URBANA, Ill. - Eighth-seeded California ended its run for the team title at the NCAA Championships when it dropped a 4-2 quarterfinal result to top-seeded Florida on Sunday at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. The Golden Bears trailed 3-2 in the waning moments of the match, with 70th-ranked freshman Lynn Chi leading the Gators' No. 89 Brianna Morgan (Florida) on court four, 0-6, 6-1, 4-1. But that match became moot when Cal senior Annie Goransson fell to 116th-ranked Caroline Hitimana, 6-3, 6-2, on court six to wrap up the contest.
The Bears end their season with a 19-6 record. Florida now has a 26-2 record and moves on to the semifinals.
"They played really well today," Cal
head coach Amanda Augustus said of her Bears. "Florida is the two-time defending national champion. They lost two matches this season, and we pushed them right till the very end. We really competed hard and competed well. I was just really proud of our attitude and effort. It was a great match today. We were right there. It just shows how much this team's improved this year. We had a really great season. Almost all our losses are to teams ranked in the top six of the country. We showed we're consistent. We're an elite-level team, and we lost a really close, hard-fought match to the defending champion. I thought the girls really did great today."
Cal began the day with a court-two victory in doubles, as the pair of Goransson and freshman Klara Fabikova knocked off Alexandra Cercone and Caroline Hitimana, 8-4. Senior Tayler Davis and junior Kelly Chui lost to Danielle Collins and Brianna Morgan on court three, 8-4, making the No. 1 singles match the deciding factor. But the 33rd-ranked Cal tandem of Chi and junior Anett Schutting ultimately lost to the 11th-ranked team of Lauren Embree and Sofie Oyen, 8-4, to clinch the doubles point for the Gators.
In singles, Cal sophomore and fifth-ranked Zsofi Susanyi handed Cercone her second loss on the day, topping the 51st-ranked Gator, 6-1, 6-1, to tie the team match at 1-1. Over on court one, the eighth-ranked Schutting fell to top-ranked Embree, 6-2, 6-0, to give Florida the advantage at 2-1.
Playing in what turned out to be her last collegiate match, Davis
then suffered a 6-1, 6-4, setback at the hands of No. 123 Olivia Janowicz on court five. Fabikova kept the Bears alive with a 7-5, 6-4, upset of No. 17 Oyen on court two to make the score 3-2. But the court-six result ended the match, the Cal team's season and the college careers of Davis and Goransson.
Of her two seniors, Augustus said, "Both of them have improved so much on and off the court since their first day at Cal as freshmen. Their accolades on the court speak for themselves, in terms off matches won, All-America honors and playing in the NCAA tournament. This year - in being captains, seniors and leaders on this team - their legacy is their influence in how hard we worked on the court and that they fostered a family atmosphere among our group to help us have the successes that we've had."
Three Bears will still compete individually in Urbana, as Susanyi, Schutting and Fabikova will play in the NCAA singles tournament that runs from May 22-27.
"This is the best Zsofi's played for sure since she came back from her injury," Augustus said. "She's hitting the ball much better, competing better, feeling better. Fortunately she'll get to play in the singles championships. She had a really great match. Klara's learned a lot this year and adjusted well. She loves big matches and big occasions. Just like Zsofi, her getting a win on the board for us today was great and bodes well going into the singles tournament. She's hitting the ball well, likes these courts is playing aggressive. She won her singles and her doubles today, so that was really great. She's enjoying being here and competing.
"Anett's played well all week, but today she just ran into somebody who had a better day than she did. Lauren Embree had a great day today. Anett's looking good for the individual championships. She's healthy and playing well. She's done a good job this week for us for sure. Hopefully Anett and Lynn, who've moved up to first alternate for the NCAA doubles tournament, will get in to that tournament as well."
The NCAA doubles tournament runs concurrently with the singles championship from May 22-27 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.
2013 NCAA WOMEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
May 19, 2013, in Urbana, Ill.
Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex
No. 1 Florida 4, No. 8 California 2
1. No. 11 Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (Florida) vs. No. 33 Lynn Chi/Anett Schutting (California) - 8-4
2. Klara Fabikova/Annie Goransson (California) def. Alexandra Cercone/Caroline Hitimana (Florida) - 8-4
3. Danielle Collins/Brianna Morgan (Florida) def. Kelly Chui/TaylerDavis (California) - 8-4
Florida won the doubles point
Doubles Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1*
*Clinched the doubles point
1. No. 1 Lauren Embree (Florida) def. No. 8 Anett Schutting (California) - 6-2, 6-0
2. No. 43 Klara Fabikova (California) def. No. 17 Sofie Oyen (Florida) vs.- 7-5, 6-4
3. No. 5 Zsofi Susanyi (California) def. No. 51 Alexandra Cercone (Florida) - 6-1, 6-1
4. No. 70 Lynn Chi (California) vs. No. 89 Brianna Morgan (Florida) - Abandoned
5. No. 123 Olivia Janowicz (Florida) def. Tayler Davis (California) - 6-1, 6-4
6. No. 116 Caroline Hitimana (Florida) def. Annie Goransson (California) -6-3, 6-2
Singles Order of Finish: 3, 1, 5, 2, 6*
*Clinched the match
Records:  No. 1 Florida 26-2.  No. 8 California 19-6.