CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Utah (12-10) earned the school’s first NCAA tournament victory Friday in dramatic fashion, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to upset Texas Tech (19-6), 4-3, in the first round of the 2012 NCAA tournament in Coral Gables, Fla. Sophomore Lucia Kovarcikova earned the match-clinching point for the Utes by defeating Kenna Kilgo 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 5 singles spot.
“Ironically, this match came down to Lucia just like last time and she kept her composure on a very hot day,” said head coach Mat Iandolo. “Moving to the Regional Final is a new step for our program.”
Down 3-0 after dropping the doubles point singles matches at the No. 2 and No. 6 positions, Utah got its first point from 54th-ranked senior Anastasia Putilina as she defeated Elizabeth Ullathorne 6-2, 6-4, at the No. 1 position. Freshman Danielle Flores then topped Caroline Starck 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 4 spot, cutting the Red Raider’s lead to 3-2.
Next up, sophomore Callie Craig bested Rashmi Teltumbde at the No 3. Position, 6-4, 6-3, tying up the score at 3-3 and setting Kovarcikova up for the match clincher.
In doubles play, the duo of Flores and freshman Natasha Smith dropped an 8-6 decision to Starck and Nikki Sanders at the No. 2 positions. The team of Kovarcikova and sophomore Sarah Pham fell to Ullathorne and Teltumbde 8-6 at the No. 3 spot, giving Texas Tech the doubles point.
The 87th-ranked duo of Putilina and Craig were up 8-7 at the No. 1 doubles spot against the 19th-ranked team of Kilgo and Samantha Adams when their match was halted.
In singles play, Pham dropped a 6-4, 6-1, decision to 117th-ranked Adams at the No. 2 position, while Smith fell to Sanders 6-3, 6-1, at the No. 6 spot, putting the Red Raiders up 3-0.