Upsets Prominent on Day Two of 2014 ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship
Top three seeds fall in quarterfinals
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (Feb. 8) - The top three seeds at the 2014 ITA Division I Women's National Team Indoor Championship fell on Saturday at Boar's Head Sports Club, leaving fourth-seeded UCLA, sixth-seeded Cal, seventh-seeded Duke and unseeded Northwestern left to contend for the championship.
The ITA Division I Women's Experimental Format is being used for all matches at the event. This format consists of all sets in singles and doubles played to six games, with regular scoring and a tiebreak at 6-all. However, if a singles match splits sets, a match tiebreak will be played in lieu of a third set. An FAQ is also available on the ITA website, with answers to frequently asked questions regarding the experimental formats being played this spring.
Here's how the quarterfinal matches unfolded on Saturday:
Duke 4, North Carolina 2
Duke celebrates its 4-2 upset win against UNC
The Blue Devils and Tar Heels are familiar foes, and the draw set them up for a quarterfinal clash. Duke grabbed the doubles point, with Beatrice Capra and Hanna Mar first winning at first doubles; then Annie Mulholland and Marianne Jodoin clinched the point with a win at third doubles. Tar Heel Hayley Carter, who clinched her team's first round win, quickly routed Duke's Chalena Scholl 6-2, 6-2 to level the match at 1-1.
Duke took the lead when Rachel Kahan won at fifth singles and then No. 3 Capra handed No. 2 Jamie Loeb just her second loss of the season and collegiate career, 6-4, 6-4.
The first match-up between Capra and Loeb was a hard-hitting, competitive battle. In the first set, Capra grabbed the lead first, breaking Loeb to go up 3-2. Loeb broke right back at love, helped by a Capra double fault. From that stage, there were three more breaks in a row before Capra was able to hold. Serving for the set at 5-4, Capra fell behind 0-40, but fought back to deuce and grabbed the first set on her first chance, 6-4. In set two, both players continued their aggressive play, and held serve until 3-3. Capra, who was 16-3 this season heading into the match, then, broke for a 4-3 lead as she neared the win. The next game was a battle. Capra fought off a break back point and needed five game points to solidify the break. The Blue Devil had a match point on Loeb's serve, but the freshman held for 4-5, forcing Capra to serve for the match, which she did for the 6-4, 6-4 win.
Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth said Capra bounced back well from a loss yesterday (to Emina Bektas of Michigan). "She played well and she didn't let her loss yesterday affect her today, and that was a big thing when you have to come out the next day. She'd never had the chance to play Jamie before, so I think she went out there focused from the first point. They are definitely two of the better players in the country."
With Duke now leading 3-1, the remaining three singles matches were all in match tiebreaks. Caroline Price kept the Tar Heels in the match with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 victory over No. 45 Ester Goldfeld, but No. 49 Mar then outlasted No. 88 Whitney Kay at third singles to seal the Blue Devil's advancement to the semifinals.
Ashworth said his team was focused on being aggressive and played with nothing to lose. "We talked about having to step up in the court and not waiting for something to happen and take control." When asked about the rivalry, he said. "Anytime we play them here, NCAAs, a friendly match down the street, whatever it is, it's always a battle. They are such a good team and they showed that today and they showed that last year. Our goal was to go on the court and play free. We weren't defending anything so we had nothing to lose."
The Blue Devils will next face California, who ousted No. 3 seed Georgia.
Cal players cheer on teammate Maegan Manasse
Cal 4, Georgia 3
Cal rattled off three straight wins at fourth, second and fifth singles, respectively. At second singles, Cal's Denise Starr (ITA No. 15) won the first set and had a 4-3 lead in the second, but was broken. She lost three straight games and the second set, but was able to recover and win the match tiebreak, 10-7.
Klara Fabikova (Cal) used her powerful return and forehand to tip the match in favor of the Golden Bears, winning 7-5, 7-5 to give Cal a 3-2 edge. After Georgia's Lauren Herring evened the match at 3-all, the match relied on the result of the sixth singles match.
Cal freshman Maegan Manasse trailed 5-3 in the first set, but fought back to force a tiebreak. Manasse completed the first-set comeback, winning 7-5 in the tiebreak over fellow freshman Mia King. With a set in hand, Manasse settled in. She faced several breaks at 2-all, but saved all of them. Manasse broke King at 4-3, then held serve for a 7-6 (3), 6-3 win and a semifinal bid for the Golden Bears.
"We had two freshman out there and this is their first experience with that," Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. "They were amazing, especially Maegan (Manasse) at the end. One of the things I love about her is how she loves to compete for the team. She loves it and thrives off it."
Manasse could be seen collecting herself between points, turning her back to the court for an extended time.
"We've been working on it a little bit," Augustus said. "You have that 20 seconds in between points and it's really important to make sure you've forgotten about the last point before you play the next one."
The Golden Bears' win avenges a 4-1 loss to Georgia at this tournament last year and sets up a semifinal with Duke on Sunday.
UCLA 4, USC 0
UCLA's Robin Anderson won both her matches on Saturday
The fourth-seeded UCLA Bruins took on familiar foe USC in the afternoon match-up. After a straightforward 6-2 win at first singles by ITA Doubles No. 1 team Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady over USC's Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian, the remaining doubles matches were dramatic.
USC leveled the doubles action, as No. 3 Brynn Boren and Zoe Katz ousted Chanelle Van Nguyen and Courtney Dolehide of UCLA, 6-4. The point rode on the last match, and Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips fought off a match point to clinch the doubles point 7-6 (7) over No. 7 Giuliana Olmos and Zoe Scandalis.
Bruin coach Stella Sampras Webster said her team was lucky to win the doubles. "It was very intense. We were very fortunate to win that tiebreaker so I think that really helped us going into singles, as we know USC is so strong in singles."
With the 1-0 lead under their belt, the Bruins kept the momentum and secured a return to the semifinals with three straight-set wins. First, No. 36 Kyle McPhillips ousted No. 60 Giuliana Olmos and then nearly simultaneously, ITA Singles No. 1 Robin Anderson beat No. 13 Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlin Ray defeated Ellie Yates 6-1, 6-2 to clinch the 4-0 win.
Anderson was sharp in her win, and Sampras Webster said the junior has been working hard to get keeping better. "She's really taken her game to another level. She worked really hard this summer and trained and played a lot of tournaments. She's come in with a good focus and she's working harder and she understands what she needs to work on. She's really doing a great job at No. 1 for us."
Next up for the Bruins is Northwestern, who has ousted two seeds on its way to the semis, and Sampras Webster said they will be prepared. "We will prepare like we do every match. Claire (Pollard) is a great coach and they will be ready. We are just happy to play as many matches here as we can and get as many wins as we can because everyone is so tough. We are happy to be in the semifinals and have another opportunity to be in the final."
The Bruins ousted the Wildcats in the quarterfinals of their 2012 ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship title run.
Northwestern freshman Maddie Lipp won in her first dual match appearance this season
Northwestern 4, Florida 2
The Northwestern Wildcats backed up their upset from Friday by ousting top-seeded Florida 4-2 to advance to the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship semifinals. The Wildcats planted the idea of upset in the Gators' mind by winning the doubles point.
The Wildcats took another step toward the upset when freshman Jillian Rooney powered past No. 27 Sofie Oyen, giving Northwestern a 2-0 edge. Gator Olivia Janowicz rebounded from a loss yesterday to win at first singles and get Florida on the board. After Florida knotted up the team score, tension rose across the courts.
Freshman Maddie Lipp, playing in her first dual match of the season, frequently attacked the net against her opponent. Lipp trailed 4-5, but rattled off three straight games with her aggressive approaches to put Northwestern ahead 3-2.
With two matches left on court, it was No. 105 Belinda Niu who finished the upset at No. 2 singles. Niu broke at 3-2 in the second set en route to a 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory, clinching her second match for the Wildcats in as many days.
Northwestern head coach Claire Pollard raved about her senior leader. "Belinda is so tough mentally and so resilient, she said. "She brings a feisty energy to our program. I love what Belinda does for our energy and our attitude. I pointed out to my younger girls, 'I hope you realize what our seniors do for our program.'"
"They played about as good a match as we could," Pollard added. "Even though I felt that we had some momentum and control of the match, you're never out of the clear. Any time you can beat one of the most decorated programs in the history of our sport, it feels really good."
Northwestern is slated to play UCLA in the second semifinal tomorrow.
In Saturday's consolation action, Virginia returned to its winning ways with a 4-0 triumph over Texas A&M, Clemson bested Michigan 4-2, Miami sneaked out a 4-3 win over Vanderbilt and Alabama scored a 4-1 victory over Texas.
Action at the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship will begin on Sunday at 9am with consolation matches. Main draw action starts at noon tomorrow, with the second semifinal set to start at 3:30 pm.
For complete coverage of the 2014 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship, including access to draws, live streaming, live scores and more, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, or like the ITA Facebook page for news and photos from Charlottesville. Use the hashtag #ITAIndoors for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term "ITAIndoors" to find others who are tweeting about the 2014 ITA Women's National Team Indoor Championship, Feb. 7-10.
About the ITA Experimental Format
About the ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship
The ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship is held annually each February and has been held since 1988. The tournament features 16 participating teams: the 15 schools who won both of their matches during the 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend and the host site school. The tournament is held over four days, and begins on Friday with first round play, followed by quarterfinals on Saturday, semifinals on Sunday and the final on Monday.