Buffs Upset #12 Cal In Nail Biter
BOULDER — Colorado women's tennis upset No.12-ranked California, 4-3, here Friday afternoon, marking the highest-ranked conference win in program history.
"We just told the team win or lose this match, 4-3 or 3-4, doesn't matter," said head coach Danielle Steinberg after. "We're so proud of the progress this program made today. You know just stepping on the court and believing that not only we belong, but we can win these matches. That's a huge step forward, huge mental step forward for this team. So proud of them. Obviously everything as always starts in the doubles, and how they stepped on the court today and they stepped in, believing. Good things happen when you believe and you play aggressive. We had them on their heels from the get go. Super proud of everyone. In singles today, everyone played well and even the matches that we lost were good tennis matches. At the end to finish, Ky and Maria, I'm so proud of them and that was very tough."
To say things came down to the wire is an understatement. Down their No.2 singles player Sophia Derivan, the Buffs stepped up and none more than Ky Ecton in the No.6 singles match against Erin Richardson. The junior faced deuce match point – not only for herself but for the match – twice in the second set and battled back to take a 7-6 tiebreaker win seven points to three. Her first clinch-defying point came down 5-4 at deuce, and the next came at 5-6. After Ecton tied up the set count she was unbeatable, taking the next six games to sweep the third set and tie up the match overall.
"Ky comes in every day and works hard," said Steinberg. "It's the same attitude on the court. Win or lose every point you're gonna work hard and stay tough and her attitude was unbelievable. She's always unbelievable. She deserved this win."
During the same time as Ecton's tiebreaker was Maria Campos in the No.4 singles match against Hanna Viller Moeller. Campos was in the driver's seat in the second set, up 5-1 when Bui started to fight. Bui ended up taking the next five games and the lead, but Campos pushed to a tiebreaker where she took a 3-2 lead and never looked back, claiming the second set 7-6(3). Fighting exhaustion, daylight and the pressure of the match being on her back, Campos jumped out to a 4-1 lead quickly. She sealed the win and the match just before 5 p.m., celebrating with her teammates immediately after.
Colorado set up the upset in the most unlikely of ways, with two new doubles teams. With Derivan out, Sara Nayar partnered up with Fleur Eggink in the No.1 doubles match for the first time against the 40th-ranked duo of Haley Giavara and Valentina Ivanov. The shift switched things up in the No.3 doubles match as Campos and Ecton teamed up while Megan Forster and Antonia Balzert took the No.2 match. Nayar and Eggink took the first match 6-3, followed up by Campos and Ecton clinching the first point with the same score.
"That's a testament to our team," said Steinberg on shifting to new teams without Derivan. "We completely changed the doubles but it doesn't matter because they are a team and they know that they can play with anyone and this is also a testament for all the doubles work we do in practice and I'm glad they got rewarded for it today. It is a step up, we were short carded today and I'm super proud of Ky the way she stepped up like that today."
Cal began fighting back after taking the first three singles matches in the No.5, No.2 and No.1 matches. With Eggink, Balzert and Nayar down and momentum against them, only the loudest Buff could turn things around. Forster took a crucial first set win against No.26-ranked Ivanov in the No.3 singles match, then with Campos and Ecton battling to tie up their sets and give the Buffs hope, Forster turned up the heat and dominated the second set with a 6-3 win and leaving Colorado to control its fate.
The win over No.12 Cal is the first such win since Colorado defeated No.12 William and Mary in 2007. The only high-ranked win came in 1980 against No.3 Trinity. This is the highest-ranked conference win, with the last such win coming against No.14-ranked Baylor in 2007. Not only is it the first win against a Pac-12 California-based school, it is the first time CU has scored more than two points against one of the teams in modern scoring history.
Colorado hopes to continue the magic against No.28 and two-time defending National Champion Stanford Sunday at 11 a.m.
Colorado 4, #12 California 3
1. #18 Haley Giavara (CAL) def. Sara Nayar (COLO) 6-4, 6-3
2. #43 Julia Rosenqvist (CAL) def. Antonia Balzert (COLO) 6-2, 6-3
3. Megan Forster (COLO) def. #26 Valentina Ivanov (CAL) 6-4, 6-3
4. Maria Campos (COLO) def. Hanna Viller Moeller (CAL) 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
5. Anna Bright def. Fleur Eggink (COLO) 6-3, 6-1
6. Ky Ecton (COLO) def. Erin Richardson (CAL) 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-0
1. Sara Nayar/Fleur Eggink (COLO) def. #40 Haley Giavara/Valentina Ivanov (CAL) 6-3
2. Anna Bright/Hanna Viller Moeller (CAL) def. Megan Forster/Antonia Balzert (COLO) 6-3
3. Maria Campos/Ky Ecton (COLO) def. Julia Rosenqvist/Erin Richardson (CAL) 6-3
California 6-2; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,2,1,3,6,4)