USC Women Come Up Short of Stanford Upset|
March 1, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 11 USC women's tennis team kept a close rein on No. 6 Stanford but came up just short of upsetting the Cardinal, falling in a tight 4-3 decision on Saturday afternoon at Marks Stadium. Down 3-2 with a pair of three-set battles raging, USC needed to pull out comeback wins in both singles matches. At No. 3 singles, Sarah Fansler fought off match point in the second set and then powered back from a 1-5 hole in the third set to press Lindsay Burdette, but Burdette managed the edge in the third, clinching the match with a 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4 win. USC moves to 9-3 overall with the loss.
Doubles play ended in Stanford's favor, opening with an 8-3 win at the No. 2 position from #27 Deason/Nguyen over USC's #39 Nelson Sanchez. #5 Fink/Niculescu tacked up an 8-6 win at No. 1 over Barte/Burdette to lock it up, but Stanford's Durkin/McVeigh pulled out a tiebreaker win at No. 3 with a 9-8 (5) decision over Fansler/Kinstler to get Stanford the first point of the match.
In singles play, USC's #97 Gabriela Niculescu leveled the match up with a solid 6-4, 6-1 upset of #54 Celia Durkin at the No. 4 position. Another straight-set win came for USC from the No. 6 slot, where Leyla Entekhabi posted yet another win - her 11th straight - with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Carolyn McVeigh. USC's 2-1 lead was tugged into a tie when #49 Hilary Barte posted a 6-2, 7-6 (2) win over #68 Lindsey Nelson at the No. 1 spot, and then Stanford got back into the lead on a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win by #9 Jessica Nguyen over USC's #17 Amanda Fink at No. 2.
That left Stanford a match away from clinching, up 4-2 with the three-setters at No. 3 and No. 5. Fansler pulled out some serious heroics in fighting off match point to win the second set in a tiebreaker. She fell behind 5-1 in the third set and again pressed the issue with a comeback surge, coming up just short of Burdette in the eventual 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4 decision. The last match remaining was another tough one going at the No. 5 position, where Maria Sanchez also dug her way out of a serious third-set hole. She trailed Whitney Deason 4-0 in the third set, but came back and grabbed the win in a hard-fought tiebreaker by the freshman. Sanchez made it a 4-3 final with her 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3) win over Deason to round out the dual match action.
USC returns to competition next week with matches against Washington and Washington State. USC hosts the Huskies at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (March 7) and then hosts the Cougars at 12 p.m. on Saturday (March 8).
#6 Stanford 4, #11 USC 3