UC Irvine advances to NCAA tournament second round for first time
LOS ANGELES -- UC Irvine earned its first NCAA tournament victory with an arduous 4-2 win on Saturday afternoon against San Jose State (19-6) at Marks Stadium in Los Angeles.
Ali Facey's furious comeback ended UCI's drought, even after dropping the first set 6-4 and trailing 4-1 in the second set. Facey raced back with four consecutive points to eventually win the second set with a 7-0 tiebreaker.
In the third set, her and opponent Julianna Bacelar exchanged leads. Facey held match point multiple times with a 5-4 set lead, but Bacelar endured a lengthy deuce to tie the match back up at five. Facey got back in the rhythm and finally closed out the match 7-5 in the third set to complete the four and a half hour match.
Ranked opponents Kristina Smith and Klaudia Boczova were also embroiled in their own battle alongside Facey and Bacelar. Smith gutted out the first set and Boczova rallied for the second set. Boczova had the slight 6-5 edge when the match ended.
Marivick Mamiit had her own comeback, rallying down 4-1 in the second set to win 6-4 and close out the third point for the Anteaters (23-4, 9-0).
Sarah Gong and Franziska Goettsching scored straight-set wins to erase an early deficit. The Spartans took the doubles point, winning two of the three sets.
For Coach Edles and the 'Eaters, they reach the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. UCI's previous trips to the postseason in 2007 and 2010 ended in first-round defeats. UC Irvine will return to the court on Sunday as it awaits the winner of the USC-Sacramento State match.