ATHENS, Ga. — For the third year in a row, the NCAA doubles trophy belongs to Stanford.
After battling for nearly three hours in the singles final, Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs shook off fatigue to claim the doubles title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Georgia’s Nadja Gilchrist and Chelsey Gullickson on Monday afternoon at the 2012 NCAA Tennis Championships.
About the only resistance Burdette and Gibbs encountered was a pre-match shift to the indoor courts after heavy rain ended any possibility of playing the match outside in the stadium.
Instead, Burdette and Gibbs cruised to a relatively easy win against the team of Gilchrist and Gullickson, which was playing in front of its home crowd.
In addition to Monday’s doubles win, Stanford’s top players now boast other notable achievements that place them in exclusive company.
Gibbs becomes only the third Stanford player to claim collegiate singles and doubles championships during the same season, with Kathy Jordan capturing AIAW titles in 1979 and Linda Gates pulling off the NCAA double in 1985. Gibbs defeated Burdette 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the singles final earlier Monday.
Burdette added a second NCAA doubles title to her resume, after teaming with Hilary Barte to win the 2011 title. Burdette becomes the seventh player in school history to win at least two collegiate doubles crowns but only the third player to accomplish the feat in NCAA competition (joining Barte and Linda Gates).
Monday’s championship matches represented a historic day for the Stanford women’s tennis program. It was the first time in NCAA men’s or women’s tennis history that teammates squared off in the singles final before later pairing up in the doubles title match.
Burdette and Gibbs (No. 2 national rank, No. 2 NCAA seed) were simply dominant during the postseason. The All-American duo did not drop a set and surrendered four games or more in a set to their opponents only twice.
After cruising to a 6-2 victory in the first set, Burdette and Gibbs moved ahead 3-1 in the second set. Georgia’s duo of Gilchrist and Gullickson managed to hang close, creeping to within 4-3 and 5-4.
Burdette and Gibbs then broke serve and locked up the second frame at 6-4 to secure the championship.
Stanford has now produced the last three NCAA doubles championship teams, with Barte and Lindsay Burdette claiming the crown in 2010 before Barte and Mallory Burdette took home the hardware last year.
Burdette and Gibbs bring home Stanford’s 15th overall collegiate doubles title in school history, and eighth since the NCAA adopted its current format in 1982.
Also capturing NCAA doubles crowns for Stanford were: Linda Gates/Elise Burgin in 1984, Linda Gates/Leigh Anne Eldredge in 1985, Meredith McGrath/Teri Whitlinger in 1990, Lauren Kalvaria/Gabriela Lastra in 2002, Alice Barnes/Erin Burdette in 2005, Barte/Lindsay Burdette in 2010 and Barte/Mallory Burdette in 2011.
Winning doubles titles prior to 1982 were: Linda Yeomans/Carol Hanks (1962), Jane Albert/Julie Anthony (1967), Susie Hagey/Diane Morrison (1976), Susie Hagey/Diane Morrison (1977), Barbara Jordan/Kathy Jordan (1978), Kathy Jordan/Alycia Moulton (1979) and Caryn Copeland/Alycia Moulton (1981).