'Hoos Season Ends With Loss in NCAA Quarterfinals

Defending NCAA champion Stanford defeated No. 3 seed Virginia 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship on Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

The Cavaliers end their season with a school-best 24-6 record, while No. 11 Stanford improves to 20-2 and plays North Carolina in the semifinals on Monday.

Virginia, who made its first NCAA quarterfinal appearance in school history, received singles wins from sophomores Danielle Collins and Maci Epstein in the loss.

“I’m really proud of our team,” Virginia head coach Mark Guilbeau said. “I give credit to Stanford. I think we let the tradition of Stanford get us a little bit early in the match in doubles and that might have been one of the best points for us to win. You could see how tough our kids are, but it’s really not easy to play from behind. I know this loss hurts, but we’ll learn from it. I’m already looking a little bit ahead, but certainly want to respect today and the season, but we’re optimistic and confident with what we have ahead of us.”

Stanford took the doubles point and freshmen Taylor Davidson, Caroline Doyle and Carol Zhao claimed singles wins for the Cardinal.

The Cardinal captured the doubles point with wins at Nos. 1 and 2. No. 10 Kristie Ahn and Zhao beat Stephanie Nauta and Li Xi 8-2 on court one before Collins and Epstein answered with an 8-2 win over Doyle and Amelia Herring on court three. Stanford clinched the point when No. 50 Davidson and Ellen Tsay beat No. 7 Julia Elbaba and Rachel Pierson 8-5 on court two.

Stanford took a 2-0 lead with No. 50 Davidson’s 6-4, 6-1 win over No. 76 Pierson on court four. No. 32 Collins sliced the lead in half with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 51 Krista Hardebeck on court two and Epstein tied the score at 2-2 with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 win over No. 54 Tsay on court five.

The Cardinal gained a 3-2 advantage with No. 57 Doyle’s 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 win over Caryssa Peretz on court six. No. 21 Zhao clinched the win with a 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4) win over No. 53 Nauta on court three. No. 4 Elbaba led No. 3 Ahn 7-5, 4-4 when the match was clinched.

“We have some of the toughest kids in the country on our team,” Collins said. “I know we didn’t get to finish the way we wanted to. We went down with good heart and good energy, and that’s all you really can ask for.”

Elbaba, Collins, Nauta and Pierson will compete in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship beginning May 21. Elbaba, Collins and Nauta will compete in singles and Elbaba and Pierson will compete in doubles.

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