May 17, 2008
TULSA, Okla. -- Top-seeded Northwestern fell short of its bid for a national title Saturday. After winning the doubles point, the 'Cats were unable to take control in singles play and fell 4-2 against California.
After sweeping Illinois-Chicago and Indiana 4-0 in the opening two rounds of the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats took to the road toward Tulsa, Okla., with a potential national title in sight. Domination continued to be the underlying theme for the 'Cats as they arrived in Tulsa. Northwestern (29-2) would go on to set a new program record for wins, picking up their 29th victory of the season with a 4-1 defeat of Fresno State in the third round of the tournament. Unfortunately their hopes for a national title came to an end with the loss to California.
Saturday brought the Wildcats and California Golden Bears (20-5) together in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA championships. The 'Cats once again set the tone for the afternoon by taking an exciting doubles point from the Bears, securing a 1-0 match advantage. At No 3, Maria Mosolova (Moscow, Russia/No. 204) and Nazlie Ghazal (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) went up early and never looked back, taking an 8-5 victory over Bojana Bobusic and Cristina Visico. California stayed in contention with an 8-2 win at No. 2 over Suzie Matzenauer (Tacoma, Wash./Bellarmine) and Samantha Murray (Altrincham, England/Altrincham Grammar).
The doubles point would be decided by a close match at No. 1, and the Wildcats' Georgia Rose (Mettawa, Ill./North Shore Country Day) and Lauren Lui (Houston, Texas/Kinakid) would not disappoint. In a match that was tightly contested throughout, Northwestern's No. 1 duo took control at the end, winning 8-5 over the nation's 12th-ranked tandem, Susie Babos and Stephanie Kusano. The crucial doubles point for the Wildcats would swing momentum in their favor heading into singles.
Northwestern lost control upon commencement of singles play. The Bears evened the match at 1-1 when Matzenauer fell 6-1, 6-3 to Bojana Bobusic. Just a few minutes later, the Bears took what seemed to be a commanding 3-1 lead after Ghazal and Murray each fell in straight sets.
At No. 2, Georgia Rose brought the 'Cats to within 3-2 after a great effort in her 7-5, 6-4 victory over fourth-ranked Marina Cossou. Mosolova and Lui had each forced a third set in their respective matches, but were unable to overcome the performance from California. Mosolova fell 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, securing the 4-2 match victory for the Bears.
This year's Wildcat squad put together a storybook season en route to their quest for a national title. The 'Cats have broken every all-time team record this season, amassing more wins (29), shutouts (15), consecutive match victories (23) and team winning percentage (.935) than any other Northwestern women's tennis program.
Four Wildcats will still vie for a shot at the singles crown beginning next week. Maria Mosolova, Georgia Rose, Samantha Murray and Lauren Lui will each have a shot at the singles title. Lui and Rose also will compete for a doubles crown.
The NCAA Championships are taking place at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Tulsa. The singles and doubles championships will be held May 21-26. For additional tournament information, including brackets, live stats, video and statistics, please visit Tulsa's Official championship homepage.
1. Susie Babos (CAL) def. Maria Mosolova (NU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
2. Georgia Rose (NU) def. Marina Cossou (CAL) 7-5, 6-4
3. Cristina Visico (CAL) def. Samantha Murray (NU) 6-0, 6-3
4. Lauren Lui (NU) vs. Claire Ilcinkas (CAL) 3-6, 7-5, 1-5, unfinished
5. Stephanie Kusano (CAL) def. Nazlie Ghazal (NU) 6-4, 6-2
6. Bojana Bobusic (CAL) def. Suzie Matzenauer (NU) 6-1, 6-3
1. Georgia Rose/Lauren Lui (NU) def. Susie Babos/Stephanie Kusano (CAL) 8-5
2. Marina Cossou/Claire Ilcinkas (CAL) def. Samantha Murray/Suzie Matzenauer (NU) 8-2
3. Maria Mosolova/Nazlie Ghazal (NU) def. Bojana Bobusic/Cristina Visico (CAL) 8-5