Boise State Upsets Alabama in First Round of Tournament Play, 4-3
May 9, 2009
Courtesy of Boise State Athletics
ATHENS, Ga. - The 35th-ranked Boise State women's tennis team gave all heart in a 4-3 upset of 24th-ranked Alabama Saturday morning in the first round of the NCAA Championships held at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The win was their first in a NCAA Championship first round and will advance the Broncos to the 32-team second round for the first time in school history.
The Broncos (24-4) took a 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point for the 26th time in their 28 matches this year. They built a 3-0 lead only to see the Crimson Tide (15-9) tie the match at 3-3. Then, senior Klaudia Wlodarczyk provided the clinching win in three sets at No. 5 as the team match lasted four hours and 29 minutes.
In doubles, the Boise State team of Vivien Silfany and Wlodarczyk were the first to finish, posting an 8-3 win over Paulina Bigos and Shelley Godwin in the No. 2 match. The Bronco duo improved their record to 16-3 this season. Then, the No. 1 duo of Lauren Megale and Pichittra Thongdach clinched the point with an 8-5 win over Alabama's Taylor Lindsey and Courtney McLane. The Bronco tandem improved to 23-4 on the year. Alabama had 7-6 lead in the No. 3 contest when play was halted with the team point determined.
In singles, the Broncos went up 2-0 after Silfany registered a 6-3, 6-0 win over Bigos in the No. 3 contest. Then, 69th-ranked Thongdach beat 81st-ranked Tiffany Welcher 6-4, 7-5 in the No. 1 match to put Boise State up 3-0. Thongdach improved to 32-8 on the year including 16-5 at No. 1. Alabama got its first team point from Merritt Emery at No. 4 as she posted a 6-4, 7-5 win over Bianca Jochimsen to close the gap to 3-1. At No. 6, Godwin got the match to 3-2 when she completed a three-set comeback over Laura Baum, winning 6-2, 0-6, 7-5. She trailed 4-1 in the final set before rallying for the victory. The final two matches went to three sets as well. At No. 5, Wlodarczyk saved four match points against Lindsey during the second set to send it to a third. Meanwhile at No. 2, Alabama's McLane and BSU's Lauren Megale were 2-all in the final set.
McLane tied the match at 3-3 when she outlasted Megale 7-5,2-6,6-3. She overcame an ankle injury in the first set to keep the Crimson Tide in the match. All eyes turned to court five for the final match. Wlodarczyk had a 3-2 lead in third set over Lindsey and eventually notched the win to help the Broncos advance to the second round.
"We have the utmost respect for Alabama and the job their coaching staff did this season," said Boise State coach Mark Tichenor. "They had a team that was unranked and made it in to the 20s of the rankings this season, and they fought back after being down all day. We won the doubles point and four hours later that proved to be a huge part of the win. It was real tough to get that fourth point."
"I was real proud of Klaudia today, she really fought hard," Tichenor added. "She had a couple of match points in our conference tournament loss to Fresno State, and that experience probably helped her today. She has been a big part of our success throughout her career and it was great to see her get a win."
The Broncos now face the Georgia/South Carolina State winner in Sunday's second round match slated for 12 p.m. (MST).
#35 Boise State 4, #24 Alabama 3
1. Lauren Megale/Pichittra Thongdach (BSU) def. Taylor Lindsey/Courtney McLane (UA) 8-5
2. Vivien Silfany/Klaudia Wlodarczyk (BSU) def. Paulina Bigos/Shelley Godwin (UA) 8-3
3. Laura Baum/Bianca Jochimsen (BSU) vs. Alice Tunaru/Tiffany Welcher (UA), UA led 7-6, suspended
1. #69 Pichittra Thongdach (BSU) def. #81 Tiffany Welcher (UA) 6-4,7-5
2. #82 Courtney McLane (UA) def. Lauren Megale (BSU) 7-5,2-6,6-3
3. Vivien Silfany (BSU) def. Paulina Bigos (UA) 6-3,6-0
4. Merritt Emery (UA) def. Bianca Jochimsen (BSU) 6-4,7-5
5. Klaudia Wlodarczyk (BSU) def. Taylor Lindsey (UA) 4-6,7-6(5),6-4
6. Shelley Godwin (UA) def. Laura Baum (BSU) 6-2,0-6,7-5
Order of Finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (3,1,4,6,2,5)
#35 BSU now 24-4; #24 UA now 15-9