BERKELEY, Calif. – No. 25 Auburn women’s tennis defeated St. Mary’s 4-2 on Friday afternoon at the Hellman Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of California to advance to Saturday’s NCAA second round.
“I’m thrilled with the heart and fight the girls showed in today’s win,” Auburn women’s tennis head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “Tons of credit goes to St. Mary’s. They are a feisty team and we saw it today. We didn’t play our best, so we need to go to improve before the next round. We will have to play our best tomorrow to advance to the Sweet 16. We are right there. We just have to do it.”
The win is the first in NCAA play for Auburn (19-8) since 2008. The Tigers will face the winner of Cal/Stony Brook on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.
The 19 victories for Auburn are the most since 1989. The program has not recorded 20 victories since 1987, and the all-time program record for wins is 22 in 1978.
Junior Jen Pfeifler clinched the winning point for Auburn with a hard fought three-set victory at the fourth line over Jade Frampton, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, for the final 4-2 margin.
After winning the doubles point, Auburn took a 2-0 lead with a decisive 6-1, 6-2 victory on court three by Emily Flickinger. The advantage was trimmed to 2-1 after a loss by freshman Michala Kucharova on court two.
Following a loss in the first set, SEC Freshman of the Year Pleun Burgmans rebounded to win her next two sets 6-4, 6-2 and drop ITA No. 23 Jenny Julien at the top spot. The victory was the 22nd of the year for the Dutch All-SEC honoree and it widened Auburn’s lead to 3-1.
The Gaels picked up a second point at No. 6 with a loss by Plamena Kurteva to draw within one once again before Pfeifler ended the threat. Not to be outdone, Jackie Kasler was leading 5-2 in the third set of her match on court five when the match was clinched.
In doubles, the new tandem of Flickinger and Paulina Schippers picked up the first win for Auburn, 8-3. It was followed by the 10th-ranked Burgmans and Kurteva dispatching No. 72 Jenny Jullien/Danielle Flores, 9-7, to clinch the opening point.
The reunited duo of ITA No. 36 Kasler and Pfeifler were leading 7-6 on court two at the doubles clinch.
For the latest on Auburn women’s tennis, follow @AUWomensTennis on Twitter.
Auburn Women's Tennis Results
2013 NCAA Championship - First Round
May 10, 2013
Hellman Tennis Complex - Berkeley, Calif.
Auburn 4, St. Mary’s 2
1. #22 Pleun Burgmans (AU) def. No. 23 Jenny Julien (SMC), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
2. Catherine Isip (SMC) def. Michala Kucharova (AU), 6-2, 6-3
3. Emily Flickinger (AU) def. Danielle Flores (SMC), 6-1, 6-2
4. Jen Pfeifler (AU) def. Jade Frampton (SMC), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
5. Jackie Kasler (AU) vs. Catherine Leduc (SMC), 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 5-2, unfinished
6. Audrey Leitz (SMC) def. Plamena Kurteva (AU), 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1, 6, 4
1. #10 Pleun Burgmans/Plamena Kurteva (AU) def. #72 Jenny Julien/Danielle Flores (SMC), 9-7
2. #36 Jen Pfeifler/Jackie Kasler (AU) vs. Catherine Isip/Audrey Leitz (SMC), 7-6, unfinished
3. Emily Flickinger/Paulina Schippers (AU) def. Jade Frampton/Elizabeth Searl (SMC), 8-3
Order of finish: 3, 1