May 8, 2013
No. 3 seed Long Beach State will play second-seeded Oklahoma State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at 9 a.m.on Saturday, May 11 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
Long Beach State guaranteed itself a third straight trip to the NCAA tournament by clinching another Big West title, its third in a row and ninth in the last ten years. The 49ers went into the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed and wasted little time in getting to the championship match as they rolled through UC Davis, 4-0, in the quarterfinals and then beat UC Santa Barbara, 4-1, to set up a re-match with UC Irvine. The Anteaters entered in title match winning 20 in a row, but LBSU would not be denied, capturing the first point in doubles play as Ebba Unden and Karolina Rozenberg defeated No. 77 Franziska Goettsching and Kristina Smith. Rozenberg then put the 49ers up 2-0 with her singles win, followed by UCI earning their only point of the match at the No. 1 spot. Two seniors proceeded to step up for LBSU as Anna Jeczmionka won at the No. 4 spot and Sarah Cantlaysealed the victory with a comeback effort at the No. 3 spot.
The victory was 49ers' 13th in a row, who haven't lost since March 2. The win also marked the third time since 2002 that LBSU came in to the tournament as the second seed and then has gone on to win the title.
Scouting the Cowgirls:
Oklahoma State comes into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the regional after compiling a 15-8 overall record this season and going 5-4 in the Big 12 conference. The Cowgirls advanced to the championship match of the conference tournament by knocking off top-seeded Baylor in the semifinals, but then were swept by Texas in the title match. OK State comes into this week's ITA rankings at No. 28, moving up four spots from last week. The Cowgirls are appearing in the NCAA tournament for the 15th time in school history, however Oklahoma State has not advanced past the first round since 2001.
Breaking Down the Regional:
Long Beach State is playing at UCLA for the second consecutive year as the Bruins, ranked No. 7 in this week's ITA polls, are the top-seeded team in the region. UCLA will face unranked Army in the other regional match that will begin at noon on Saturday.
The Bruins are making their 31st appearance in the NCAA Tournament as they went 16-5 this season. UCLA lost 6-1 to rival USC in its final Pac-12 conference match, giving the Bruins a 7-2 conference record.
Army clinched its spot in the NCAA Tournament after beating Navy to win its 14th Patriot League title. The Black Knights went 22-6 this season and are making their 13th appearance in the Tournament.
The winners of the two regional semifinal matches will play on Sunday at the Los Angeles Tennis Garden at noon.
LBSU History in the Tournament:
The 49ers will look to advance past the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row as last year's squad upset No. 33 Arkansas at the regional semifinal before eventually falling to top-ranked UCLA in the final.
Since 2002, LBSU has advanced past the first round twice including in 2006 and then again in 2012, both of which came when the 49ers were playing in the Los Angeles regional.
49ers Collect Conference Honors:
LBSU's continued dominance of the Big West did not go unnoticed as four 49ers were awarded conference honors. Ebba Unden, who has put forth one of the best freshman campaigns in program history, earned first-team honors in both singles and doubles in addition to being named the Big West Freshman of the Year. Unden has gone 15-7 in singles duel matches and 17-3 in doubles. The Stockholm, Sweden native began the 2013 season at the No. 2 spot in both before being moved up after LBSU's loss on March 2. Since then, the 49ers haven't lost a match, winning 13 in a row which is good for fourth best in school history.
Joining Unden on the first team for singles is senior Klaudia Malenovska, who collected conference honors for the second time in her career. Malenovska has gone 14-7 in singles duel matches this year and since March 2 she has gone 9-1, competing at the No. 2 spot. In doubles, she and partner Sarah Cantlaywere named to the second team as the duo put together a 16-4 record and are currently on a 10-match winning streak. Additionally, Cantlay was named to the singles honorable mention list as the senior has gone 20-3 and went a perfect 8-0 in conference matches.
Sophomore Karolina Rozenberg rounded out the conference awards for LBSU as the sophomore was named to the first team doubles list with Unden. The pair went undefeated in conference play (7-0) and played a pivotal role in the Big West Tournament title match by claiming the doubles point in the 49ers favor with their win over No. 77 Franziska Goettsching and Kristina Smith.
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