Monday, May 19, 2014

Stanford women lose heartbreaker in NCAA semis

Third-ranked Kristie Ahn, shown in the second round of the
NCAA Championships, lost to No. 1 Jamie Loeb of North
Carolina in the deciding match of today's semifinal.
Tri Nguyen/TriNguyenPhotography.com
   Kristie Ahn was one set from giving the Stanford women another dramatic victory in the NCAA Championships.
   Then the senior from Upper Saddle River, N.J., fell apart.
   Ahn, ranked third, lost to top-ranked Jamie Loeb of North Carolina 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles today in the deciding match of the Tar Heels' 4-3 semifinal victory over the defending champion Cardinal, seeded 11th, in Athens, Ga.
   "I knew if I kept my composure, like I did all match, I’d be able to slowly break her down and conserve my energy," Loeb, a freshman from Ossining, N.Y., told reporters. "Physically, I felt fine at the end of the match, and I think that played a big part."
   Seventh-seeded North Carolina (29-5) will meet No. 5 UCLA (26-2) for the title on Tuesday.  The Bruins whipped No. 8 Florida 4-0.
   Stanford, which overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 against sixth-seeded Cal in the round of 16, ended the team portion of its season at 20-3. The NCAA singles and doubles tournaments begin on Wednesday in Athens.
   The Cardinal fell behind 2-0 to North Carolina as sophomore Krista Hardebeck lost in straight sets at No. 2 singles for the third straight match. 
   With Stanford trailing 3-1, freshman Caroline Doyle of San Francisco and junior Ellen Tsay of Pleasanton won at No. 6 and No. 5 singles, respectively, to tie the match.
   Ahn, however, could not repeat her heroics in last year's final. She won the deciding match in three sets at No. 2 singles to give Stanford a 4-3 victory over Texas A&M.
   The men's semifinals featured two freshmen from the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Top-seeded USC, with Connor Farren of Foster City, eliminated No. 4 seed and defending champion Virginia 5-1. Sixth-seeded UCLA, with Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont at No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles, lost to second-seeded Oklahoma 4-2. The Bruins reached last year's final.
  Farren and Roberto Quiroz defeated Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger 8-5 at No. 2 doubles. Styslinger won last year's NCAA doubles title with since-graduated Jarmere Jenkins. Farren did not play not play singles.
   McDonald, ranked 35th in singles, beat No. 41 Dane Webb 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3. The 10th-ranked team of Marcos Giron and McDonald lost to unseeded Axel Alvarez and Webb 8-6 at No. 1.
   USC will seek its fifth NCAA team title in six years on Tuesday. Oklahoma -- coached by John Roddick, Andy's older brother -- will make its first appearance in the final.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
In Athens, Ga.
Women's semifinals
North Carolina 4, Stanford 3
Doubles
   1. No. 3 Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter (NC) def. No. 10 Kristie Ahn and Carol Zhao, 8-5.
   2. No. 13 Whitney Kay and Caroline Price (NC) def. No. 50 Taylor Davidson and Ellen Tsay, 8-2.
   3. Caroline Doyle and Krista Hardebeck (S) def. Ashley Dai and Tessa Lyons, 8-4.
   Order of finish: 2, 3, 1.
Singles
   1. No. 1 Jamie Loeb (NC) def. No. 3 Kristie Ahn, 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-0.
   2. No. 5 Hayley Carter (NC) def. No. 51 Krista Hardebeck, 6-2, 6-1.
   3. No. 59 Caroline Price (NC) def. No. 21 Carol Zhao, 6-4, 6-4.
   4. No. 50 Taylor Davidson (S) def. Whitney Kay, 6-3, 6-3.
   5. No. 54 Ellen Tsay (S) def. Kate Vialle, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
   6. No. 57 Caroline Doyle (S) def. Tessa Lyons, 6-2, 6-3.
   Order of finish: 2, 4, 3, 6, 5, 1.

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