Burduli Falls in Opening Round of NCAA Championships

May 21, 2008

TULSA, Okla. - Washington State University senior Ekaterina Burduli captured the first set but could not hold on as South Carolina's Gira Schofield rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory during first-round play at the 2008 NCAA Women's Singles Championship, Wednesday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.

'It was a tough match for Eka,' said WSU Head Coach Lisa Hart. 'She has had such a fantastic career at WSU, I just wish it could have lasted at least another match.'

Burduli, the nation's 47th-ranked player, captured an early break of serve then rode it to a 6-3 opening set. In the second set, Schofield, ranked 45th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll, capitalized on her only set point to even the match at a set each, winning 7-5.

Burduli, a native of Tel Aviv, Israel, jumped out quickly in the third as she held a 3-1 advantage. Schofield took the next three games then used a late break of serve to capture the final set, 6-4.

Burduli was looking to become the first Cougar player to advance past the first round at the NCAA Championships. She fell in the first round in 2006 and Erica Perkins, the only other Cougar to participate in the NCAA Singles Championship, dropped her opening match in each of her two appearances.

The loss culminates one of the most storied tennis careers in school history. Earlier this season she moved past Perkins into the top spot on WSU's all-time victories list and now ends her WSU playing days with 91 victories. Her 28 wins this season are the most in a single-season by any Cougar player and she is also the only player to record three consecutive 20-plus win seasons.

'Eka is a great example of what you want in a student-athlete,' said Hart. 'She is a tremendous player, but equally important she is a great teammate, a wonderful student and a great representative for Washington State University. She has set the bar very high for the future of Cougar tennis and we are going to miss her.'

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