Marshall's Johnson-Kroh Pull Upset At NCAA Tennis

ATHENS, Ga. - Marshall University senior Jessica Johnson and junior Ashley Kroh upended the number two-seeded doubles team from the University of California at Berkeley in the first round of the NCAA Women's Tennis Doubles Championships in Athens, Ga., Tuesday, by the score of 6-4, 6-3 in straight sets. They become the first players in the history of Marshall or Mid-American Conference women's tennis to advance in the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships.

"This is by far the most significant win in (MU) history and the biggest upset of the tournament," Marshall head coach John Mercer said. "I am so proud of Jessica and Ashley. They played great and they did against one of the best teams and programs in the nation."

The University of California's doubles team of Jieun Jacobs and Raquel Kops-Jones entered the NCAA Doubles Tournament as the second-seeded team in the field of 32 and were ranked seventh in the nation in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national rankings. In addition to this, Kops-Jones is the number one-ranked singles player in the nation and won her first-round match in the NCAA singles draw.

"I double-faulted a lot," said Kops-Jones. "Holding serve is important in doubles. We did well, we just had more mistakes than they did." Her partner, Jacobs, concurred. "Everyone in this tournament is good. It's going to be a tough match every time," said Jacobs.

Marshall's team pulled an upset as far as the seeds, but maybe not an upset by Johnson and Kroh's way of thinking. "We went into this match with confidence and with the expectation to win, because had we went in with anything else we could have easily been blown away," said Johnson, a senior from Pittsburgh. "Its just a great feeling to go out and perform at such a high level against such a great opponent."

Johnson's partner, Kroh (a junior from Louisville), agrees. "It feels great to play in this type of atmosphere," Kroh said. "This is exciting, but we don't have time to celebrate too long, because we will have another huge challenge in front of us tomorrow." With the win, Johnson and Kroh improve to 25-2 on the year, while Cal's Jacobs and Kops-Jones finish at 16-6.

Marshall's doubles team will meet the upset winner of Tuesday's match between Kentucky's Sarah Foster and Aibika Kalsarieva and Michigan's Michelle DaCosta and Kara Delicata in the NCAA Sweet 16, as the 41st-ranked Wolverine doubles team knocked off the number 14th-ranked Wildcats. It was a day of upsets in doubles actions. The top-seeded tandem of Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette of Stanford were upset by William & Mary's duo of Megan Muth and Amy Wei, 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-2. The third, fourth and sixth-ranked teams were also upset in first round play.

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