May 9, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - In what will surely go down as one of the best first-round matches of the 2014 NCAA Women's Tennis Championship, the Princeton Tigers rallied from behind to defeat Arizona State, 4-3, in first-round action on Friday at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. The match, which lasted five hours, was the Ivy League Champions' first win in program history in the NCAA tournament.
"The big thing we reiterated to the girls was to compete hard," said Princeton head coach Laura Granville. "We told them every single point to give it all you have, and we did that across the board. We are really happy and proud for them."
The Tigers (19-5) trailed 1-0 after dropping a close doubles point to the Sun Devils (18-8) with losses on courts one and three. Princeton would first, however, win on court two by an 8-5 decision. Trailing 5-4, the Tigers' Amanda Muliawan and Emily Hahn came back to take the final four-straight games for the victory over the Sun Devils' Kassidy Jump and Joanna Smith. On court three, Arizona State's Ebony Panoho and Alexandra Osborne used an early advantage in the tiebreaker to help them to an 8-7(3) decision over Dorothy Tang and Joan Cannon, leaving the point up to the matchup on court one. The Sun Devils' Desirae Krawczyk and Leighann Sahagun broke to take a 7-5 lead late in the match, however Princeton's Lindsay Graff and Alanna Wolff countered in the next game to break back. Krawczyk and Sahagun broke yet again to take the match, 8-6, awarding Arizona State the 1-0 lead.
In singles, the Sun Devils won four of six first sets and would take a 3-1 lead with victories on courts four and five following a win from the Tigers' Muliawan, 7-5, 6-4, on court three. Graff then gave Princeton its second point of the match, winning 7-5, 6-4 on court one over 69th-ranked Stephanie Vlad. The remaining two matches would go into third sets as the Tigers came back to split sets on both.
First to finish was the matchup on court six, which featured a second-set tiebreaker that Princeton's Katie Goepel would win, 7-6(9), over Gussie O'Sullivan, who dominated the first set, 6-1. In the third, it was all Goepel, who closed it out by a score of 6-2. At that point all attention would turn to court two, which was locked at 3-3 in the third set. Wolff earned, what would end up being, a pivotal break in the next game and served for the match and team win to take it 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 over Krawczyk.
"This feels great," said Wolff. "Coming into it we felt we could do it, but it's awesome that we actually did it."
Arizona State advances to the second round and will take on the winner of the match between Alabama and Jackson State at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday.