May 14, 2010

Courtesy of St. Mary's (Calif.) Athletics

Los Angeles, Calif. -
In their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the No. 38 ranked Saint Mary's women's tennis team was defeated 4-1 by the No. 23 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils in the first round of the NCAA Tournament from the Los Angeles Tennis Complex, for the UCLA campus on Friday. The lone win for the Gaels came at No. 2 singles, when Catherine Isip defeated No. 74 ranked Kelcy McKenna in straight sets.

To open the NCAA Tournament, the Gaels dropped the doubles point, losing two of the three matches, and trailed in the third. The doubles point was decided with Ashlee Brown and Sianna Simmons defeated Nienke Strijbis and Alita Fisher on court three.

Arizona State's No. 2 doubles team of Nadia Abdala and Michelle Brycki made quick work of Anna Chikhikvishvili and Catherine Isip, winning the match 8-2.

At the No. 1 and No. 3 positions, the Gaels battled from 5-2 deficits in both matches, but the Sun Devils were too strong, and put the Gaels away 8-5 at the No. 3 spot to secure the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead in the match.

The No. 1 doubles match between SMC's Alex Poorta and Claire Soper went unfinished, as ASU's duo of Micaela Hein and Kelcy McKenna were serving match point (7-5) when the match ended.  

Arizona State took a 2-0 lead after Michelle Brycki posted a straight sets win over Nieke Strijbis (6-0, 6-1) at the No. 5 singles position.

Catherine Isip got the Gaels within a point (2-1) with a straight sets win over the 74th ranked player in the country, Kelcy McKenna. Isip, the 2010 WCC Freshman of the Year, dominated the match on court two, winning 6-3, 6-1. It was the first point in the history of the NCAA Tournament for the Gaels.

ASU increased its advantage to 3-1, as 116th ranked Hannah James defeated Clare Soper 6-2, 6-4 on court four. Soper led 2-1 in the first set, and 4-1 in the second, but could not hold on against the nationally ranked James.

On court six, Molly Aloia evened her match at one set each against Sianna Simmons, winning the second set 6-4, after dropping set one 2-6. Before the Aloia/Simmons match could be finished, ASU's Nadia Abdala defeated SMC's Anna Chikhikvishvili 7-6 (3), 6-0 on court four to secure the match for the 23rd-ranked Sun Devils.

SMC's number one player Alex Poorta had a 2-1 lead in the third set in her match against Micaela Hein, the nation's 50th ranked player. Poorta lost the first set 3-6, but rallied to win the second set 6-3.

With the loss in the NCAA Tournament, the 2010 West Coast Conference Champion Saint Mary's tennis team finishes their historic season with a 17-7 overall record.