SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After a convincing 6-1 win over Portland on April 12, the Santa Clara women's tennis team battled to a 4-3 Senior Day victory against Gonzaga to go 2-0 this weekend. Seniors Katie Le and Stephanie Skaras tallied the two decisive singles wins that put the Broncos on top of the Bulldogs in the team's last home contest.
Santa Clara boasts a 9-8 overall dual record after its West Coast Conference win over Gonzaga. The Broncos are 5-2 at home, 2-5 on the road and 2-1 on neutral surfaces. The team is 4-3 in the WCC this spring season with wins over San Francisco, Loyola Marymount, Portland and Gonzaga.
"These two wins on our last weekend at home feel so nice," said Le. "Both of the matches were tougher than I expected, but it was good for our team to battle it out and end up on top going into the final weekend of league play."
Santa Clara faced a challenging opponent in Gonzaga (8-8; 3-4 WCC), but the Broncos were able to get on the board first by winning the doubles point. A shorthanded Bulldog squad defaulted at No. 3 before the day's events began, allowing the Broncos to seize the doubles point with one doubles win on court one.
The No. 1 team of Chelby Cooke and Katie Le clinched the doubles point in an 8-5 battle against Kylie Peek and Samantha Polayes. Cooke and Le post a 4-1 record together since their first pairing on March 15 and went 2-0 over the weekend.
The No. 2 doubles match went unfinished, and Gonzaga once again was forced to default the No. 6 spot in singles. This gave the Broncos a 2-0 lead going into the second half of the day. Santa Clara converted two out of the five individual matches backing on the experience of the team's seniors to take the 4-3 win for the day.
The first senior off the courts with a win was Stephanie Skaras on court five. The Australian native showcased her stamina and finesse against Gonzaga's Isabell Klingert, taking the first set 6-3. Skaras ended Senior Day on a personal high with a 6-1 win in the second set. With this victory over Klingert, Skaras extends her winning streak to four.
Santa Clara then relied on the seniority and talents of No. 25 Katie Le to carry the team to victory. Le took the first set from the Bulldogs' Kylie Peek by a score of 6-2, but Peek put up a tough battle in the second set. The Bronco senior came back from a 0-3 deficit to take the second set, 7-5, in hardworking fashion from Peek. Le extends her singles winning streak to 13, playing consistently at the No. 1 position. The Milpitas, Calif. native has not lost a match since Feb. 14 and posts an impressive 14-1 record in her final dual season at Santa Clara. Le is 25-4 overall for the 2013-14 season and stands No. 1 for most wins all-time.
"I lost my concentration for a little bit in the second set and my opponent really played well," commented Le after her Senior Day victory. "I refocused, went back to the basics, and stayed away from her strong forehand. Looking ahead to the Saint Mary's match next Friday, I'm going to work on my forehand and focus on being more consistent. I will be mentally preparing for a tough individual match."
Santa Clara wraps up WCC competition next weekend against Saint Mary's on April 18 and Pacific on April 19 before heading down to San Diego, Calif. for the WCC Championships on April 23.
Santa Clara 4, Gonzaga 3
April 13 | Degheri Tennis Center | Santa Clara, Calif.
Doubles | Order of Finish: 1
1) Chelby Cooke/Katie Le (SCU) def. Kylie Peek/Samantha Polayes (GON) 8-5
2) Delphine Rouvillois/Stephanie Skaras (SCU) vs. Alexandra Tallas/Katie Edwards (GON) 7-5, Unfinished
3) Gonzaga Default
Singles | Order of Finish: 3, 2, 5, 1, 4
1) #25 Katie Le (SCU) def. Kylie Peek (GON) 6-2, 7-5
2) Katie Edwards (GON) def. Delphine Rouvillois (SCU) 6-3, 6-1
3) Samantha Polayes (GON) def. Chelby Cooke (SCU) 6-2, 6-1
4) Alexandra Tallas (GON) vs. Daniella Silva (SCU) 6-1, 2-6, 4-1, Retired
5) Stephanie Skaras (SCU) def. Isabell Klingert (GON) 6-3, 6-1
6) Gonzaga Default
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