May 28, 2012
ATHENS, Ga.- For the third year in a row, the NCAA doubles trophy belongs to Stanford.
After battling for nearly three hours in the singles final, Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs shook off fatigue to claim the doubles title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Georgia's Nadja Gilchrist and Chelsey Gullickson on Monday afternoon at the 2012 NCAA Tennis Championships.
About the only resistance Burdette and Gibbs encountered was a pre-match shift to the indoor courts after heavy rain ended any possibility of playing the match outside in the stadium.
Instead, Burdette and Gibbs cruised to a relatively easy win over the team of Gilchrist and Gullickson, which was playing in front of its home crowd.
In addition to Monday's doubles win, Stanford's top players now boast other notable achievements that place them in exclusive company.
Gibbs becomes only the third Stanford player to claim collegiate singles and doubles championships during the same season, with Kathy Jordan capturing AIAW titles in 1979 and Linda Gates pulling off the NCAA double in 1985. Gibbs defeated Burdette 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the singles final earlier today.
Burdette added a second NCAA doubles title to her resume, after teaming with Hilary Barte to win the 2011 title. Burdette becomes the seventh player in school history to win at least two collegiate doubles crowns but only the third player to accomplish the feat in NCAA competition (joining Barte and Linda Gates).
Monday's championship matches represented a historic day for the Stanford women's tennis program. It was the first time in NCAA men's or women's tennis history that teammates squared off in the singles final before later pairing up in the doubles title match.
Burdette and Gibbs (No. 2 national rank, No. 2 NCAA seed) were simply dominant during the postseason. The All-American duo did not drop a set and surrendered four games or more in a set to their opponents only twice.
After cruising to a 6-2 victory in the first set, Burdette and Gibbs moved ahead 3-1 in the second set. Georgia's duo of Gilchrist and Gullickson managed to hang close, creeping to within 4-3 and 5-4.
Burdette and Gibbs then broke serve and locked up the second frame at 6-4 to secure the championship.
Stanford has now produced the last three NCAA doubles championship teams, with Barte and Lindsay Burdette claiming the crown in 2010 before Barte and Mallory Burdette took home the hardware last year.
Burdette and Gibbs bring home Stanford's 15th overall collegiate doubles title in school history, and eighth since the since the NCAA adopted its current format in 1982.
Also capturing NCAA doubles crowns for Stanford were: Linda Gates/Elise Burgin in 1984, Linda Gates/Leigh Anne Eldredge in 1985, Meredith McGrath/Teri Whitlinger in 1990, Lauren Kalvaria/Gabriela Lastra in 2002, Alice Barnes/Erin Burdette in 2005, Barte/Lindsay Burdette in 2010 and Barte/Mallory Burdette in 2011.
Winning doubles titles prior to 1982 were: Linda Yeomans/Carol Hanks (1962), Jane Albert/Julie Anthony (1967), Susie Hagey/Diane Morrison (1976), Susie Hagey/Diane Morrison (1977), Barbara Jordan/Kathy Jordan (1978), Kathy Jordan/Alycia Moulton (1979) and Caryn Copeland/Alycia Moulton (1981).
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NOTES: Burdette and Gibbs wrapped up the year 35-5 overall, 18-2 in duals, 17-3 in tournament play and 18-4 against nationally-ranked opponents ... The Cardinal's top duo also ended the year having won eight of its last 10 matches ... Monday's doubles final was a rematch, as Burdette and Gibbs defeated Gilchrist and Gullickson 8-1 back on Oct. 8 in the semifinals of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships ... Pairing up together this year as for the first time, Burdette and Gibbs opened the season by claiming the title at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships ... The duo also earned a runner-up finish at the Pac-12 Championships in April ... The only doubles teams to defeat Burdette and Gibbs this year were the following: Notre Dame's Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews, USC's Valeria Pulido/Zoe Scandalis, UCLA's Robin Anderson/Skylar Morton and USC's Kaitlyn Christian/Sabrina Santamaria.
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"I think we came out really strong. After the singles match, we were both feeling the ball well in our returns and Mallory was doing a great job, as always, of cutting balls of at the net, and that's when we're at our best."
On the advantages of having already played some today...
"It gets rid of some of the jitters. We had no real nerves going into the doubles because we had already been out on the stage earlier today."
"I think we played great from the very beginning today. We were super solid on returns and we had a few dips here and there with our first serve percentage, but all in all, just solid, aggressive doubles, which is the way we like to play."
On the decision to move indoors...
"I thought it was great. I love fast courts and I like people who hit hard. I want to use their pace and make something out of it. I loved it in there, it was great."
On what factors caused the match to be a quick one...
"Our aggressive play, I think. We make it really tough on our opponents when we make a lot of first serves and a lot of returns. We make them play every single point and we put pressure on them by moving around at the net. I think we do a great job of that."
Head Coach Lele Forood
On the coaching approach in doubles...
"I think Frankie (Brennan) and I both have our things that we like to get across and I think we were keen on both getting some things heard. I'm sure we didn't overwhelm the girls, but it was kind of fun."
On Stanford's historic day...
"Today's probably one of the biggest days in our program's history. It's very exciting, especially because no one's graduating. So, we go forward from here. It's quite an amazing day. It's hard to play your teammate in such a big moment and then to come back and double with them to a title is a testament to how mature they both are and that they could do what they had to do today."
Georgia's Nadja Gilchrist
"I actually would have prepared to have been outside. Our indoor courts are a little faster so the first couple of games started off a little rocky for us. Chelsey and I learn to adjust, and in the end I don't think it really mattered but I think I would have preferred to play outside. I was feeling my ground shots a little bit. It's kind of hard because in the last game I wasn't serving as well as I had the rest of the week. My volleys were definitely a little shaky during the match."
Georgia's Chelsey Gullickson
"You could tell that they were warmed up from their singles match. Nadja and I just kind of started off slow a little bit. I think Nadja was definitely hitting her ground strokes well. I think one thing that we were doing really well earlier in the week was our returns, I think that really helped get us here. Today we just missed a lot of easy returns that we should have made. I think, personally for me, I missed a few volley opportunities that could have changed the course of the match a little but that didn't go the way I wanted to."
Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace
"Unfortunately, we ran into a Stanford team that just really played well. Obviously those two were in the singles final against each other and sometimes when you're on a roll, you just hit shots and think that everything is going to go in. That's really what they did today and they played great."
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No. 2 Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs
First Round: d. No. 50 Hilary Bartlett/Lindsay Graff (Princeton) 6-1, 6-1
Round of 16: d. No. 26 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (Rice) 6-2, 6-2
Quarterfinals: d. No. 32 Lorraine Guillermo/Khunpak Issara (Pepperdine) 6-1, 6-3
Semifinals: d. No. 10 Natalie Pluskota/Kata Szekely (Tennessee) 7-6 (1), 6-1
Championship: d. No. 27 Nadja Gilchrist/Chelsey Gullickson (Georgia) 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 Nicole Gibbs
First Round: d. No. 22 Emily Fraser (Virginia) 6-0, 6-2
Second Round: d. No. 21 Joanna Mather (Florida) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Round of 16: d. No. 35 Natalie Pluskota (Tennessee) 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6)
Quarterfinals: d. No. 8 Jana Juricova (California) 6-2, 7-5
Semifinals: d. No. 1 Allie Will (Florida) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Championship: d. No. 5 Mallory Burdette (Stanford) 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3
No. 5 Mallory Burdette
First Round: d. No. 120 Maria Craciun (South Carolina State) 6-1, 6-1
Second Round: d. No. 17 Denise Dy (Washington) 6-1, 6-2
Round of 16: d. No. 14 Zoe Scandalis (USC) 6-0, 6-3
Quarterfinals: d. No. 2 Beatrice Capra (Duke) 6-3, 6-2
Semifinals: d. No. 13 Zsofi Susanyi (California) 6-2, 6-2
Championship: lost to No. 3 Nicole Gibbs (Stanford) 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3