#7 UW 4, #12 Cal 3

Saskia Nauenberg rallied to defeat Jody Scheldt 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 in the decisive singles match to give the seventh ranked Huskies a dramatic 4-3 victory over 12th ranked California in Pac-10 action on Saturday afternoon.

After battling undefeated Stanford for more than four hours before coming up on the short end of a 5-2 result on Friday, the Huskies spent almost as much time on the indoor courts of the Nordstrom Tennis Center in another tight affair but emerged victorious in their final home match of the season.

With the win the Huskies improved to 2-1 in the Pac-10 and 15-3 overall while the Bears fell to 4-2 and 13-4. The Huskies also made the match memorable for seniors Claire Carter and Erin Hoe, as they finished their home careers on a winning note.

Playing in the #5 singles position, Nauenberg, a freshman from Santa Cruz, California, dropped the first set to Scheldt but rallied to take the second, punctuating the set with a forehand passing shot down the line.

In the third, the two players exchanged holds of serve, before Nauenberg capitalized on four unforced errors by Scheldt in the third game and take a 2-1 lead. Nauenberg then held at love to go up 3-1, but Scheldt held for 2-3 and followed with by breaking Nauenberg's serve with a backhand passing shot to knot the set at 3.

In the seventh game, Scheldt held for a 4-3 lead, but not until after she fought off four break chances by Nauenberg and 18 points in the game. That seemed to affect Scheldt, as in the eighth game, Nauenberg held easily at love, striking four winners for a 4-4 lead.

In the ninth game, Scheldt won the first point with a crosscourt forehand winner, but then committed three unforced errors, including a double fault, to give Nauenberg two break chances at 5-40. After saving one chance with a service winner wide to Nauenberg's forehand Scheldt netted a forehand overhead to give Nauenberg the break and a 5-4 lead.

It seemed like Nauenberg would give the break right back as Scheldt took the first point with a backhand winner and then took a 0-30 lead on a double fault, but Scheldt committed unforced errors on four consecutive points to give Nauenberg the match and the Huskies the victory.

Doubles play once again did not end favorably for the Huskies as California swept all three matches. Catherine Lynch and Monica Wiesener took the match in the #3 position, defeating Nauenberg and Mugette Ahn 8-4. Then Nicole Havlicek and Scheldt clinched the doubles point for the Bears in the #2 position, prevailing over Hoe and Dinka Hadzic 8-5.

In the top match, Jieun Jacobs and Sasha Podkolzina edged Carter and Dea Sumantri 9-8(4). The two sides held serve through the first seven games, with Jacobs and Podkolzina taking a 4-3 lead. Remarkably, neither side had a break chance and no game even went to deuce. The Bears finally got a break point on Sumantri's serve in the eighth game, and converted it for a 5-3 lead when Podkolzina drilled a low backhand return at Sumantri.

Podkolzina held for a 6-3 lead, and the Bears got another break chance on Carter's serve in the 10th game, and once again cashed it in when Carter netted a forehand overhead. Then Carter and Sumantri rallied. They broke Jacobs in the 11th game, making good on their only break chance in the game, and after Sumantri held to cut the Bears' lead to 7-5, Podkolzina still had a chance to serve out the match.

At 30-30, Carter netted a forehand to give Cal a match point, but Sumantri saved it with a forehand passing shot, and after two unforced errors by Jacobs, the Huskies got the break to make the score 6-7. Carter still needed to hold serve to get the Huskies even, and she did her part, capping the game with a backhand slice approach winner and drawing a huge roar from the Husky partisans.

Then, riding the momentum, the Huskies broke Jacobs at love and took an 8-7 lead as Carter smacked three winners and Sumantri put away a forehand overhead. After trailing 3-7 and rallying to take five straight games, it looked like the Huskies might come away with an improbable victory, as they only needed Sumantri to hold serve. They even had a match point, but Podkolzina came up with a big backhand return winner and Sumantri double faulted to give Cal a break point.

An unforced error brought the game back to deuce but Jacobs gave the Bears another chance with a backhand winner, and then Carter netted an overhead for an 8-8 tie, forcing the match to a tiebreak.

Cal got three match points in the tiebreak at 6-3, but the Huskies saved one on an errant return by Jacobs, and, one day after overcoming six match points in their win over Stanford's Erin Burdette and Lauren Barnikow, it seemed possible that Carter and Sumantri might complete another magical comeback. Unfortunately, Sumantri netted a forehand volley on the next point to give the Bears the victory.

After singles play began, the Huskies won three consecutive matches to take a 3-1 lead. Sumantri dropped the first four games against Jacobs in #2 singles but then stormed back to win 12 of 13 games and take the match 6-4, 6-1. Carter made her final singles match at home a sweet one, defeating Lynch 6-3, 6-1. In the first set Carter and Lynch traded breaks for seven consecutive games, but Carter finally held in the ninth game to take the set. Then she broke Lynch four times in the second set to win easily.

In the #6 position, Stephanie Svanfeldt defeated Wiesener 6-2, 6-4 to bring the Huskies to within one point of taking the match. In the #3 position, Podkolzina spoiled Hoe's final home singles match with a 6-4, 6-2 win and Havlicek prevailed over Hadzic 6-3, 6-3 to tie the match score at three points apiece, leaving the final point on the racquets of Nauenberg and Scheldt.

The Huskies finished the season with a 9-1 mark at home, with the only blemish against Stanford. They now hit the road for the rest of the season, first visitingArizona State on April 2 and Arizona on April 3. Then they travel to Los Angeles for matches against UCLA on April 9 and USC on April 10, before concluding the dual match season at Washington State on April 16.

After the individual Pac-10 championships in Ojai, California from April 22-25, the Huskies hope to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament on May 14 and 15.

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