CLEMSON, SC - The 14th-ranked Clemson women’s tennis team earned a 4-3 home win over No. 17 Virginia, who entered Sunday in first place in the ACC standings. Clemson (12-6, 7-2 ACC) shook off a doubles point loss to win four singles matches in straight sets to set down the Cavaliers (14-8, 7-2 ACC), who had won six straight matches and 11 of their last 12.
“A match like this shows the team how solid they are,” said Nancy Harris
, who earned the 71st win over a top-25 team in her 16-year career. “I felt fortunate to get four singles wins against such a great singles team, and such a well-coached team. We showed today just how competitive we are, and how hungry we are to be successful. The top of the lineup is really leading and pulling this team at a higher level.”
“I was particularly proud that we were able to regain our focus for the singles, which was really important for us to be successful. I still think we can get better, and we need to get better, and we’ll be doing those things to get ready for the final two matches and the ACC Championships.”
Freshman Liz Jeukeng
put the finishing touches on the win, as the 16-year-old phenom bested Stephanie Nauta, 7-5, 6-3 on court two to clinch the match. Jeukeng, who is ranked 24th in the nation, improved to 9-0 in ACC play, and upped her mark to 16-3 overall, which includes her current eight-match winning streak.
“Liz is probably one of the most exciting collegiate players in the nation,” said Harris of the freshman from Boca Raton. “She is probably the best freshman in college tennis. Liz is just a magnificent player. I believe she is going to get a lot better. I know she has some areas that she still wants to develop, and she’s beginning to show that she wants to learn the ins and outs of the transition game. She’s a great student of the game, and has the ability to become one of the world’s best tennis players."
Five of Clemson’s wins this season have now come against top-25 competition, four of which have come in ACC play. The Tigers close the 2013 season with an 8-1 mark in home matches, and they improved to 35-6 all-time against the Hoos.
Gumulya and Koroleva teamed up to win their doubles match over No. 85 Stephanie Nauta and Erin Vierra, 8-3, on court one. However, the Cavaliers took wins on the other two courts to win the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead, forcing Clemson to win four of six singles matches to clinch.
The Tigers were up to the challenge, going up with early breaks on four courts, and holding on to win four first sets.
Gumulya was first to finish, as she topped Li Xi, 6-0, 6-1, to even the match at 1-1. She is 20-4 this season, and 7-1 in ACC matches. Gumulya has won 31 of her last 35 matches overall, dating to last season.
The next point came minutes later from Koelzer, who topped Erin Vierra, 6-1, 6-4, on court five. After cruising through the first set, Koelzer went up an early break in the second, before the Cavalier senior knotted it at 3-3. She would go on to take a 5-3 lead and serve for the match, but Vierra broke to serve down 5-4. However, Koelzer won four straight points to close the match and give Clemson the 2-1 lead in the overall scoring.
Koroleva gave the Tigers a brief 3-1 lead after upsetting No. 11 Julia Elbaba, 6-2, 6-4, on court one. Koroleva improved to 11-6 on the season against nationally ranked players, 8-1, in league play, and 19-7 overall.
Virginia won their first singles match on four, as Hana Tomljanovic beat Ani Miao
, 6-2, 6-1 to pull within one at 3-2.
However, Jeukeng put an end to the upset bid by the Cavaliers. Playing Stephanie Nauta, who was ranked 66th in the nation, Jeukeng won in straight sets for her eighth consecutive victory, and improved to 9-0 in ACC play. The freshman is now 16-3 on the season, and boasts a 9-2 mark against ranked opponents. Five of her nine league wins have come against ranked players.
With the match cliched, Tristen Dewar
and Caryssa Peretz played a third set super-tiebreaker on court six. Dewar had trailed, 5-4 in the second set, and came back to force the third, which she lost, 10-6.
Clemson will close the regular season next weekend at NC State and Wake Forest. The ACC Tournament will take place from April 25-28 in Cary, NC.
Tennis Match Results
Virginia vs Clemson
Apr 14, 2013 at Clemson, SC
(Hoke Sloan Tennis Center)
#14 Clemson 4, #17 Virginia 3
2. #24 Liz Jeukeng
(CU) def. #66 Stephanie Nauta (UVA) 7-5, 6-3
4. Hana Tomljanovic (UVA) def. Ani Miao
(CU) 6-2, 6-1
6. Caryssa Peretz (UVA) def. Tristen Dewar
(CU) 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (10-6)
Virginia 14-8, 7-2 ACC; National ranking #17
Clemson 12-6, 7-2 ACC; National ranking #14
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,5,1,4,2,6)