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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Top Seed Florida, Defending Champion North Carolina Knocked Out in Quarterfinals of ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Charlottesville, VA--

Saturday was the day of the underdog at the ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar's Head Sports Club.  Defending champion and No. 2 seed North Carolina was the first favorite to fall, with No. 7 Duke claiming a 4-2 decision. No. 3 seed Georgia was then ousted by No. 6 Cal 4-3, but the biggest upset was reserved for the late afternoon, when unseeded Northwestern took out top seed Florida 4-2.  No. 4 seed UCLA restored some semblance of order in the final main draw match of the day, taking out crosstown rival and No. 5 seed USC 4-0, to reach the semifinals for the third consecutive year.

For all of the talk of the format experimentation providing more opportunities for the underdog, Northwestern's win over Florida did not include a single third-set match tiebreaker.  The Wildcats took the doubles point with wins at 2 and 3, after Florida had looked exceptionally sharp in doubles in their Friday night match against Virginia.

Florida won first sets at lines 1, 6 and 3, while Northwestern had taken the first set at 2, 4, and 5.  Northwestern got its second point when Jillian Rooney closed out Sofie Oyen 6-2, 6-1, but Olivia Janowicz put Florida on the board shortly afterward with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Veronica Corning at line 1.  Florida was going to need a match tiebreaker win to advance, and it looked as if they would get there when Kourtney Keegan took a 5-3 second set lead over Madeline Lipp at line 5, after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker.  Belinda Woolcock defeated Manon Peri of Northwestern 7-6(3), 6-1 to make it 2-2, and Brianna Morgan had taken the first set from Northwestern's Alicia Barnett at line 3, but Alex Cercone could not rattle Belinda Niu at No. 2.  Up a set and a break, Niu kept blasting the ball and moving forward, and when Lipp won the last four games from Keegan to record a 7-6(4), 7-5 victory and point No. 3 for the Wildcats, Niu was up 5-2 in the second set, with Cercone serving. A double fault at deuce gave Niu a match point, and she converted immediately when Cercone's forehand found the net, clinching her second straight match after taking the fourth point in Northwestern's 4-3 victory over Texas A&M Friday night.

Asked if she was surprised by her team's win over Florida, Northwestern head coach Claire Pollard said, "Truthfully, probably yes," said Pollard, who won back-to-back Team Indoor titles in 2009 and 2010. "I was really pleased with our doubles. I didn't think we were really organized in our doubles, so we spent a lot of time Thursday organizing plays and running things. I think Florida's got a good doubles point, so that really helped to get the day off to a good start."

Pollard played three freshmen--Rooney, Lipp and Peri--and sophomore Barnett, so she understands this tournament is trial-by-fire for them.

"After we won the doubles, I sort of got after them like I did yesterday," Pollard said. "It's one point, and we not here to just get one point. We're trying to teach this young team not to be satisfied too early. We're going to enjoy this tonight and then try to do another one tomorrow."

Northwestern will play UCLA, who won the doubles point from Southern Cal by the slimmest of margins, then went on to dominate in three singles matches to post a 4-0 victory.

The doubles point came down to line 2, with UCLA's Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips facing three match points in the tiebreaker that decided it, after UCLA had won at line 1 and USC at line 3.  With USC's Giuliana Olmos and Zoe Scandalis leading 6-4 in the tiebreaker, McPhillips saved the first match point with a quick poach, and Scandalis's defensive lob went long on the next one. The third match point was a return long on a McPhillips serve at 7-6, and the next two points went to UCLA with Olmos missing a volley and then a backhand, to send UCLA into the 10-minute break with a 1-0 lead.

"I think that doubles point really helped us," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. "Just going into the singles playing a little more relaxed. USC's tough; we know each other so well, but we executed well and competed really well."

UCLA's second point was posted quickly, with McPhillips, who suffered from shin splints this fall, taking down Olmos at line 4 by a 6-2, 6-0 score.  Robin Anderson had no trouble with Sabrina Santamaria at No. 1, closing out a 6-1, 6-2 victory for a 3-0 UCLA lead, and seconds later, on the bank of three courts down the hallway, Kaitlin Ray defeated Ellie Yates 6-1, 6-2 to clinch the Bruins' win.

"Kaitlin played really well, and I'm really happy for her," Sampras said of the oft-injured junior. "We just want to get better every match, and keep improving."

Another conference and in-state rivalry earlier in the day saw Duke upend North Carolina 4-2, with the doubles point again setting the tone.

Duke won at line 1, with Trice Capra and Hanna Mar beating Whitney Kay and Caroline Price 6-3, and at line 3, with Annie Mulholland and Marianne Jodoin beating Ashley Dai and Laura Slater 6-3.  But it was his No. 2 team that most impressed Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth.

"It started with our doubles," Ashworth said. "Our 2 doubles team hadn't played together ever before yesterday and kept (Jamie) Loeb and (Hayley) Carter out there, not letting UNC get a quick match. Our 1 and 3 (teams) played well. We tried not to think about that momentum, and we told them you've got to play like you're down."

North Carolina tied the score when Carter beat Chalena Scholl 6-2, 6-2 at line 2, but Duke regained the lead with Rachel Kahan's 6-4, 6-2 win over Dai at line 5. Capra dealt a blow to North Carolina's comeback chances when she beat Loeb 6-4, 6-4, only Loeb's second loss of the 2013-14 season.

"I don't think they'd ever played each other, and they didn't get a chance to play in the fall," Ashworth said. "Obviously, Jamie's a great player. Trice wasn't really disappointed after her loss yesterday(to Michigan's Emina Bektas), which probably helped her today. She came out today, I think wanting to prove something, not playing Jamie in the fall, and she stayed focused the entire match, really never let up."

That was it for the straight set matches, and the remaining three matches, all of which North Carolina had to win, were entering match tiebreakers.

Caroline Price finished hers, defeating Duke's Ester Goldfeld 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 at line 4 to make it 3-2 Duke, but by that time Duke's Mar had taken a 9-5 lead against Whitney Kay at line 3, and she closed out Duke's win on a backhand down the line pass for a 2-6, 6-4, 10-5 victory.

Duke will play Cal in the semifinals, after the Bears again overcame the loss of the doubles point, this time against Georgia, taking the final point with freshman Maegan Manasse's victory at line 6.

Georgia took the doubles point with wins at No. 3 and No. 1, where Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase got a late break and hold over Anett Schutting and Manasse to win it 7-5.

Kowase made it 2-0 Georgia with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Lynn Chi at No. 3, but Cal got on the board with Zsofi Susanyi's 6-0, 6-4 victory over Lilly Kimbell at line 4. Denise Starr brought Cal even with a 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 win over Silvia Garcia at line 2, and Klara Fabikova put the Bears in front with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Kate Fuller at line 5.  Herring closed out Schutting at line 1 7-6, 6-1 in an exceptionally well-played match, making it 3-3 and turning all the attention to court 6, where Manasse and Mia King were at 3-3 in the second set, after Manasse took the first in a tiebreaker.  Manasse held for 4-3, then broke King at love to take a 5-3 lead.  The freshman from Southern California started shakily, going to 0-30, but she recovered to win the next three points. Manasse hit a backhand long on her first match point, but she converted the second, which didn't surprise her coach, Amanda Augustus.

"I couldn't ask for anything more," said Augustus. "She was calm, and she loves to play for the team, so that's why we really wanted to have her on our team.  Denise too," Augustus said of her other freshman, "she knew she had to win that match after she saw her teammate Lynn not win hers. You come with freshmen and you don't know how they're going to respond to something like this. I don't think we've had a 3-all for a while, so it's really, really great. I'm just super, super proud of them."

For complete results of the four consolation matches played Saturday, see the ITA tournament central page.

Northwestern 4, Florida 2
Feb 08, 2014 at Charlottesville, Va. (Boar's Head Sports Club)

1. #17 Olivia Janowicz (FLA) def. Veronica Corning (NW) 6-4, 6-3
2. #105 Belinda Niu (NW) def. #23 Alexandra Cercone (FLA) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
3. #18 Brianna Morgan (FLA) vs. Alicia Barnett (NW) 7-5, 2-5, unfinished
4. Jillian Rooney (NW) def. #27 Sofie Oyen (FLA) 6-2, 6-1
5. Maddie Lipp (NW) def. #39 Kourtney Keegan (FLA) 7-6 (7-4), 7-5
6. #36 Belinda Woolcock (FLA) def. Manon Peri (NW) 7-6 (7-3), 6-1

1. #32 Sofie Oyen/Belinda Woolcock (FLA) vs. #35 Alicia Barnett/Veronica Corning (NW) 5-6, unfinished
2. Maddie Lipp/Nida Hamilton (NW) def. Olivia Janowicz/Kourtney Keegan (FLA) 6-4
3. Belinda Niu/Manon Peri (NW) def. Alexandra Cercone/Stefani Stojic (FLA) 6-3

Match Notes
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (4,1,6,5,2)
Feb 08, 2014 at Charlottesville, Va. (Boar's Head Sports Club)

1. #1 Robin Anderson (UCLA) def. #13 Sabrina Santamaria (USC) 6-1, 6-2
2. #9 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) vs. #96 Brynn Boren (USC) 4-6, 4-3, unfinished
3. #24 Jennifer Brady (UCLA) vs. Zoe Scandalis (USC) 4-6, 6-0, unfinished
4. #36 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #60 Giuliana Olmos (USC) 6-2, 6-0
5. Catherine Harrison (UCLA) vs. #80 Gabriella DeSimone (USC) 7-5, 4-2, unfinished
6. Kaitlin Ray (UCLA) def. Ellie Yates (USC) 6-1, 6-2

1. #1 Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady (UCLA) def. #33 Kaitlyn Christian/Sabrina Santamaria (USC) 6-2
2. Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #7 Giuliana Olmos/Zoe Scandalis (USC) 7-6 (9-7)
3. #3 Brynn Boren/Zoe Katz (USC) def. Chanelle Van Nguyen/Courtney Dolehide (UCLA) 6-4

Match Notes
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (4,1,6)
Duke University 4, North Carolina 2
Feb 08, 2014 at Charlottesville, Va. (Boar's Head Sports Club)

1. #3 Beatrice Capra (DU) def. #2 Jamie Loeb (NC) 6-4, 6-4
2. #5 Hayley Carter (NC) def. Chalena Scholl (DU) 6-2, 6-2
3. #49 Hanna Mar (DU) def. #88 Whitney Kay (NC) 2-6, 6-4, 10-5
4. Caroline Price (NC) def. #45 Ester Goldfeld (DU) 4-6, 6-3, 10-6
5. Rachel Kahan (DU) def. #125 Ashley Dai (NC) 6-4, 6-2
6. Kate Vialle (NC) vs. Alyssa Smith (DU) 6-3, 2-6, 6-7, unfinished

1. Beatrice Capra/Hanna Mar (DU) def. #10 Whitney Kay/Caroline Price (NC) 6-3
2. Jamie Loeb/Hayley Carter (NC) vs. Ester Goldfeld/Alyssa Smith (DU) 3-5, unfinished
3. Annie Mulholland/Marianne Jodoin (DU) def. #42 Ashley Dai/Laura Slater (NC) 6-3

Match Notes
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,5,1,4,3)
California 4, Georgia 3
Feb 08, 2014 at Charlottesville, VA (Boar's Head Sports Club)
1. #4 Lauren Herring (UGA) def. #26 Annett Schutting (CAL) 7-6, 6-1
2. #15 Denise Starr (CAL) def. #10 Silvia Garcia (UGA) 6-3, 4-6, 10-7
3. #25 Maho Kowase (UGA) def. #95 Lynn Chi (CAL) 6-3, 6-2
4. #16 Zsofi Susanyi (CAL) def. #33 Lilly Kimbell (UGA) 6-0, 6-4
5. Klara Fabikova (CAL) def. Kate Fuller (UGA) 7-5, 7-5
6. #31 Maegan Manasse (CAL) def. Mia King (UGA) 7-6, 6-3

1. #5 Lauren Herring/Maho Kowase (UGA) def. Annett Schutting/Maegan Manasse (CAL) 7-5
2. Silvia Garcia/Kate Fuller (UGA) vs. #48 Denise Starr/Zsofi Susanyi (CAL) 5-4, unfinished
3. Lilly Kimbell/Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. Lynn Chi/Klara Fabikova (CAL) 6-2

Match Notes
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (3,4,2,5,1,6)


Matt said...


I have a question regarding Duke's singles lineup. In the lineup submitted and approved by the ITA, Duke has:
1. Capra
2. Scholl
3. Goldfeld
4. Mar
5. Mulholland
6. Smith
7. Kahan
8. Jodoin

Against Michigan, Duke pulled Scholl and Mulholland from the above lineup and played their 6 singles in the order listed above (Capra, Goldfeld, Mar, Smith, Kahan, Jodoin). This is where I get confused:

Today against UNC, Duke put Scholl back into the lineup at 2, and kept Mulholland out. Based on the lineup submitted to the ITA this would mean the lineup would be: Capra, Scholl, Goldfeld, Mar, Smith, Kahan. However, the lineup Duke played against UNC flipped both Goldfeld/Mar and Smith/Kahan, ultimately violating the order of strength originally submitted.

Is there an explanation for this? With the format changes and lineup rules, college tennis gives me a headache! Thanks for your expertise!

Colette Lewis said...

You are only required to play your master lineup 2 of the first 3 days.

Curious said...

Have you heard any feedback from coaches, players, fans, or staff about the new format changes? Curious as to what the general consensus is among the interested parties.

Colette Lewis said...

I will be writing a separate article on that subject for Tennis Recruiting Network later this month.

been-there said...

I was there and asked several people what they thought. The general consensus was that it was not liked at all. I did not hear one positive comment about it, now that I think about it. However, it certainly made each match very interesting, and ANYTHING can happen with that format.

I am not sure that it got the girls ready for the rest of the season now, or showed who was the best team, but it was very interesting.