USC's Final Hopes Dampened By 4-1 NCAA Semifinal Loss To Miami

May 22, 2006

PALO ALTO, CALIF. - The third-seeded USC women's tennis team had overcome illness, injuries, rain delays and venue changes in their run at the NCAA Team Championships, but after 24-hour interruption in their NCAA Semifinal match against No. 7 seed Miami, the Women of Troy fell 4-1 to the Hurricanes to finish their 2006 season with a 21-4 record. USC had claimed the doubles point before stubborn rains washed away singles play just as the players were a set deep in their matches. Resumed a day later, the Trojans dropped four straight singles matches as Miami (24-6) earned a trip to the NCAA Championship match at Stanford's Taube Tennis Stadium.

'I think you have to give them a lot of credit; they played better than us,' head coach Richard Gallien said. 'We got out of the blocks slow. (The rain delay didn't affect us). It affected both teams for sure, but I guess it affected us more. I'd give our team a lot of credit. Yesterday was so stressful, I was desperately hoping to get out there and play just to get the darn thing going. I thought we had a marvelous year, just came up a little short.'

On Sunday morning, USC's doubles duos got the job done at the No. 2 and 3 positions. Luana Magnani / Lindsey Nelson ousted Babada/Dancevic 8-4 to even the score after USC fell at No. 1. The, Judy DeVera / Amanda Fink powered past Seenauth/Starzyk at No. 3 with an 8-3 win to clinch the doubles point.

That was all the scoreboard would read the rest of the day, as singles action played out with the Trojans dropping the first set in all but Luana Magnani's No. 3 singles match. The Women of Troy had the upper hand in most of the second sets, however, but the rains would not clear from the Taube Tennis Center the rest of the day, leaving the match hanging precariously in the balance and the teams restless in their hotels for another night.

When the teams returned to clear skies on Monday morning, USC forced a third set at the top four slots. Miami registered their first point with a win by Caren Seenauth at the No. 6 position with a 7-5, 6-0 win over USC senior Carine Vermeulen - her first loss in NCAA tournament dual match singles since her freshman year. At the No. 2 position, freshman Amanda Fink had pushed Melissa Applebaum into a third set with her strong performance in the second set before the rains stopped play. But Applebaum came back to put Miami up 2-1 with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory.

No. 5 singles was the next to wind down in a two-set win by Hurricane Patricia Starzyk, who beat USC's Anca Anastasiu 6-2, 6-4 to put Miami within a victory of a trip to the NCAA final. Dianne Matias had pushed into a third set at No. 4 singles, and Lindsey Nelson was battling away in the third set against #2 Audra Cohen at the No. 1 position, while senior Luana Magnani was trying to ward off Monika Dancevic from a third-set comeback. Dancevic prevailed, however, posting a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory that clinched the win for Miami at 4-1, leaving Nelson and Matias with suspended matches.

This was USC's 15th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and first appearance in the NCAA Semifinals since 1988.

Miami 4, USC 1

(1) #2 Applebaum/Cohen (UM) def. #28 Matias/Vermeulen (USC) - 8-4
(2) #18 Magnani/Nelson (USC) def. Banada/Dancevic (UM) - 8-4
(3) DeVera/Fink (USC) def. Seenauth/Starzyk (UM) - 8-3
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3*
USC wins doubles point.

(1) #2 Audra Cohen (UM) vs. #18 Lindsey Nelson (USC) - 7-5, 4-6, 3-2 (susp)
(2) #76 Melissa Applebaum (UM) def. #7 Amanda Fink (USC) - 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
(3) #107 Monika Dancevic (UM) def. #47 Luana Magnani (USC) - 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
(4) Audrey Banada (UM) vs. #29 Dianne Matias (USC) - 6-3, 4-6 (susp)
(5) Patricia Starzyk (UM) def. #58 Anca Anastasiu (USC) - 6-2, 4-6
(6) Caren Seenauth (UM) def #101 Carine Vermeulen (USC) - 7-5, 6-0
Order of finish: 6, 2, 5, 3*

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