May 12, 2007
ATHENS, Ga. -
The Auburn Tigers came back to win three-straight singles matches in a 4-3 victory over N.C. State on Saturday. The win pushed the No. 31 Tigers' record to 14-9 overall, while the No. 39 Wolfpack fell to 13-11.
The NCAA Tournament win was the first since 2002, when the Tigers opened with a 4-3 win over Indiana in the first round.
"I can't say enough about the effort these girls gave today," head coach Tim Gray said. "With our backs up against the wall, these players responded and played great tennis."
The match began in doubles as the 13th ranked duo of Melissa Koning and Alex Haney fell to Alejandra Guerra and Daria Petrovic, 8-4 at the No. 1 spot. The Wolfpack picked up the doubles point when Kate Green and Julia Roach defeated Kelly Adams and Jil Hastenrath, 8-5 at the No. 2 position.
Trailing 1-0 heading to singles play, the Tigers tied the match when Koning blew past Berkeley Brock, 6-1, 6-3 at the No. 3 position.
NC State took back the lead when AU's Kelly Adams, playing her first match at the fifth position, lost 6-1, 6-3 to Green. The lead moved to 3-1 with a 6-1, 6-2 loss by Heather Bybee at the No. 6 spot. The match was just the fifth of the season played by Bybee.
Facing three must-win situations, Hastenrath started the rally with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Roach at the No. 4 position. With lightning in the area, the match was moved indoors, where the Tiger continued its rally. Sophomore Alex Haney came through with a stellar comeback performance at the No. 2 spot, winning, 6-6, 7-6, 6-2 to tie the match at three.
With all eyes on the No. 1 court, 16th ranked Fani Chifchieva finished off her own comeback, defeating No. 95 Daria Petrovic, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 to give the Tigers the 4-3 win.
Auburn will now face second ranked Georgia at 12 p.m. CT on Sunday. The Bulldogs defeated South Carolina State, 4-0 in the earlier match. The SEC foes will play for the third time this season after splitting the last two meetings.
1. #16 Fani Chifchieva (AUB) def. #95 Daria Petrovic (NCSU) 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
2. Alex Haney (AUB) def. Alejandra Guerra (NCSU) 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
3. Melissa Koning (AUB) def. Berkeley Brock (NCSU) 6-1, 6-3
4. Jil Hastenrath (AUB) def. Julia Roach (NCSU) 6-4, 6-2
5. Kate Green (NCSU) def. Kelly Adams (AUB) 6-1, 6-3
6. Neils Barringer (NCSU) def. Heather Bybee (AUB) 6-1, 6-2
1. Alejandra Guerra/Daria Petrovic (NCSU) def. #13 Alex Haney/Melissa Koning (AUB) 8-4
2. Kate Green/Julia Roach (NCSU) def. Kelly Adams/Jil Hastenrath (AUB) 8-5
3. Kristen Bleakley/Berkeley Brock (NCSU) vs. Heather Bybee/Fani Chifchieva (AUB) 6-6, unfinished
Auburn University 14-9; National ranking #31
North Carolina State 13-11; National ranking #39
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (3,5,6,4,2,1)