May 28, 2006
Stanford, Calif. -
Although it was a rough day for the Cardinal in Palo Alto, the Pac-10 fared well, as both women's singles finalists hail from conference schools with Cal and Southern California set to square off at noon. On the doubles side, Northwestern and Fresno State both advanced, setting the stage for Monday's 2 p.m. doubles championship.
The singles championship will be an all Pac-10 affair, as Cal's Suzi Babos and USC's Lindsey Nelson both advanced to tomorrow's final match with victories this afternoon in the semifinals. It is the first NCAA women's singles final to feature two unseeded players.
Babos, a sophomore from Sopron, Hungary, began the season ranked No. 2, but fell to No. 27 as she entered the tournament. She defeated Stanford junior Theresa Logar in the semifinals, 6-4, 3-6 6-2, today to improve to 31-13 on the year and earn a spot in her first NCAA title match. Logar ends her season with a 39-6 record. Last season, Babos was named the 2005 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and was selected as the ITA National Player to Watch, which goes to a player expected to win a national title later in her collegiate career. The last Golden Bear to reach the semifinals was Lisa Albano in 1991, she also advanced to the championship, although no Cal player has ever won the singles championship.
Nelson, a sophomore from Villa Park, Calif., improved to 25-8 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over William & Mary's Megan Moutlon-Levy in the semifinals today. She was ranked No. 9 in the preseason polls, although she entered this tournament ranked No. 18 in the nation after jumping 34 spots in the final two ranking periods. Nelson is the first USC player to reach the semis since Jewel Peterson in 2003 and just the second Trojan to reach the final, joining 1983 champ Beth Herr.
In doubles, Northwestern's Cristelle Grier and Alexis Prousis knocked off top-seeded Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey of Stanford this afternoon, the final Stanford entrants remaining in the individual tournament. The Wildcats will take on Lucia Sainz and Katharina Winterhalter of Fresno State, after the Bulldogs dispatched North Carolina's Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long.
Grier and Prousis are ranked No. 13 in the nation and improved to 31-7 with today's win as they extended their win streak to 14 matches. Barnes, the 2005 NCAA Doubles Champion and Yelsey, the 2005 NCAA Doubles Runner-Up, finish the season with a 42-4 record. They are the first Northwestern pair to advance to the finals since 1987, when Katrina Adams and Diane Donnelly won the title.
Sainz and Winterhalter are ranked No. 7 in the nation and own a 39-11 record this season, although they had lost their last three matches entering the NCAAs. The duo helped Fresno State to a second round upset over Cal in the NCAA Team Championship at Berkeley. The duo are the first NCAA Doubles finalists from Fresno State.