ATHENS, Ga. -- The most successful season in Virginia program history will continue after the third-seeded Cavaliers defeated 14th-seeded Baylor 4-1 in the Round of 16 on Thursday at Hopkins Indoor Courts at Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The Cavaliers improve their school-best record to 24-5 and will face Stanford in their first NCAA quarterfinal appearance on Saturday. Baylor finishes the season 26-7.
Virginia claimed the doubles point and received singles wins from Julia Elbaba, Stephanie Nauta and Danielle Collins in the victory. The match, which was originally scheduled outdoors at 12 p.m., was moved indoors due to rain and pushed back to a 2:30 p.m. start."The rewards are strong right now when you get into this situation," Virginia head coach Mark Guilbeau said. "The kids have really worked hard to get to this stage and you can see how happy they are and how hard they're playing. I could see across the board that our kids could win points with margins of about four, five or six feet from the lines. That adds an incredible amount of positivity to the match."
The Cavaliers captured the doubles point with wins at Nos. 3 and 1. Collins and Maci Epstein defeated No. 84 Blair Shankle and Alex Clay 8-4 on court No. 3. Nauta and Li Xi clinched the point with an 8-5 win against Victoria Kisialeva and Jordann Sanford on court No. 1. Elbaba and Rachel Pierson were deadlocked in a 6-6 tie with Ema Burgic and Kiah Generette on court No. 2 when the point was clinched.
Elbaba gave Virginia a 2-0 lead with a 6-0, 6-1 win against Generette on court No. 1. Shankle put the Bears on the board with a 6-0, 7-6 (9-7) win against Pierson on court No. 4. Nauta defeated Sanford 6-4, 7-5 on court No. 3 to give the Cavaliers a 3-1 lead and Collins clinched the victory with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Burgic on court No. 2.
"Everything we worked on this past week worked perfectly for us [Thursday]," Collins said. "We're so excited and the whole year we've had a goal of being able to go all the way. We gained a lot of confidence after winning the ACC title and first few matches of the NCAA tournament. We'll be ready for the challenge in the quarterfinals."