ATHENS, GA - The Clemson women's tennis team fell to UCLA in the NCAA Final Four on Saturday in Athens, GA. The fifth-seeded Tigers dropped a 4-0 decision to the ninth-seeded Bruins at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia. The Tigers end the season with a 26-4 overall record, while UCLA improves to 21-7 and will face the winner of the Stanford-Vanderbilt match to be played on Saturday afternoon in Athens. The Tiger women's tennis program's Final Four appearance on Saturday was the first for any women's athletic team in Clemson history.
"I would just like to thank the tournament committee. It was a great tournament," said Head Coach Nancy Harris. "Our hats are off to UCLA. They played great and we just weren't good enough to get the win today. Yesterday was just a really long day and we were really glad to get the win over Washington. UCLA was doing all the right things today. They just kept coming at us and coming at us. We just didn't seem to have our legs underneath us and have the usual bounce in our step today. I think we showed great depth in winning against Texas A&M and Washington."
In doubles play, the Tigers lost the doubles point for only the fourth time this season and for the first time in eight matches. At flight one, UCLA's 23rd-ranked Daniela Bercek and Lauren Fisher defeated 31st-ranked Daniela Alvarez and Maria Brito by a score of 8-1. Julie Coin and Alix Lacelarie of Clemson captured the flight two match with a 9-7 win over 43rd-ranked Jackie Carleton and Feriel Esseghir. At flight three, UCLA's Laura Gordon and Sarah Gregg rallied from a 5-1 deficit to edge the Tigers' Richele LeSaldo and Karen Rombouts by a score of 8-6, snapping Clemson's flight three six-match win streak.
UCLA took a 2-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-2 win at flight five singles, as Clemson's Ioana Paun was defeated by the Bruins' Laura Gordon. The Tigers' Alix Lacelarie fell to UCLA's Feriel Esseghir by a score of 6-2, 6-1 at flight three. Daniela Bercek clinched the match for the Bruins with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Clemson's Julie Coin at number one singles.
"This has been a great year," said LeSaldo. "We made history making the final four, but we still want more. Today is disappointing because we didn't want the season to end. We wanted to go all the way. But all the same, all the Clemson fans came out and were so supportive to us from the beginning of the season to now."