NCAA women's tennis championships: Cal and Stanford on to round of 16

TheSunDevils.com

The Pac-12 went 5-0 Saturday in NCAA women's tennis tournament action, with Cal and Stanford winning second-round matches and Arizona State, UCLA and USC prevailing in first-round action. The Golden Bears and Cardinal are off to Waco, Texas, for the round of 16 next weekend while the Sun Devils, Bruins and Trojans hope to do the same Sunday in their matches.

Arizona State

The Sun Devils got their 28th consecutive NCAA tournament off to a good start, eliminating Arkansas 4-1 in the first round in Stillwater, Okla., in a match that featured a lightning delay. The teams of 49th-ranked Kassidy Jump/Joanna Smith and Ebony Panoho/Alexandra Osborne gave Arizona State the doubles point, while Smith quickly ousted Arkansas’ Oleksandra Shkorupeieva 6-2, 6-0 and Jump handled Makenzie Craft 6-4, 6-2 to put the Forks up 3-0. Head coach Sheila McInerney would have to hold her breath a tad though, because Arkansas’s 49th-ranked Yuliya Lysa scored a minor upset on No. 30 Desirae Krawczyk in No. 1 singles (7-5, 6-2) to put the Hogs on the board. Eventually, Arizona State got the clincher at No. 5 singles, where Panoho got past Flavia Araujo 7-5, 6-0.

Arizona State is now seven of nine like the Borg character played by Jeri Ryan in opening-round contests since 2007. The Sun Devils will be 12th-seeded Oklahoma State at 11 a.m. PT Sunday for a chance to move on to the round of 16.

UCLA

The defending champs skated past Idaho 4-0 in their first-round contest. UCLA kicked off its 34th NCAA tournament appearance by quickly nabbing the doubles point thanks to notches from Terri Fleming/Catherine Harrison and ninth-ranked Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady. Harrison quickly backed up her strong doubles play by boatracing Rita Bermudez at No. 4 singles to give UCLA a 2-0 lead. Fleming nearly duplicated the feat of her doubles partner by posting a 6-1, 6-0 triumph at No. 5 singles over Belen Barcenilla, while Robin Anderson, the top-ranked singles player in the nation, eased past Galina Bykova 6-1, 6-2 to clinch it. It was Anderson’s 120th win as a Bruin, putting her in a tie for second on UCLA’s career wins list with Annica Cooper.

This was UCLA’s 82nd NCAA tourney victory; the Bruins entered the 2015 championships trailing only Stanford and Florida for most NCAA wins. UCLA gets Northwestern for a second-round battle Sunday at noon.

California

Another round; another sweep – Cal defeated Mississippi State 4-0 a day after ousting Bryant by the same tally. Safely into the round of 16, Cal will pack its bags for Waco, where it will match wits with rival Stanford on Friday.

The Golden Bears clinched the doubles point with an 8-2 win from the fifth-ranked duo of Klara Fabikova/Zsofi Susanyi before the two went to work in singles play. Bulldog Martina Frontova retired at No. 3 singles to give Cal a 2-0 lead, while Susanyi defeated Louise Ronaldson 6-1, 6-1 and Fabikova ousted Georgiana Patrasc 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 to complete the sweep of Hail State.

With the win, Cal advances to the round of 16 for the ninth consecutive year. Stanford defeated Cal 4-3 in the Sweet 16 last season.

Stanford

Stanford found its way into a round-of-16 rematch with Cal by defeating Pepperdine 4-1 on The Farm. Carol Zhao/Taylor Davidson (Pac-12 doubles champs, by the way) and Ellen Tsay/Caroline Doyle again did the heavy lifting for Stanford in doubles play, while Krista Hardebeck once again dominated at No. 4 singles to give Stanford a 2-0 edge by defeating Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai 6-1, 6-4. The Waves countered via Christine Maddox’s 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lindsey Kostas at No. 6 to cut it to 2-1. That was it for the Malibu-based team, however, as Ellen Tsay handled Michaela Capannolo 6-4, 6-1 and Carol Zhao provided to final blow at No. 1, defeating senior Lorraine Guillermo 7-5, 6-3 after Guillermo missed a backhand wide.

Wanna talk about consistent postseason success? Stanford women’s tennis has won at least two NCAA tournament matches 30 years in a row now (of course, the team has also won a nation-best 17 NCAA titles, which isn’t too shabby).

USC

USC, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, swept Youngstown State 4-0 in its NCAA lid-lifter, stopping the Penguins' 11-match win streak.

It was total domination for the Trojans, as Richard Gallien’s group did not concede a set. Top-25 doubles teams Giuliana Olmos/Zoë Scandalis and Zoë Katz/Sabrina Santamaria easily secured the doubles point with 8-0 and 8-2 victories, respectively, while Olmos boatraced Dominka Lackova in singles play to put the Trojans one win away from the second round. The clincher came on No. 6, where 79th-ranked Meredith Xepoleas defeated Sofia Macias 6-2, 6-0.

The Trojans meet Virginia Tech in a second-round bout Sunday at noon.

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