Women's Tennis Falls To UCLA At NCAAs

May 20, 2004

ATHENS, GA. - In the third meeting this season between these two crosstown rivals, the sixth-ranked and eight-seeded USC women's tennis team fell to ninth-seeded UCLA, 4-2, in the NCAA Round of 16 on Thursday afternoon in Athens, Ga. Despite having won the two previous meetings, the Women of Troy were unable to overcome a strong Bruin lineup and conclude their season at 18-6.

UCLA improves to 18-7 and will face Miami in the quarterfinal round on Friday.

Though it was a familiar match-up, the two teams featured two unfamiliar lineups. USC was forced to play singles without freshman Judy DeVera at No. 5 due to a wrist injury. UCLA benefited from the addition of two players, Daniela Bercek at No. 1 and Lauren Fisher at No. 5, who did not face the Trojans in the previous outings due to injury.

The teams began doubles play at approximately 12:50 p.m as the temperature continued to rise to a near 100-degrees. USC's Luana Magnani and Carine Vermeulen started things off by beating Bercek and Fisher at center court, 8-4. With the win, the Trojans had two opportunities to clinch the doubles point. At No. 3, DeVera and Bernadette Bayani were down 6-2 and won five straight games to take a 7-6 lead. At the No. 2 position, Dianne Matias and Anca Anastasiu fought off UCLA's efforts and also pushed the match to extra games. But eventually the Bruins captured both victories with identical 9-7 scores for a 1-0 match lead.

The Bruins' Fisher was the first to collect a victory in singles, beating Bayani 6-4, 6-3 at court five to give UCLA a 2-0 lead. Vermeulen responded with a dominant 6-3, 6-1 win at the No. 2 spot over the higher-ranked Jackie Carlton to narrow the gap, 2-1. Soon after, Bercek gave UCLA a 3-1 lead with a win at center court.

UCLA was only a point away, but USC's remaining players continued to fight. The last three courts battled for more than two hours as Anastasiu, Matias and Melissa Esmero each pushed their match to a third set after dropping the first. Anastasiu managed to defeat Feriel Esseghir at No. 3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, but it was not enough as the Bruins' Laura Gordon clinched the victory for UCLA with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win over Esmero at No. 6.

NCAA Women's Tennis Round of 16 - Athens, Ga.
#9 UCLA 4, #6 USC 2

(1) Magnani/Vermeulen (USC) def. Bercek/Fisher (UCLA) - 8-4
(2) #43 Carleton/Esseghir (UCLA) def. Anastasiu/Matias (USC) - 9-7
(3) Gordon/Gregg (UCLA) def. Bayani/DeVera (USC) - 9-7
UCLA wins doubles point.

(1) #31 Daniela Bercek (UCLA) def. #15 Luana Magnani (USC) - 7-6(5), 6-1
(2) #77 Carine Vermeulen (USC) def. #18 Jackie Carleton (UCLA) - 6-3, 6-1
(3) #46 Anca Anastasiu (USC) def. Feriel Esseghir (UCLA) - 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
(4) Dianne Matias (USC) vs. Sarah Gregg (UCLA) - 4-6, 7-5, 1-1 suspended
(5) Lauren Fisher (UCLA) def. Bernadette Bayani (USC) - 6-4, 6-3
(6) Laura Gordon (UCLA) def. Melissa Esmero (USC) - 5-7, 6-3, 6-4

Order of Finish: D1, D3, D2*, S5, S2, S1, S3, S6*
* Match-clinching victories.

- GO SC -

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