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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Defending Champion Stanford, Top Seed Georgia Both Survive Third Set Tiebreakers to Advance to Women's Division I Quarterfinals

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

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:

#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


Do something said...

Can they pick a site where they can actually play the NCAA Championships - an outdoor event - on outdoor courts and on 6 courts at once? Pick a neutral venue in Arizona or California - where it doesn't rain in May. Those places exist. Or go to Stanford where, while not a fan, Dick Gould has the best and most reliable scoring and video (and even improving that to HD)! Relying on twitter posts every 3 to 12 minutes for NCAA scores is so sad. Give the fans that can't be there something. This is why the game doesn't grow, no one can take part in it.

Anonymous said...

I did not care for the UGA players playing to the crowd the entire night. Courts 1, 3 and 5 in particular. Encouraging the fans to stand just before you serve on match point for your teams win. ????? To follow it up with a double fault and eventually losing the game shows forfeiting focus on the task at hand for personal adulation. Hate to think college tennis needs a taunting penalty.

ClarkC said...

If Lele Forood does not like playing Cal in the round of 16, she can stop wussing out in February and play the National Team Indoor like everyone else in the country did. Then Stanford will have a chance to get more quality wins for their ranking.

JT said...

Stanford is the defending champ, and had a similarly tough draw last year, so she can't be too upset. The team that should be upset is UVa, a clear underdog to Stanford in the quarters despite being the higher seed. Stanford has a clear advantage in the bottom half of the singles lineup.

College Fan said...


I completely agree. If Stanford would play the indoors, their ranking would be higher going into the NCAAs. When you are the #11 seed, you don't have a right to complain about your draw. If you think you should be a higher seed, win more "quality" matches during the season and your ranking will be higher. Sure Stanford may be better than their ranking, but the ranking/seeding system in place doesn't employ subjective approach. Stanford's weaker than normal schedule in recent years is completely Forood's choice.

Colette Lewis said...

@ College Fan:
But the NCAA committee didn't use the rankings. If it did, UCLA women would be No. 3, not No. 5

Stanford fan said...

Well, Clark and College Fan, Stanford used to play in the indoors, but a couple of years ago the players decided the entire week away from school was too detrimental to their academics, when added to the extended time they already have to miss for the NCAA tournament. So if "wussing out" means prioritizing academics over optional sports competitions, I fully support the STUDENT-athletes' choice. I have no doubt Lele would prefer to play the indoors, but she respected the players' decision, for which she should be commended because it predictably makes winning the nat'l championship harder. Let's get priorities straight here. (Clark, you really think these tough-as-nails players are AFRAID to play other teams in the Indoors? Come on.) College Fan, the complaint is not about the draw but about the seeding, which ought to reflect the strength of the teams but doesn't because of a system NCAA has adopted that punishes teams for choosing academics over sports. The seeding system is not what you think it is (Stanford's only 2 losses were to the #5 and #6 seeds, while they beat the #9 seed 7-0 as well as everyone else they played, so based purely on schedule they should have been seeded somewhere between 6 and 9). Inaccurate seeding is unfair both to Stanford and to the quality teams they play earlier than they should, such as Cal and Virginia, and unfairly benefits teams on the opposite side of the draw from Stanford who don't have to risk an early loss to a top team like Stanford. The seeding and the competition should be fair, and rankings would be better than what they use now.

DontBeaLoser said...


This is *college* tennis where fan support is encouraged. A private badminton match with no crowd seems more your speed... try that next time.

College Fan said...

Colette, you're right about the change for UCLA and the committee can make minor changes. How often has the committee seeded a team 2 spots away from it's ranking? Not frequently. I'll rephrase and say, the committee is not making a drastic change from the rankings. For example, they are not moving a #11 team up to a top 5 spot, even if the "eye test" says it's reasonable. Wouldn't you agree that the committee leans more toward seeding according to ranking as opposed to using a subjective approach to seeding?

Stanford fan, your 9 best wins are the primary driver for your ranking. Losses count a small amount. Your overall strength of schedule is irrelevant. If Stanford had beaten Cal at home on Senior day, then they would have had a higher seeding. If Stanford had beaten both Cal and UCLA (at Taube), then they would have been up near the top 5.

It's simple. The teams with the most quality wins will be seeded the highest.

If the committee started seeding based on where people "should" be seeded on paper vs. results, they would open up a true can of worms. Lots of teams have subjective arguments why they should be seeded highly.

Also, Stanford fan, you say the team doesn't like to take a week off from school in early February to come to the Indoors. How do they justify taking over a week off near the end of the quarter? People like Gibbs and Burdette in previous years and Ahn this year may miss close to two weeks of school.

Colette Lewis said...

@College Fan:
It's not the number of spots in the rankings, it's the groupings: 1&2, 3&4, 5-8, 9-16. Moving teams in or out of those subjectively must be done with great care and justification and in my opinion is not "minor". I've yet to hear those reasons regarding UCLA women (or Georgia men for that matter). So no, I don't think they can claim they are following the rankings when they do this.

Stanford fan said...

@College Fan: Yeah, it's tough to miss up to 2 weeks of school in the spring. But it's either that or don't play in the national championship. The only thing that counts for Stanford W tennis is winning national championships (either team or individual). Seems like a reasonable compromise to me, if you can miss up to 2 weeks of school might as well be for the national championship competition, but your opinion can differ (and probably will).

I'm not arguing about whether to base seedings on results, there is no rationale for basing seedings on anything other than results. It's HOW you treat the results that is the problem. Why do you have to have 9 wins against quality opponents to assess how a team rates versus other top teams. Why is that the magic number? The problem is with the points system used in the seedings. That makes sense in pro tennis where they are trying to incentivize players to play in tournaments, but not in college tennis. It is not necessary for the NCAA to use this sytem. It seems to me, if a computerized ranking system (like those used in football, that look at various measures comparing results against opponents and the opponents' strengths) or coach's opinions looked at Stanford's resume, they would say, Beat current seeded #5, 9, and 16 teams; lost to #5 and #6 teams; so team strength is probably between 6 and 9. What's so hard about that? Why do you have to have four more data points? Why do you have to beat the #5 team twice to be seeded appropriately, I'm not arguing Stanford should have been seeded higher than them.

As to playing enough quality opponents, geography plays an inescapable role. East/South teams can easily find good teams to play OOC without a multi-day, expensive trip. The only top 25 opponents in the western U.S. are in our conference so we already play them once or twice. Tough to get anyone from the East Coast to play home and home, other than Florida who we play every year because they have the funding and desire to do it. (last year Clemson came down to play us at Florida during that trip).

The overriding principle for the NCAA Tournament is that it should be fair for all teams. Seeding Stanford 12 last year and 11 this year makes a mockery of fairness, not just for Stanford but for the other teams as well. That is not right. The problem is the method NCAA uses for seeding, not Stanford student athletes' desire not to miss too much class time. The NCAA should use one or more of the other ranking systems.

Anonymous said...

I spent 12 hours watching teams other than my own yesterday. Fan support is one of the great parts of the college game and I participate as much as anyone. Fan support was not the point of my comment; player behavior was.

Stanford fan said...

BTW, thank you Colette for the terrific write-up of the day's tennis action. Much appreciated! Looking forward to your account of tomorrow's matches.

Steve Hill said...

SteveH said...
I don't usually post comments but I'm astounded by some of the disingenuous posts. Florida has three more losses than Stanford, lost 7-0 to Stanford, and ALSO DID NOT attend the national team Indoor. Yet, Florida has a #8 seed and had a much easier round-of-16 opponent than #11 Stanford. Last year Stanford was forced to beat the #1, #3, #4, and #5 seeds. This year they will likely have to beat the #6, #3, #2, and #1 seeds to win the championship. This year the fourth best team in the Pac-12 was USC. USC, without likely their best player (lost mid-year), nearly beat #1 Georgia on Georgia's home court. Some of you keep defending a warped selection system that favors certain schools and geographic areas while making it much harder for the Pac-10 schools. Btw, this seeding hypocrisy often happens in WVB and WBB too.

Colette Lewis said...

Florida did play the Indoor this year. They did not play it in 2013

Cry me a river said...

Honestly, I don't get Forood's complaining. Historically very few schools (if any) have been given the benefit of the doubt more than Stanford in terms of ranking, seeding, selection, awards, etc. I think complaining about a seed or having to play Cal is way beneath her and that storied program (Gould or Brennan NEVER would have). I can envision the 15 other coaches there rolling their eyes (or at least the 12 or so non Pac 10 coaches). Guess what, they were the No. 1 seed in 2011 under similar seeing criteria - was it a bad system then? Bad this year, good in 2011 (when No. 1), bad again in 2009 (they were No. 13) and good in 2007 (No. 1 seed)? Bottom line is that they were 2-2 against the top 10 this year. That's not a lot of data. Vanderbilt has wins over the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds and is the No. 9 seed.

Colette Lewis said...

I brought up the seeding to Forood. I appreciate her candor in acknowledging they were unhappy with it, or more accurately with the draw that had them meeting Cal in the Sweet 16.

Stanford fan said...

Yeah, "cry me a river" is the typical response. So let's really look at some facts re: Vandy versus Stanford. Vandy has two really good wins: Georgia and Alabama, both at home. They also lost to Georgia on a neutral court. Also lost to seeds #7, #8 twice, 10, 12, and 13; and beat #15. That's a 3-7 record against the top 16 seeds. Stanford's record against the top 16 seeds is 3-2. I would give that comparison to Stanford. Now let's look at common opponents. Vandy beat Texas at Texas 4-3, Stanford beat Texas at Texas 6-1. Vandy lost 4-0 to Florida twice (neither at home), Stanford beat Florida 7-0 (at home, but that doesn't account for that big a difference in points). I would give that comparison to Stanford. So what's the argument for seeding Stanford 2 slots BELOW Vandy? I'd like to hear it, Cry Me a River. I'm waiting. The seeding process produces patently bad results, therefore the process must be defective.

Stanford fan said...

BTW, I do not think conference opponents, who have usually already played twice, should be playing in the round of 16. The seeding is sufficiently imprecise that a seed can be moved up or down one within a group to avoid this. I think that is partly what Forood is unhappy about.

cry/river said...

Hey, guess what Stanford fan, you may be right (in theory). Congrats. I just gave your comment a big fist pump. However, my point is that it's bush league to complain about it to Colette (I don't care who brought it up) and believe me 95% of her peers feel the same. Joe Stanford may not think so, but it's totally beneath that program. Several years ago they didn't get a No. 1 seed and she had her team wearing "No respect" shirts around NCAAs and her peers thought it was bush league then too. How many other coaches are commenting on their seeding and draws in Athens right now? While Colette may enjoy the candor, she can't say "We'd prefer not to play Cal, but those are the breaks and we're excited to go onto the quarters." Also, here's some homework - share with us some specific criteria that would get Stanford to say a No. 6 seed. How many top 10 wins should committee look at, how many top 20 and so on.

cry/river said...

Stanford fan, this is what I'd like to know. Was the seeding incorrect/flawed/unfair in 2011 when they were the No. 1 seed? Or 2012 when they were the No. 4 seed?

Stanford fan said...

@Cry: guess what, I agree with you on one point too, coaches should not say what they're thinking if it's going to come across as an excuse or a complaint or whining, just go about your business and prove them wrong. Perfect example is UCLA W soccer this year: they totally deserved the west regional #1 seed which UNC got instead, didn't say boo about it, went to UNC for the regional final and beat them on their way to the national championship. The only moaning was by the UNC coach, who commented it was a disadvantage for UNC to be facing a team motivated to prove wrong its incorrect seeding.

But I'm afraid your comment about Stanford's earlier seeding is not cogent. For one thing, just because a process produces even many correct results doesn't mean it can't be improved. Second, I don't know offhand whether those seedings you mention are correct, maybe they are wrong too (too high). You seem to assume that I think they are correct because they are high, but in fact I don't know. It could be that some other team got screwed that year.

(actually I just looked at Stanford's 2011 schedule because it's easy to see that the #1 seed was correct: they were undefeated before the NCAA tournament, having won 9 games against then-top 16 opponents including Florida. Has to be correct -- but doesn't prove the seeding system is a good process)

The point is, whatever the NCAA Committee is doing isn't working well enough. Is it a coincidence that Stanford's underseeding the past two years happened when they didn't play in the Indoors? (I would say based on results they were underseeded because they finished 11 slots higher than their seed last year and have already exceeded their seed this year by 3 slots). I use Stanford as the example because I know it and care about it, but there could be other mis-seedings as well. I love Vandy (my son is a Dore) but they may have been seeded a little too high at 9 given their only top 16 win away from home was against #15 Northwestern and they lost to #10, 12, and 13. I don't understand why the NCAA has to use this particular system of seeding when there are other patently fair systems available. Is there another NCAA sport that uses the same process (I don't know, I'm asking)?

Stanford fan said...

@CRy sorry I didn't answer your question. I don't know what it would take to get Stanford to a 6 seed, it depends on what everyone else's resume looks like. I just think, based on what I know now, Stanford probably should have been seeded 9, or maybe even 8. Something's wrong when those in the know think the best (i.e., most competitive) Round of 16 game is likely to be the 5-11 game; it should be the 8-9 game, or maybe even the 7-10 game depending on the matchups. Really, when Stanford splits with #5 Cal and loses 4-3 to #6 UCLA, does it make sense for Stanford to be seeded 5-6 slots lower than them, even though Cal beat Georgia?

It can be complicated to compare resumes when the links between teams are few (e.g., common opponents), which is how a computer program like those used in football can be helpful. A computer can look at a factor such as: Stanford split with Cal this season, Cal beat Georgia at a neutral site, so this one factor says Stanford should be somewhere in the vicinity of Georgia. Then there are other factors that would probably push for a greater distance between Georgia and Stanford. But even a human committee (like basketball) looking at these kinds of factors would be better than the points system.

PAC12 said...

USC Women beat Alabama and Cal Berkeley. Seeded 16...USC beat Cal, Stanford, UCLA last season 6-1 and played Stanford in R16. Rough draws, PAC-12 is getting punished for not playing a conference tournament like all the other conferences.

Stanford fan said...

re USC: yes but against those two wins you got to consider the 7 losses too, and the season-ending injury to a player. Still, the close loss to Georgia suggest, and the other inter-conference results, suggests the Pac-12's top teams are relatively on par with the SEC's, which is not reflected in the seedings. We'll see as it unfolds.