Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gibbs heads NorCal contigent in NCAA D-I singles

Stanford's Nicole Gibbs, playing Serena Williams in the Bank
of the West Classic on Gibbs' home court last July, will defend
her NCAA singles and doubles titles. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Nine women and three men from Northern California earned singles berths in the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships to be played later this month in Urbana, Ill.
   Heading the list is women's defending champion Nicole Gibbs of Stanford. The junior from Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area is seeded only No. 9-16 with a national ranking of No. 13 because she played professional tournaments (as an amateur) rather than college events last fall. That reduced her opportunities to beat top college players, the basis of the rankings.
   Joining Gibbs from the Cardinal in the 64-player women's field are unseeded Kristie Ahn, a junior from Upper Saddle River, N.J., and Krista Hardebeck, a freshman from the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Ana. Hardebeck reached the singles final in last week's Pac-12 Championships, losing 6-1, 6-0 to UCLA freshman Kyle McPhillips.
   Cal also will send three women to the May 22-27 singles event. Zsofi Susanyi, a sophomore from Hungary, is seeded fifth, and Anett Schutting, a junior from Estonia, is eighth. Susanyi reached the NCAA semifinals last year. Klara Fabikova, a freshman from the Czech Republic, is unseeded.
   Three other schools in the San Francisco Bay Area will send one player each. San Jose State's Klaudia Boczova, a sophomore from Slovakia, and Saint Mary's Jenny Jullien, a junior from France, were named the Players of the Year in the Western Athletic Conference and West Coast Conference, respectively. Katie Le, a junior from Milpitas in the Bay Area, will represent Santa Clara. All three are unseeded.
   Among the 64 players in the men's singles event, also May 22-27, are Cal's Ben McLachlan, a junior from New Zealand; Stanford's John Morrissey, a sophomore from Ireland; and Sacramento State's Marek Marksoo, a sophomore from Estonia.
   Two Stanford pairs were selected for the 32-team women's doubles draw. Ahn and Gibbs are seeded 5-8; Stacey Tan, a senior from Lakewood in the Los Angeles area, and Ellen Tsay, a sophomore from Pleasanton in the Bay Area, are unseeded.
   Gibbs also won last year's NCAA doubles title with Mallory Burdette, who later decided to forgo her senior year and turn pro.
   The 32-team men's doubles field includes Cal's unseeded duo of Campbell Johnson, a junior from the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe, and Christoffer Konigsfeldt, a senior from Denmark.
   West Coast Conference -- In addition to Jullien being named the Player of the Year, Andrea Ka of USF was selected as the Freshman of the Year and Ben Cabell of Santa Clara as the Co-Coach of the Year with Gualberto Escudero of Pepperdine.
   Jullien (15-6) is ranked No. 23; Ka (18-5), also from France, is No. 82. Both were named first-team All-WCC, along with Le. Other players receiving conference honors included:
   --Sofia Holmberg (USF) and Catherine Isip (Saint Mary's), second-team singles.
   --Jade Frampton and Audrey Leitz (both Saint Mary's) and Kelly Lamble (Santa Clara), honorable-mention singles.
   --Jullien and Danielle Flores (Saint Mary's), first-team doubles.
   --Jessica Agra-Le (Santa Clara) and Ka-Holmberg (USF), second-team doubles.
   --Frampton-Liz Searl and Isip-Leitz (both teams Saint Mary's) and Marina Nikolic-Brooke Irish (USF), honorable-mention doubles.

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