Stanford, Calif.----- The third-ranked and No. 2 seed Georgia Lady Bulldogs were eliminated from the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship, losing to second-ranked Stanford 4-0 Saturday at the Taube Family Tennis Center. Georgia finishes the season 26-2, the third best finish in the program's history.
"We've had an incredible year, winning the SEC¹s and the national team indoors, and holding on to that No. 1 national ranking longer than any body else," said Georgia Head Coach Jeff Wallace. "We wanted to come out here and win the National Championship. Unfortunately that didn¹t happen for us. I'm really proud of the effort our team has given all year."
Stanford jumped out early in doubles. No. 1 finished up first. Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriella Lastra of Stanford took an 8-1 victory over Georgia's team of Agata Cioroch and Lori Grey. The match at No. 2 was much different.
The Lady Bulldog combo of Mariel Verban and Tina Hojnik jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Stanford's Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette. The Cardinal came back, breaking Verban and Hojnik to go up 6-5. Barnikow and Burdette led the match 7-6 when it was suspended. The Cardinal clinched the doubles point at No. 3. Keiko Tokuda and Story Tweedie-Yates of Stanford jumped out to a 4-0 lead over Alex Smith and Anne Nguyen. But the Georgia duo held serve to close the Stanford¹s lead to 5-4. Tokuda and Tweedie-Yates won the next three games, winning the match 8-4.
"I think our doubles finally caught up to us, although Stanford was playing great in all the singles matches," said Wallace. "It's unfortunate for us that our doubles weren't there all weekend. But I'm proud of my team. They fought hard in singles, in both the Cal-Berkley match and UCLA match. Then we came out here today and continued to fight in singles after we played three straight days of not so good doubles. You've got to give Stanford the credit out here today. They just out played us."
In singles, the Cardinal didn't let up. Stanford took the first set in four of the six singles matches. Tokuda put the Cardinal up 2-0 with her straight set 6-1, 6-0 win over Hojnik at No. 5. Burdette put Stanford in a position to clinch the match at No. 4 where she took a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Grey. Stanford clinched the match at No. 2. Verban led 2-1 over Lastra at that court, but Lastra broke Verban to go up 4-3. Stanford took the first set 6-3. Lastra jumped out quick in the second set, holding serve to go up 4-1. Verban fought back and broke Lastra to lower the lead to 5-4, but it wasn't enough. Lastra went on to win 6-3, 6-4. The other three singles matches were suspended, though Georgia was close to winning to of them. At No. 1, Cioroch went game for game in the first set with Kalvaria. Cioroch finally won the first set 6-4, and then cruised to a 4-1 lead in the second when the match was suspended. The Lady Bulldogs were close on No. 3 as well. Anne Nguyen crushed Barnikow 6-2 in the first set and led 5-4 in the second when it was suspended. In the final match, Emilia Anderson was up 6-2, 2-1 over Smith.
The loss ends Georgia's season. Next up for the Lady Bulldogs are the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Cioroch, seeded 5th in singles, will face Anca Dumitrescu of Florida State in the first round. Also in singles, Verban will face Alex Lacelarie of Clemson in the first round. The doubles team of Cioroch and Grey will face the South Carolina duo of Kathy Boyanovic and Jennifer Radman in the first round of the doubles competition.