SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The No. 4 seeded Santa Clara women's tennis team trumped No. 5 San Diego 4-3 in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 West Coast Conference Championships on Thursday. Delphine Rouvillois's thrilling third set tiebreak victory sends the Broncos into the semifinals where they will face No. 1 seeded Pepperdine at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 25.
"It was awesome," said an exhilarated yet exhausted Rouvillois after the match. "We lost to USD in the regular season so I was already mentally preparing for a tough match before it even began. The crowd was huge! So many people were cheering for USD, who had home court advantage. But with the support of my team and the help of my coaches, I was able to put in a fight with every point and come out on top."
Santa Clara tallies a 12-9 overall dual record after its 4-3 WCC win over the San Diego Toreros. The Broncos are 5-2 at home, 3-6 on the road and 4-1 on neutral surfaces. The team went 5-4 in the WCC this spring with regular season wins over San Francisco, Loyola Marymount, Portland and Gonzaga. The Broncos will be looking to avenge a mid-season loss to Pepperdine who won 4-2 this season on the Mission Campus. Click here to read the game recap from the March 22 match.
The Broncos were able to get on the board first by winning the doubles point. The No. 1 team of Chelby Cooke and Katie Le triumphed over Shani Blecher and Marta Stojanovic of the Toreros, 8-3. This is the duo's second victory in the WCC Championships. On court three, Daniella Silva and Nicolette Wolny clinched the doubles point for Santa Clara with an 8-5 victory over San Diego's Idil Haciraifoglu and Mikayla Morkel-Brink.
With the one point advantage going into the singles competition, the Broncos successfully converted three individual matches to claim the day's victory, but San Diego put up a valiant effort.
The Toreros got off to a quick start by winning the No. 4 singles spot 6-4, 6-3 and the No. 3 court 6-0, 6-2.
The Broncos fired back with a commanding two set victory as No. 1. Senior Katie Le put away Shani Blecher for the second time this season by a score of 6-4, 6-1. The No. 29 player improves to 17-2 in duals and posts a 27-5 overall record for her final senior season. Le stands atop the all-time leader board with 102 career wins and earned All-WCC First Team honors in singles.
San Diego came up again on court five. Idil Haciraifoglu topped Bronco Daniella Silva 6-2, 6-3, putting the Toreros up 3-2.
The Broncos tied up the match 3-3 with Nicolette Wolny's skillful win at the No. 6 position. The junior put away Mikayla Morkel-Brink in two competitive sets. Wolny took the first set, 7-5, and closed the match in a second set tiebreak, 7-6 (1).
All eyes turned to court two for the WCC showdown between Santa Clara's Delphine Rouvillois and San Diego's Marta Stojanovic where both teams' futures would be decided.
The Bronco sophomore was down in the first set 2-5 and came back to send it into a tiebreaker. Rouvillois took the first set, 7-6, winning the tiebreak 12-10. Stojanovic held her own in the second set, beating out Rouvillois 6-3. The Grenoble, France native found herself down once again in the third set 2-4 and battled back to match point 5-4. The Torero sent the third set into the second tiebreaker of the match where Rouvillois was given five match point opportunities. The Broncos' future was favorably extended when Rouvillois claimed the third set tiebreak 11-9 after three hours and forty minutes of total match time.
"I have to credit my win to my fitness and my wonderful conditioning coach Sherman Trigg," said Rouvillois. "I was completely ready to play that third set physically, but the match could have gone to either side. Looking at my whole team cheering on the bench and the coaches behind me, I fought every point. Now, all I can think about is beating Pepperdine tomorrow! "
Check into the WCC Championship Central website for the brackets, schedule, digital program, and live scoring over the course of the week.
Santa Clara 4, San Diego 3
April 24 | Barnes Tennis Center | San Diego, Calif.
Doubles | Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1) Katie Le/Chelby Cooke (SCU) def. Shani Blecher/Marta Stojanovic (USD) 8-3
2) Anna Depenau/Colomba Difilippo (USD) def. Delphine Rouvillois/Stephanie Skaras (SCU) 8-2
3) Daniella Silva/Nicolette Wolny (SCU) def. Idil Haciraifoglu/Mikayla Morkel-Brink (USD) 8-5
Singles | Order of Finish: 4, 3, 1, 5, 6, 2
1) #29 Katie Le (SCU) def. Shani Blecher (USD) 6-4, 6-1
2) Delphine Rouvillois (SCU) def. Marta Stojanovic (USD) 7-6 (10), 3-6, 7-6 (9)
3) Anna Depenau (USD) def. Chelby Cooke (SCU) 6-0, 6-2
4) Columba Di Filippo (USD) def. Stephanie Skaras (SCU) 6-4, 6-3
5) Idil Haciraifoglu(USD) def. Daniella Silva (SCU) 6-2, 6-3
6) Nicolette Wolny (SCU) def. Mikayla Morkel-Brink (USD) 7-5, 7-6 (1)
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