No. 16 'Dogs Beat Sun Devils, Sweet 16 Bound
May 10, 2008
FRESNO,. Calif. - The 16th-ranked Fresno State women's tennis team is Sweet 16 bound after defeating No. 21 Arizona State 4-1 at the Wathen Tennis Center on Saturday in front of hundreds of Bulldog faithful. Fresno State is now heading to its third-straight NCAA Round of 16 and will face No. 1 Northwestern on Thursday in Tulsa, Okla.
"ASU is a very tough team and we played them very well," head coach Simon Thibodeau said. "We had great support from the crowd who brought a lot of enthusiasm to the match."
The doubles point was decided in a huge victory on court No. 2 by Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova. Ranked 33rd in the country, Kucerkova and Petukhova defeated No. 50-ranked Jessica Leitch and Wendy Pilecka in a tiebreaker, winning 9-8.
"The doubles point was huge for our team and I am very proud that Anastasia and Renata battled so hard to win," Thibodeau said.
Playing at the No. 1 spot in singles, 16th-ranked Gloria had an early win, defeating 23rd-ranked Nadia Abdala in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.
Kucerkova played at the No. 3 spot and had a solid victory against Laila Abdala, defeating her 6-1, 6-3.
The crowd excitement began to rise as the 'Dogs closed in on the clinching match. Both Petukhova and Rowe were in third sets leading 5-0 and 5-3, respectively.
The crowd went back and forth between watching the two matches, and Rowe came out on top and finished her match defeating Jessica Leitch 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, to ensure the win for the Bulldogs.
Rowe lost the first set and was down in the second set, but she battled and came out with the win.
Petukhova did not get to finish her match, but she battled in three sets. She won the first set 6-3, lost the second set 4-6, but then came back determined with a 5-1 lead when Rowe clinched the match.
"It's all about working together as a team, I was glad to help my team to victory," Rowe said. "We are all out there fighting for each other."
The Bulldogs now advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the third-straight year and the fourth time in five years. They will play No. 1 Northwestern on Thursday, May 15. Earlier in the year, the 'Dogs lost to Northwestern 4-1 at the ITA National Team Indoors in Madison, Wisconsin.
Top-ranked Northwestern made an early statement in the NCAA Championships this weekend, sweeping 4-0 victories over both Illinois-Chicago and Indiana. Since the NCAA tennis tournament began in 1982, the Wildcats now will make their 14th all-time appearance in the round of 16. Northwestern has advanced to the quarterfinal fourth-round three times in program history (1986, 87, 2006). This year will mark the 'Cats fifth-consecutive trip to the third round. In 2006, the Wildcats reached the quarterfinals for the first time in 19 years.
NCAA Tennis Championships (NCAA Second Round)
No. 16 Fresno State def. No. 21 Arizona State, 4-1
Doubles (Fresno State wins doubles point)
Records: Fresno State (22-7); Arizona State (15-8)