6-2
4. #116 Chalena Scholl (DUKE) def. Tristen Dewar (CLEMSON), 7-6(4), 6-4
5. Rachel Kahan (DUKE) def. Jessy Rompies (CLEMSON), 6-4, 6-3
6. Joana Eidukonyte (CLEMSON) def. Marianna Jodoin (DUKE), 6-0, 6-1