No. 12 Women's Tennis Upset By UCLA 4-3 In Second Round Of NCAA Tournament
May 13, 2001
FRESNO, Calif. - No. 12 Fresno State women's tennis was bounced from the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday afternoon, dropping a 4-3 decision to UCLA at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center. The Bulldogs, the tournament's No. 11 overall seed, closed their season with a 21-5 overall record, while UCLA improves their mark to 9-17 and avenged a 5-2 home loss on Feb. 23 to Fresno State earlier this season.
The loss marked the end of a stellar season for the Bulldogs, who won 21 matches under first-year head coach Kevin Epley and were ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation- the highest ever for the Fresno State women's tennis program.
UCLA, the region's No. 17-32 seed, took control of the match from the outset by winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. The Bulldog's No. 1 team of Simone Jardim and Kim Niggemeyer, ranked No. 6 nationally, lost for the first time since Apr. 7 at Pepperdine in their 8-6 defeat to the Bruin's Lauren Fisher and Petya Marinova, ranked No. 18 in the country. Jardim and Niggemeyer are now 24-4 overall and will be representing Fresno State in the NCAA Doubles Championships, which get underway later this month. Fresno State's No. 2 team of Liesl Fichtbauer and Courtney Jantz came up short in an 8-6 loss to UCLA's team of Mariko Fritz-Krockow and Sara Walker. Fresno State's No. 3 team of Chantel Wiggins and Kelly Ramirez were clinging to a 7-6 advantage before their match was abandoned. 4-5 The Bulldogs lost the doubles point for only the ninth time this season, including each of their five losses.
Fresno State evened the match at 1-1 when freshman Courtney Jantz cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 victory at No. 6 singles. The Bruins then bounced back to win consecutive matches at Nos. 4 and 5 to take a 3-1 lead. UCLA's Marinova recorded a 6-3, 7-5 triumph against junior Ewa Grusiecka at the No. 4 spot, while Fritz-Krockow bested Fresno State's Ramirez 6-4, 6-2 at No.5 to give the lead back to UCLA. Fichtbauer, ranked No. 44 nationally, followed with a clutch 6-1, 7-5 win against No. 88 Catherine Hawley of UCLA to cut the Bruin's lead to 3-2. Fichtbauer (32-6 overall, 21-4 dual) avenged a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 loss to Hawley on Oct. 15 at the Riviera All-American Championships.
With two matches remaining at Nos. 1 and 2, the Bulldogs would have to win both to secure the match victory. Jardim lost the first set of her match 6-4 against freshman Lauren Fisher, then stormed back to win the next two sets, 6-3 and 6-2, respectively, and deadlock the match at 3-3.
The final match to be decided was already in progress on center court. Fresno State's Niggemeyer, ranked No. 23 nationally, had claimed the first set 7-6 after winning the tiebreaker by an 8-6 score. UCLA's Walker, ranked No. 18, rallied back to win the final five games of the second set and send the match to a third set. Walker proceeded to dominate the final set by winning six straight games, repeatedly pounding groundstrokes past the Bulldog's No. 1 player for a 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-0 match-clinching victory.
UCLA advances to the Sweet 16 in Stone Mountain, Ga. where they will face No. 6 Vanderbilt on Thursday. The loss marks the second consecutive year Fresno State has lost in the second round to a Pac-10 opponent (the Bulldogs were defeated 5-1 by Stanford last season).
UCLA (9-17)- 4
Fresno State Final Singles Records:
***- denotes will be competing in the NCAA Singles Championship Tournament
Fresno State Final Doubles Records:
***- denotes will be competing in the NCAA Doubles Championship Tournament