CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Connie Ma's magical run at the NCAA Singles Championship came to a close on Saturday afternoon, dropping a 6-3, 6-2 match to No. 2 Peyton Stearns from Texas. Ma finishes as runner-up after Stanford made a championship appearance for the 23rd time in the 40 years of the tournament.
Ma became just the 14th unseeded player since event started in 1982 to advance to the championship match. She is the fifth freshman in Stanford history to advance to the championship match and first since Amber Liu in 2003.
For the first time all tournament, Ma dropped the first set, and could never find her groove against Stearns, a player she had defeated at the No. 1 spot back in February. All together, Ma took down opponents from UCF, Florida, USC, NC State and North Carolina en route to the second-place finish. She was the only freshman remaining in the quarterfinals of both the men's and women's draws.
Ma's overall record on the year finishes at 32-9, and joining with fellow rookie Alexandra Yepifanova's record of 34-8, Stanford boasts two freshman with over 30 wins on the season for the first time since 2011 (Nicole Gibbs 46, Kristie Ahn 36). Ma earned a team-high 15 victories against ranked opponents on the year.
Stanford boasts 14 NCAA singles champions all-time, its last coming in 2013 as Nicole Gibbs won her second straight title.
NCAA SINGLES FIRST ROUND
May 23: No. 26 Connie Ma (STAN) d. No. 116 Marie Mattel (UCF) 7-5, 6-3
May 23: No. 23 Alexandra Yepifanova (STAN) d. No. 68 Petra Sedlackova (ALA) 6-3, 6-1
NCAA SINGLES SECOND ROUND
May 24: No. 26 Connie Ma (STAN) d. No. 12 McCartney Kessler (FLA) 7-5, 6-4
May 24: No. 2 Peyton Stearns (TEX) d. No. 23 Alexandra Yepifanova (STAN) 7-5, 7-6(4)
NCAA SINGLES ROUND OF 16
May 25: No. 26 Connie Ma (STAN) d. No. 50 Salma Ewing (USC) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(6)
NCAA SINGLES QUARTERFINALS
May 26: No. 26 Connie Ma (STAN) d. No. 48 Abigail Rencheli (NCST) 6-2, 7-6(6)
NCAA SINGLES SEMIFINALS
May 27: No. 26 Connie Ma (STAN) d. No. 55 Fiona Crawley (UNC) 6-4, 6-4
NCAA SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP
May 28: No. 2 Peyton Stearns (TEX) d. No. 26 Connie Ma (STAN) 6-3, 6-2
NCAA DOUBLES FIRST ROUND
May 24: No. 11 Peyton Stearns/Allura Zamarripa (TEX) d. No. 19 Angelica Blake/Connie Ma (STAN) 6-4, 6-2