Gabriela Lastra and Lauren Kalvaria To Compete In Doubles Final

May 24, 2002

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford's duo of Lauren Kalvaria (Indialantic, Fla.) and Gabriela Lastra (Reno, Nev.) advanced to Saturday's title match of the 2002 NCAA Doubles Championship with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Florida's top team of Jessica Lehnhoff and Lindsay Dawaf. The senior tandem will be aiming to become Stanford's first championship doubles squad since 1990.

Kalvaria and Lastra, ranked No. 1 in the country and seeded first in the doubles field, cruised to a 6-2 win in the opening set. The Cardinal duo then raced out to a 4-1 advantage in the second set, before the Gator's top team cut the lead to 4-3. However, Kalvaria and Lastra- who have now won 20 of their last 21 matches- were able to take two of the next three games to secure the win.

'We had played them twice already this season and both sides got one win, so we knew we had to come out hard and stay focused on what we wanted to do,' Lastra said.

Kalvaria and Lastra, who are 33-3 this year, will attempt to capture the title on their home courts tomorrow.

'You can't ask for anything better than this, added Kalvaria. 'We've got just one more match to go and hopefully we can do it. It would be nice to be able to do it on our home court and in front of our crowd that has been so supportive.'

The doubles championship will be begin immediately after the conclusion of the singles title match, slated for 12 p.m. on Saturday at the Taube Tennis Center. Kalvaria and Lastra will battle UCLA's Megan Bradley and Lauren Fisher, who notched a 7-6 (2), 6-2 triumph over Kentucky's Carolina Mayorga and Sarah Witten in the other semifinal.

Both Lastra and freshman Erin Burdette (Jackson, Ga.) were eliminated from singles competition earlier in the day.

Lastra, ranked No. 6 nationally and one of eight No. 9-16 seeds in the tournament, dropped a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Florida's Jessica Lehnhoff in the semifinal round. Lehnhoff, the nation's top-ranked player and No. 3 seed in the singles draw, and Lastra traded games in the first set until the Florida senior was able to take two straight after the match was knotted at 4-4. Lehnhoff began to pull away in the second set, winning 11 consecutive points at one point to increase her lead to 5-2. She would go on to take the second set 6-2, ending the contest on her third match point.

'I knew that she (Lehnhoff) is a grind-it-out type of player,' said Lastra. 'I think that if I had been able to get my backhand in a little more I could have moved her around. She was hitting balls at my feet though so it would have been tough...It's kind of funny I had to play her in my last match. We've played so many times and she's such a great player. I couldn't have asked for a better way to finish my college career.'

Lastra, who had won 23 in a row entering Friday's semifinal match, concludes her senior season with a 41-8 record. She finishes her collegiate career on The Farm with a 136-37 overall mark.

In the other semifinal, second-ranked and No. 1 seed Bea Bielik of Wake Forest was able to surge past Stanford's Burdette 6-1, 6-0. Bielik, who has won each of her matches during the singles championship in straight sets, used her trademark serve and powerful groundstrokes to record the win over the Cardinal freshman on Friday afternoon.

Despite the loss, Burdette concludes an impressive rookie season with a 43-7 overall record. Playing primarily at the No. 4 singles position throughout the year, Burdette led the team in victories and was victorious in 27 of her final 29 contests.

'I was hoping that if I could get some rallies going, maybe I could outlast her,' explained Burdette. 'I was just trying to get things going from the baseline and stay aggressive...This has been a great season and I have nothing to be ashamed of. I came in to this week not knowing what to expect, but this has really been great. I am very pleased with my first season.'

This marked the third straight season that the Cardinal had two semifinalists in the singles draw.

Bielik and Lehnhoff will meet in the singles final scheduled for noon.

Semifinal Round Singles Results:
No. 1 seed Bea Bielik (WAKE) def. No. 9-16 seed Erin Burdette (STAN) 6-1, 6-0
No. 3 seed Jessica Lehnhoff (FLA) def. No. 9-16 seed Gabriela Lastra (STAN) 6-4, 6-2

Semifinal Round Doubles Results:
No. 1 seed Kalvaria/Lastra (STAN) def. No. 3 seed Dawaf/Lehnhoff (FLA) 6-2, 6-4
Bradley/Fisher (UCLA) def. No. 4 seed Mayorga/Witten (KEN) 7-6 (2), 6-2

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