UW Falls in Quarterfinals of NCAA Women's Tennis Championships

May 18, 2001

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - Washington's remarkable run through the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships was stopped one match shy of the Final Four as the 14th-ranked Huskies fell 4-0 to No. 4 Florida on Friday in the quarterfinals at the Lincoln Tennis Center.

'It has been an incredible run,' exclaimed Washington assistant coach Jill Hultquist who filled in for head coach Patty McCain at the championships. McCain is due to give birth to her first child next week and was unable to travel with the team.

'Up until this year we never got through one round,' Hultquist added. 'Our goal this year was just to make the top 15 in the nation and to win a round at regionals. We surpassed both those goals so we are ahead of the game right now and are looking forward to next season..'

The Huskies (21-8) were competing in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight season. They recorded their first ever postsesason victories this year after being eliminated in the first round in each of the previous four years. Washington defeated Army and Illinois by matching 4-0 tallies to win the regional championship and recorded a 4-3 victory over No. 5 Tennessee on Thursday to advance to the Elite 8.

Florida (24-2) advances to the NCAA Final Four for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons. The Gators have a semifinal meeting on Saturday with top-ranked Stanford, which defeated Arizona State 4-0. The other semifinal match pits defending champion Georgia against Vanderbilt. Georgia defeated USC 4-0 in the quarterfinals while Vanderbilt topped Duke 4-1.

'We are disappointed that the season is over, but when we look back we will be happy that we had a great season,' said junior Ilona Kordonskaya who played on the Huskies' victorious No. 2 doubles team. 'We thought we were going to be a good team this year, but we didn't expect to make it this far. Now next year this gives us a lot of confidence and other teams are going to look up to us and not take us lightly.'

The teams split the top two doubles matches. Florida's fourth-ranked duo of Whitney Laiho and Jessica Lehnhoff won the final seven games to defeat No. 10 Kristina Kraszewski and Darija Klaic in the top spot. Washington won the No. 2 doubles as the 26th-ranked duo of Kordonskaya and Claire Carter won 8-3 over Stephanie Hazlett and Julia Scaringe.

The Gators clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 win in the No. 3 competition. Lindsay Dawaf and Annika Bengtsson defeated UW's Erin Boisclair and Erin Hoe in the decisive doubles match. Boisclair lettered two seasons at Florida before transferring to Washington prior to this season.

'The doubles points always set the momentum. When we lost the doubles point and realized that we had to win four out of six singles matches, that kind of took a little wind out of our girls,' said Hultquist, another Husky with ties to the quarterfinal opponent. The former Jill Hetherington was a four-time All-American (1984-88) at Florida under current coach Andy Brandi.

In singles play, Florida swept the top three positions to secure the victory. The three remaining singles matches were all tied at one set apiece before being suspended after the Gators clinched the match.

Whitney Laiho, the nation's seventh-ranked singles player, was a 6-4, 6-4 winner in No. 1 singles over Washington's 11th-ranked Kraszewski who is the only senior on the Washington roster. Florida's Lindsay Dawaf defeated Kordonskaya 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 3 spot. The Gators clinched the match on Jessica Lehnhoff's 6-2, 6-4 decision over UW freshman Claire Carter in No. 2 singles.

The NCAA women's team tournament concludes Sunday with the championship game. Immediately following the team competition is the individual NCAA singles and doubles championships, May 21-26 also in Stone Mountain. Kraszewski and Carter have been invited to participate in the 64-player singles championships. The UW doubles teams of Klaic/Kraszewski and Carter/Kordonskaya will compete in the 32-team doubles competition.

NCAA WOMEN'S TENNIS - QUARTERFINALS
No. 4 Florida 4, No. 14 Washington 0
Lincoln Tennis Center, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Singles
1. No. 7 Whitney Laiho (UF) def. No. 11 Kristina Kraszewski (UW) 6-4, 6-4

2. No. 13 Jessica Lehnhoff (UF) def. No. 43 Claire Carter (UW), 6-2, 6-4 *clinched match

3. No. 46 Lindsay Dawaf (UF) def. Ilona Kordonskaya (UW), 6-2, 6-3

4. Erin Boisclair (UW) vs. Stephanie Hazlett (UF), suspended

5. No. 92 Darija Klaic (UW) vs. No. 81 Julia Scaringe (UF), suspended

6. Colleen Gray (UW) vs. Annika Bengtsson (UF), suspended

Doubles
1. No. 4 Laiho/Lehnhoff (UF) def. No. 10 Klaic/Kraszewski (UW) 8-1

2. No. 26 Carter/Kordonskaya (UW) def. Hazlett/Scaringe (UF), 8-3

3. Dawaf/Bengtsson (UF) def. Boisclair/Erin Hoe (UW), 8-6 *clinched doubles point

Records: Florida 24-2. Washington 21-8.

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