(Courtesy of Pepperdine Athletic Communications)
MALIBU, Calif. – The eighth-ranked Pepperdine women’s tennis team swept unranked Idaho 4-0 in the opening round of the NCAA Championship this Friday afternoon at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. The Waves advance to the second round against 20th-ranked USC tomorrow at 1 p.m.
With the win today, tomorrow’s match against the Trojans will be the 29th time in Pepperdine history, throughout 35 seasons, that the Waves have reaches the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
After securing the doubles point with two quick victories on courts one and two, the Waves continued the strong effort in singles play en route to wins on court one, three and six to come away with the 4-0 sweep.
To open the match, all three teams advanced to 3-0 leads against the opposition. The Vandals then gained a point on all courts, but Pepperdine started to pull back once again.
Senior Matea Cutura and junior Christine Maddox, a pair ranked 19th in the Oracle/ITA rankings, were the first to finish on court two, amassing a 6-1 win over Maria Tavares and Celine Koets to give the Waves the advantage. The pair has gone 10-3 in the dual campaign this spring and has posted four wins against nationally ranked opposition. Cutura and Maddox are currently running on an eight-match winning streak.
Then on court one, 26th-ranked partnership junior Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai and freshman Luisa Stefani garnered a 6-2 victory over Ana Batiri and Belen Barcenilla to earn the doubles point and bring the Waves up 1-0 heading into singles competitions. The duo has gone 14-3 in the spring dual campaign, including a 9-2 outing in the number one slot and 4-2 showing against nationally ranked opponents.
In singles, the Waves won the five-of-six first sets to start play and continued to put the match away with big victories on courts one, three and six.
Senior Michaela Capannolo was the first to finish on court six, commanding a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Claire Yang to give the Waves a 2-0 lead. Capannolo boasts a 9-3 overall record this dual season at the number six position. She is currently on a four-match winning streak.
Freshmen Dzina Milovanovic and Stefani would then close out the match. First, Milovanovic dominated Batiri on court three, picking up a pair of 6-2 victories to increase Pepperdine’s lead with four matches still in action. Milovanovic has gone 16-3 against competition this dual season, including a perfect 10-0 outing in the number three singles position. She is on an eight-match winning streak heading into tomorrow’s matchup.
The Waves’ sixth-ranked number one single, Stefani, would then take up the reins and close out her match with a well-played 6-3, 6-2 victory over Marianna Petrei to clinch the sweep for the home team. Stefani leads the Waves with a 20-2 record in the dual season and 34-5 overall record in the 2015-16 season. She is on a six-match winning streak and has posted a 20-4 overall record against nationally ranked opposition from the number one singles position.
No. 8 Pepperdine 4, Idaho 0 | NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND ONE | MAY 13, 2016
RALPHS-STRAUS TENNIS CENTER | MALIBU, CALIF. | HOST: PEPPERDINE
1: No. 6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. Marianna Petrei (Idaho) – 6-3, 6-2
2: Laura Gulbe (PEP) vs. Celine Koets (Idaho) – 6-0, 4-4, unfinished
3: Dzina Milovanovic (PEP) def. Ana Batiri (Idaho) – 6-2, 6-2
4: Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) vs. Belen Barcenilla (Idaho) – 7-6 (5), 2-0, unfinished
5: Matea Cutura (PEP) vs. Maria Tavares (Idaho) – 4-6, 5-0, unfinished
6: Michaela Capannolo (PEP) def. Claire Yang (Idaho) – 6-1, 6-0
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 1
1: No. 26 Luisa Stefani/Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) def. Belen Barcenilla/Ana Batiri (Idaho) – 6-2
2: No. 19 Christine Maddox/Matea Cutura (PEP) def. Celine Koets/Maria Tavares (Idaho) – 6-1
3: Dzina Milovanovic/Laura Gulbe (PEP) vs. Claire Yang/Marianna Petrei (Idaho) – 5-3, unfinished
Order of Finish: 2, 1