Stanford Comes Up Short Of Third Straight NCAA Title

May 18, 2003

Gainesville, Fla. - The top-ranked Stanford women's tennis team fell one point shy of winning its third consecutive and 13th all-time NCAA National Team Championship on Sunday afternoon, falling 4-3 to host Florida at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville. The Cardinal conclude their season at 25-2, while the Gators finish their title run at 31-2.

Florida claims its fourth NCAA Team Title, while Stanford takes runner-up honors for the fifth time since the tournament started in 1982. The Gators, ranked second nationally and was the second seed in the championships, avenged their loss in last year's finals. Florida came to Stanford as the top-ranked team and top seed, but the second-ranked Cardinal upset the Gators 4-1 at the Taube Tennis Center in 2002. This year Florida returned the favor, upsetting the top-ranked Cardinal this afternoon on its home courts.

'It was quite a battle today,' said third-year head coach Lele Forood. 'These are two teams that had great seasons and came together in the finals.'

Florida jumped out to a 1-0 lead after capturing the doubles point at Nos. 1 and 3. The Gators 26th-ranked duo of Jennifer Magley and Zerene Reyes upset the top-ranked team in the country, Stanford's Lauren Barnikow (Woodbridge, NJ) and Erin Burdette (Jackson, GA) at the top doubles spot to clinch the point, 8-5. Florida also took the No. 3 position with Lindsay Dawaf and Julia Scaringe defeating Emilia Anderson (Cincinnati, OH) and Story Tweedie-Yates (Redmond, WA) 8-3. The Cardinal dropped the doubles point for just the third time this season, finishing 1-2 in those matches.

'I never think the doubles point is critical to win. It's certainly a nice thing when you do get it, but I felt we could win four of six or better than that today. We came out to singles ready to go, we just had some tight matches,' said Forood.

Stanford came back in singles to win three of the six first sets. Following an 84-minute rain and lightening delay, the Gators took a 2-0 lead with a win at No. 6. Magley was beating Tweedie-Yates 6-4, 5-0 when she retired the match. Stanford came within 2-1 on Burdette's 6-1, 6-4 victory over Dawaf, but Florida picked up another point when Alexis Gordon beat Anderson 6-4, 7-6 at No. 5.

The Cardinal did not give up and battled back to tie the match at 3-3 with wins at Nos. 1 and 4. Amber Liu (La Mesa, CA) cruised by Scaringe, 6-2, 6-1, at the top singles spot and Alice Barnes (Cambridge, UK) picked up a straight set 6-3, 6-3 victory over Reyes to tie the match.

Florida's Julie Rotondi jumped out on Barnikow 6-0 in the first set. Barnikow battled tough in the second set, but fell 7-5 giving Rontondi the win and clinching the title for the Gators.

'I actually don't think I've ever been in that situation before, when everyone's watching my final match,' said Barnikow. 'I told my teammates that I wanted to be the clincher, but I didn't mean in this situation. It's fun though, that's what you play for the whole year. I've never been in it and I can't wait to be in it again. Now I know. Maybe I'll do things a little differently, maybe I'll react different. But I would say, so far, that's the most fun I've had on the court. Even though I lost, it was just awesome having people cheering for you, people going nuts. That's what you play for.'

'We pulled through some wins at the end, making it three-all for a few moments there, and we just didn't win the last match,' said Forood. 'Florida's a great champion. They got to win here at home for the first time and we know what that feels like. It was just a great season for both teams.'

Doubles (Florida Wins Point)
1. #26 Jennifer Magley/Zerene Reyes (UF) def. #1 Lauren Barnikow/Erin Burdette (STAN) - 8-5*
2. #53 Alexis Gordon/Julie Rotondi (UF) vs. Amber Liu/Alice Barnes (STAN) - 7-4, suspended (Florida leads)
3. Lindsay Dawaf/Julia Scaringe (UF) def. Emilia Anderson/Story Tweedie-Yates (STAN) - 8-3

Order of Finish: 3, 1
*Clinched Point

1. #4 Amber Liu (STAN) def. #47 Julia Scaringe (UF) - 6-2, 6-1
2. #35 Julie Rotondi (UF) def. #16 Lauren Barnikow (STAN) - 6-0, 7-5*
3. #27 Erin Burdette (STAN) def. #28 Lindsay Dawad (UF) - 6-1, 6-4
4. #11 Alice Barnes (STAN) def. #24 Zerene Reyes (UF) - 6-3, 6-3
5. #14 Alexis Gordon (UF) def. Emilia Anderson (STAN) - 6-4, 7-5
6. #95 Jennifer Magley (UF) def. Story Tweedie-Yates (STAN) - 6-4, 5-0 ret.

Order of Finish: 6, 3, 5, 1, 4, 2
* Clinched Match

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