No. 27 Louisiana State Ends Cougars' Season with 5-0 Victory
May 9, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 27 Louisiana State University Tigers captured the opening doubles point then added four singles wins en route to a 5-0 victory over No. 42 Washington State University during first round play of the 2008 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships Friday at the Hellman Tennis Center.
The Cougars (16-10) were making their first appearance at the NCAA championships since the 2002 season and first under fifth-year Head Coach Lisa Hart.
'Our players played their hearts out and after a slow start were battling back on almost every court,' said Hart. 'LSU is a good team and we are right there with them. They just got us today.'
LSU opened the scoring by taking the first two doubles matches for a 1-0 lead. Hannah Robinson and Tiffany Tucker at No. 2 raced to a 6-0 lead then closed out and 8-2 win over Bianca Selaru and Marina Nicolas. At No. 3 Nicole Kantor and Staten Spencer clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory over Aleksandra Stefanova and Aleksandra Cekic. At No. 1 doubles, WSU's Ekaterina Burduli and Ekaterina Kamendova trailed LSU's 22nd-ranked duo of Megan Falcon and Mykala Hedberg, 6-5, when play was abandoned.
In singles play, Falcon gave the Tigers as 2-0 lead as the nation's 15th-ranked player used a strong performance en route to a 6-2, 6-1 over No. 47 Burduli at No. 1 singles. LSU then picked up wins at No. 4 singles when Kantor defeated Cekic, 6-3, 6-3 before Hedberg clinched the match at No. 2 with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Stefanova. While the No. 2 singles match was concluding, LSU's Tucker at No. 6 singles was ending her match against WSU's Jessica Gomez with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 victory for the final margin of victory.
Two matches remained on the court and did not finish as Kamendova was rallying from a set down and was on-serve in the third set when her match was abandoned with Kamendova trailing 1-6, 6-2, 3-4. At No. 5 singles, Selaru was primed to even the match at a set each as she dropped the first set 6-3 but was leading 5-2 in the second.
The loss ends the season for WSU with a 16-10 record, the most wins by a Cougar squad since the 1996 season when WSU went 17-10. Additional season highlights included the team making just the fifth NCAA Championships appearance in school history, winning its final five regular-season matches, including a 4-3 victory over rival Washington to reach the NCAA Tournament, and senior Ekaterina Burduli becoming the school's all-time career wins leader with 91.
'We had a really good year and I am very proud of everyone on the team,' said Hart. 'Not only were they successful on the court, but they excelled in the classroom and finished the academic year with the second-highest team GPA for all Cougar teams.
'Fortunately we are not completely finished as Eka (Burduli) will compete in the NCAA Singles Championships next week at Tulsa. It will be a great way for her to close out a very storied career at WSU.'
WASHINGTON STATE TENNIS
No. 27 Louisiana State 5 def. #42 Washington State 0
NCAA Championships First Round
Hellman Tennis Center
May 9, 2008
No. 1 Ekaterina Burduli/Ekaterina Kamendova (WSU) vs. Megan Falcon/Mykala Hedberg (LSU) 5-6, DNF
No. 2 Hannah Robinson/Tiffany Tucker (LSU) def. Bianca Selaru/ Marina Nicolas (WSU) 8-2
No. 3 Nicole Kantor/Staten Spencer (LSU) def. Aleksandra Stefanova/Aleksandra Cekic (WSU) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2,3, #1 DNF
No. 1 #15 Megan Falcon (LSU) def. #47 Ekaterina Burduli (WSU) 6-2, 6-1
No. 2 Mykala Hedberg (LSU) def. Aleksandra Stefanova (WSU) 7-5, 6-4
No. 3 Ekaterina Kamendova (WSU) vs. Hannah Robinson (LSU) 1-6, 6-2, 3-4, DNF
No. 4 Nicole Kantor (LSU) def. Aleksandra Cekic (WSU) 6-3, 6-3
No. 5 Bianca Selaru (WSU) vs. Staten Spencer (LSU) 4-6, 5-2, DNF
No. 6 Tiffany Tucker (LSU) def. Jessica Gomez (WSU) 6-0, 4-6, 6-1
Order of Finish: 1, 4, 2, 6, #3 and #5 DNF