Feb. 21, 1998
MADISON, Wis.-- The seventh-ranked California women's tennis team took third-ranked Duke to the wire in Saturday's semifinals at the USTA/ITA Women's National Indoor Tennis Championship but came up just short as the Blue Devils had just enough to slip past the Bears, 5-4. With the loss, Cal's dual match record slipped to 8-1, while Duke improved to 6-0 with with the win and will face Stanford, a 5-2 winner over Georgia, in Sunday's WNITC final.
Although disappointing, the loss may have just shown how far the Bears have come after Duke easily defeated Cal in the 1997 NCAA Quarterfinal last season, 5-0. Cal, which was making its first appearance in the WNITC semifinals in eight tries, has also been without the services of the nation's No. 33 ranked player, Claire Curran, who has been on the shelf with an elbow injury since the end of December but is expected back in early March.
Like Friday's 5-4 victory over No. 16 Vanderbilt, Cal fell behind early but rallied in doubles as for the second day in a row the outcome was not be decided until the final match of the day.
Trailing 4-2 after singles, Amanda Augustus and Amy Jensen notched their 10th consecutive victory and again got things headed back in the right direction for Cal with an 8-5 victory over Vanessa Webb and Karen Goldstein at No. 1 doubles. Esther Knox and Anita Kurimay followed suit and remained undefeated as a doubles tandem with an easy 8-1 win that leveled the match at four all. With the contest in the balance, Jenny Lee and Francesca La'O took the court at No. 3 against Kathy Sell and Brook Siebel. The Duke twosome exploded to a 5-0 lead before La'O and Lee rallied back to tie things up at six games apiece. But Sell and Siebel proved to be too much in the end and held on to win the final two games, taking the match 8-6.
In singles action, the Cal highlights came from positions No. 2 and 6 where Knox posted her first win of the tournament with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Kristen Sanderson and Jensen registered her seventh straight win, defeating Siebel 6-1, 6-3.
The California women's tennis team will return to action this weekend when they are scheduled to square off with No. 29 Fresno State, Friday, Feb. 27 at 1:30 p.m., and No. 5 Stanford, Saturday, Feb. 28 at 12 noon. Both matches will be played at the Hellman Tennis Center on the Cal campus.
WOMEN'S INTERCOLLEGIATE TENNIS
FINAL SCORE: Duke 5
Singles No. 1 Vanessa Webb (Duke) def. Amanda Augustus (Cal) 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2 No. 2 Esther Knox (Cal) def. Kristen Sanderson (Duke) 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 No. 3 Karen Goldstein (Duke) def. Stephanie Tibbits (Cal) 6-3, 6-0 No. 4 Megan Miller (Duke) def. Anita Kurimay (Cal) 6-3, 6-3 No. 5 Kathy Sell (Duke) def. Francesca La'O (Cal) 6-1, 6-2 No. 6 Amy Jensen (Cal) def. Brooke Siebel (Duke) 6-1, 6-3 Doubles No. 1 Augustus/Jensen (Cal) def. Goldstein/Webb (Duke) 8-5 No. 2 Knox/Kurimay (Cal) def. Miller/Sanderson (Duke) 8-1 No. 3 Sell/Siebel (Duke) def. La'O/Jenny Lee (Cal) 8-6