May 22, 1998
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South Bend, Ind. - The top-ranked and second-seeded Stanford women's tennis team survived a scare from Wake Forest in today's quarterfinals, defeating the upset-minded Demon Deacons 5-2 to advance to the semifinals of the 1998 NCAA Team Championships, hosted by the University of Notre Dame. The defending national champion Cardinal, which improved to 26-1 on the season and 16-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament quarterfinal play, will face third-seeded Duke, a 6-0 winner over Mississippi, in the semifinals. Stanford has reached the semifinals in 16 of the previous 17 NCAA Tournaments, including 13 straight appearances. The match is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. (CST). The other semifinal will pit top-seeded Florida against No. 4 seed Georgia. The victory over No. 13 Wake Forest, which ended its season 18-9, was Stanford's 21st in 22 matches against ranked opponents.
Senior Ania Bleszynski (Thousand Oaks, CA/Harvard-Westlake HS) put the Cardinal on the board first with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Dorothee Kurz at the No. 4 singles position. With the victory, Bleszynski, who won her 100th career match yesterday against Tennessee, upped her season record to 31-7 to her career high for singles season wins, matching her 31 wins in the 1995-96 season.
After sophomore Anne Kremer cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over 62nd-ranked Mariel Verban at the No. 1 slot to extend Stanford's lead to 2-0, the match got tight. Senior captain suffered Julie Scott, currently ranked seventh in the nation, suffered a rare loss, losing to #66 Lule Aydin in straight sets 6-0, 6-4.
Having drawn within 2-1, Wake Forest was in position to possibly tie or take the lead as Nicole Kaiwai was serving for match point (5-3 in the third) against Stanford's Teryn Ashley at No. 3 and Jackie Houston and the Cardinal's Sarah Pestieau were tied 5-5 in the second with Houston having captured the first set. Ashley (Chestnut Hill, MA/Brookline HS) came through with what proved to be the pivotal match in Stanford's win. Down 5-3, Ashley rallied to tie the match at 5-5, fell behind 6-5, and then rallied again to take a grueling 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (2) win. Ashley broke Kaiwai's serve at both 5-3 and 6-5 to hold off defeat. The victory, Ashley's team-leading 41st of the season (against eight losses), gave the Cardinal a little breathing room with a 3-1 lead.
Sophomore Jennifer Heiser (Stockton, CA/Lincoln HS) ended the scare by defeating Annemarie Milton 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 at No. 6 to bring the Cardinal within one point of the semifinals. The win was Heiser's 12th consecutive dual match win and improved her overall record to 34-5 (25-2 dual match). Forced to play doubles for the first time in six NCAA Tournament matches, the nation's seventh-ranked tandem of Scott and Bleszynski clinched the Cardinal victory with an 8-4 win over Aydin and Verban at No. 2.
Stanford 5, Wake Forest 2
Anne Kremer (S) def. Mariel Verban, 6-1, 6-2;
Lule Aydin (W) def. Julie Scott, 6-1, 6-4;
Teryn Ashley (S) def. Nicola Kaiwai, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (2);
Ania Bleszynski (S) def. Dorothee Kurz, 6-2, 6-1;
Jackie Houston (W) def. Sarah Pestieau, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1;
Jen Heiser (S) def. Annemarie Milton, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
Ashley and Kremer (S) vs. Kaiwai and Kurz, DNP;
Bleszynski and Scott (S) def. Aydin and Verban, 8-4;
Heiser and Pestieau (S) vs. Caroline Ullring and Milton, DNP.