Pooler-Clarke Upset Top-Ranked Doubles Team, #18 ASU falls to #1 Stanford 6-1
April 15, 2006
Tempe, Ariz. - The No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils were defeated by the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal in a dual match in Tempe on Saturday afternoon, but were provided by a bright spot when the Devils' number one doubles team of Kady Pooler and Roxanne Clarke upset the nation's top-ranked doubles team in the match. The Sun Devils dropped to 12-7 on the year and 3-4 in the conference while the Cardinal (22-0, 7-0 Pac-10) extended its school-record win streak to 78 straight matches and clinched a share of the Pac-10 title. In addition to the doubles win, junior Rebecca Rankin also earned an upset on the singles court, providing ASU with its lone point in the match.
In a very hotly contested doubles point, the Cardinal escaped with a narrow victory in the second flight to clinch the match point, despite losing in the first flight. Stanford's pair of Lejla Hodzic and Jessica Nguyen knocked off ASU's Rankin (Purley, England) and Wendy Pilecka (Pribram, Czech Republic), 8-5, to open the match. Sabrina Capannolo (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Jessica Leitch (Dallas, Texas), playing the second flight, rallied back from a 6-3 deficit against Celia Durkin and Amber Liu to tie the match at 7-7 and took a short-lived 8-7 lead before heading to a tiebreaker. However, with a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, the Devils could not close out the match and fell in the tiebreaker, 7-5, to clinch doubles for Stanford.
Despite the team's setback, No. 43-ranked Pooler and Clarke upset the nation's No. 1 doubles team of Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey in a tight match that also went the distance in the tiebreaker. After taking an early 4-2 lead, the Cardinal evened up the match at 4-4, setting up an epic finish. Heading into the tiebreaker with an 8-8 tie, the Sun Devils rallied back from a deficit to tie it at 4-4 and won the final three of four points to earn the upset by a 7-5 tiebreaker score.
The Cardinal won five of six singles matches to clinch the dual victory. Facing defending NCAA singles champion No. 19 Liu, No. 116 Capannolo fell in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, in the first flight. No. 59 Clarke fell to No. 5 Barnes in two sets as well, 6-2, 6-2, and the Cardinal earned straight set victories in flights five and six as well as Leitch fell to No. 35 Durkin (6-4, 6-1) and freshman Laila Abdala (San Diego, Calif.) fell to Hodzic (6-2, 6-4).
In the third flight, Pooler could not hold on to the lead after winning the first set, falling to No. 13 Yelsey, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. Pooler cruised through the first set after staking herself an early lead, but could not hold on to a 2-1 lead in the second set, losing five of the final six games. From there, she fell behind early in the third set en route to a 6-2 win by Yelsey. In the fourth flight, Rebecca Rankin earned the Sun Devils' only point, upsetting No. 41 Whitney Deason, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. After racing out to a 4-1 first set lead, Rankin fell into a 5-0 hole in the second set, setting up a third-set showdown. However, Rankin won the first three games of the set and took a 4-1 lead on her way to a 6-3 match clinching victory.
The Sun Devils will conclude their regular season next weekend with a match against rival University of Arizona in Tucson on April 22, before heading to the Pac-10 Championships in Ojai, Calif. on April 27-30. The Sun Devils are looking for their 19th consecutive selection to the NCAA tournament field when Regionals open at host sites on May 12.