Where's fantic...ok, i'll do it, twist my arm
Tsay Of Relief: No. 12 Stanford Outlasts No. 5 USC, 4-3
Stanford next faces No. 4 Georgia on Sunday in the quarterfinals
Ellen Tsay's three-setter helped No. 12 Stanford knock off No. 5 USC 4-3 on Friday evening in exactly five hours at the NCAA Championships.
URBANA, Ill.- And this was just the round of 16.
In a match that felt more like the national title was on the line, No. 12 Stanford knocked off No. 5 USC 4-3 on Friday evening in exactly five hours at the NCAA Championships.
When it was all said and done, Ellen Tsay clinched her team-leading seventh match of the year with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Gabriella DeSimone 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 on court five.
Conference matchups often become unavoidable once the round of 16 begins, and Stanford (19-4, 8-2 Pac-12) entered the match facing a clear obstacle. Pac-12 champion USC (23-3, 9-0 Pac-12) notched a 6-1 victory back on March 30 and eliminated the Cardinal from last year's postseason in the quarterfinals.
Taking the court nearly two hours after its original start of 12 p.m. local time, Stanford was up to the task. The Cardinal became the first team this season to snag the doubles point from USC, taking a 1-0 lead in dramatic fashion.
After Natalie Dillon and Krista Hardebeck coasted to an 8-1 rout on court three, USC evened things up with an 8-6 victory at the No. 2 spot.
The deciding doubles match was a rollercoaster on court one between the No. 8-ranked duo of Kristie Ahn and Nicole Gibbs against USC's No. 2-ranked pair of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria. Ahn and Gibbs trailed 4-1, stormed back to lead 7-4, only to then fall behind 8-7. However, Ahn and Gibbs bounced back for what would be a tone-setting 9-8 (2) victory.
Stacey Tan followed with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Giuliana Olmos at the No. 4 spot, putting Stanford in front 2-0.
USC registered its first point at the No. 6 position, when Kaitlyn Christian put away Natalie Dillon 6-3, 6-1, trimming the deficit to 2-1.
Stanford then received a boost at the top of the lineup when Gibbs suddenly reversed her match against USC's Santamaria, ranked No. 2 in the country. Santamaria led 5-1 and 6-5 in the first set before Gibbs came all the way back for a 7-6 (3) win and ultimately rode that momentum to a 6-2 win in the second frame.
Trailing 3-1, USC answered the call. The Trojans received a 6-3, 7-6 (5) triumph from Zoe Scandalis on court three and a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 nail-biter from Danielle Lao at the No. 2 spot.
That left the match riding on court five, where DeSimone and Tsay had already traded 7-5 victories. Tied at 3-3 in the final set, Tsay ripped off three straight games for the win.
Stanford next faces No. 4 Georgia on Sunday at 10 a.m. PT in the quarterfinals.
No. 12 Stanford 4, No. 5 USC 3
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1) No. 8 Ahn/Gibbs (STAN) d. No. 2 Christian/Santamaria (USC) 9-8 (2)
2) Olmos/Scandalis (USC) d. No. 28 Tan/Tsay (USC) 8-6
3) Dillon/Hardebeck (STAN) d. DeSimone/Lao (USC) 8-1
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1) No. 13 Nicole Gibbs (STAN) d. No. 2 Sabrina Santamaria (USC) 7-6 (3), 6-2
2) No. 9 Danielle Lao (USC) d. No. 25 Kristie Ahn (STAN) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
3) No. 27 Zoe Scandalis (USC) d. No. 14 Krista Hardebeck (STAN) 6-3, 7-6 (5)
4) No. 103 Stacey Tan (STAN) d. Giuliana Olmos (USC) 6-2, 6-2
5) No. 92 Ellen Tsay (STAN) d. Gabriella DeSimone (USC) 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
6) Kaitlyn Christian (USC) d. Natalie Dillon (STAN) 6-3, 6-1
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 1, 3, 2, 5
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NOTES: Stanford and Georgia will be meeting for the first time since a 4-0 Cardinal victory in the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAA Tournament ... The Cardinal won the doubles point for the 21st time in 23 matches ... Ellen Tsay improved to 3-4 on the year and 4-7 in her career in three-set matches. Tsay lost to DeSimone 6-1, 7-6 (3) earlier this year ... Nicole Gibbs is once again locked in for the postseason and that's bad news for her opponents. Gibbs owns a 22-1 career record in the month of May ... Stacey Tan defeated Giuliana Olmos for the second time this year. Tan accounted for Stanford's only point in the 6-1 loss at USC when she defeated Olmos 6-2, 7-6 (5) at the No. 4 spot ... The University of Illinois is hosting the NCAA Championships for the first time.