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
DOUBLES
(1) #5 Fink/Niculescu (USC) def. Barte/Burdette (STAN) - 8-6
(2) #27 Deason/Nguyen (STAN) def. #39 Nelson/Sanchez (USC) - 8-3
(3) Durkin/McVeigh (STAN) def. Fansler/Kinstler (USC) - 9-8 (5)
Stanford wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3
SINGLES
(1) #49 Hilary Barte (STAN) def. #68 Lindsey Nelson (USC) - 6-2, 7-6 (2)
(2) #9 Jessica Nguyen (STAN) def. #17 Amanda Fink (USC) - 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
(3) Lindsay Burdette (STAN) def. Sarah Fansler (USC) - 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4*
(4) #97 Gabriela Niculescu (USC) def. #54 Celia Durkin (STAN) - 6-4, 6-1
(5) Maria Sanchez (USC) def. #45 Whitney Deason (STAN) - 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3)
(6) Leyla Entekhabi (USC) def. Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) - 6-1, 6-3
Order of finish: 4, 6, 1, 2, 3*, 5

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