No. 22 Tritons Narrowly Edged by No. 5 Academy of Art, 4-3
LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No. 22 University of California San Diego women's tennis team's upset bid over No. 5 Academy of Art University fell just a bit short, 4-3, Thursday at Northview Tennis Courts.
UC San Diego, a winner of four straight entering the day, fell back to an even 4-4, still all at home. Academy of Art moved to 4-1. The Urban Knights are No. 2 and the Tritons No. 4 in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region poll. Academy of Art, located in San Francisco, advanced to the 2018 NCAA Championship quarterfinals, losing to eventual national champion Barry.
The Urban Knights began their San Diego stay with a 4-2 loss to No. 4 Hawai'i Pacific on Wednesday morning. The Tritons were rained out against top-ranked Barry.
The sides had last faced each other on March 17, 2017, with UC San Diego earning a 5-1 home victory.
Junior All-American and co-captain Becky Chou won her sixth straight singles contest, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 3. Fourth-year seniors Alexandra Weil and Chloe Wight both had five-match win streaks snapped and lost in singles for the first time all year, now each at 5-1.
The contest started an hour and a half later than the scheduled 3 p.m., as there were two matches ahead of it, with the action getting going only after the courts had completely dried following Wednesday's rain. There was also a brief delay of less than 10 minutes, early on during doubles between UC San Diego and ART U.
Already with just seven student-athletes on its roster and two having been injured Wednesday against HPU, the Urban Knights could only field five players on Thursday, thus defaulting to the Tritons at No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles.
That meant Academy of Art needed to win on both doubles courts to earn the doubles point, and that's exactly what it did. Twin sisters Alma and Klara Thell-Lenntorp, seniors from Sweden and ranked fifth nationally and first in the West Region, dispatched Chou and senior partner Ashley Chao (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) at No. 1, 6-2. The Tritons had rallied to make it 3-2, from 3-0.
Mariacristina Andrisani and Sofia Ragona, rated seventh in the West, then squeaked by Weil and fourth-year partner Madison Hale, 6-4.
Singles began with a 1-1 deadlock in match score as the Tritons took that vacated point at No 6. Chou was first off the court for a brief 2-1 edge, but the hosts were not able to hold on. Sofia Ragona, ranked 18th in the West, topped Triton senior Chloe Wight, who is 13th, in straight sets at No. 5. Klara Thell-Lenntorp, No. 44 in Division II and seventh in the West, rallied past Chao in three sets at No. 1, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.
The Urban Knights needed just one more point from there, and got it through Alma Thell-Lenntorp on the No. 2 court over Weil in two close sets, 6-4, 7-5. That sister is No. 34 in the country in Division II and fifth in the region, with Weil 10th regionally.
With the result clinched and a split of the first two sets (6-3, 3-6) on the No. 4 court, junior Valeria Corral (San Diego/Mater Dei Catholic HS) went to a super tiebreak with Andrisani, and raced past the region's 14th-ranked player in that extra round, 10-2. One late point stood out among a number of stellar sequences by the area product with all of her teammates and coaches vocally urging her on. It marked a fourth consecutive singles success for Corral, as she is now a perfect 4-0 at No. 4.
UC San Diego hosts another top national and regional foe in No. 4 Hawai'i Pacific on Friday, March 8, at 1 p.m. That is earlier than the originally-announced start time of 3 p.m. Admission into Northview Tennis Courts on North Campus in La Jolla is free, but parking permits are required.
#5 Academy of Art 4, #22 UC San Diego 3
March 7, 2019 at La Jolla, CA (Northview Tennis Courts)
1. #5 Alma Thell-Lenntorp/Klara Thell-Lenntorp (AAU) def. Ashley Chao/Becky Chou (UCSD) 6-2
2. Maria Andrisani/Sofia Ragona (AAU) def. Madison Hale/Alexandra Weil (UCSD) 6-4
3. Shweta Kumar/Chloe Wight (UCSD) def. #23 No player/No player (AAU), by default
1. #44 Klara Thell-Lenntorp (AAU) def. Ashley Chao (UCSD) 1-6, 6-2, 6-1
2. #34 Alma Thell-Lenntorp (AAU) def. Alexandra Weil (UCSD) 6-4, 7-5
3. Becky Chou (UCSD) def. Taisiia Andrieieva (AAU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Valeria Corral (UCSD) def. Maria Andrisani (AAU) 6-3, 3-6, 10-2
5. Sofia Ragona (AAU) def. Chloe Wight (UCSD) 6-2, 6-0
6. Shweta Kumar (UCSD) def. No player (AAU), by default
Academy of Art 4-1; National ranking #5; Regional ranking #2
UC San Diego 4-4; National ranking #22; Regional ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,3,5,1,2,4)
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With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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