May 22, 2004
ATHENS, GA – The Clemson women’s tennis team fell to UCLA in the NCAA Final Four on Saturday in Athens, GA. The fifth-seeded Tigers dropped a 4-0 decision to the ninth-seeded Bruins at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia. The Tigers end the season with a 26-4 overall record, while UCLA improves to 21-7 and will face the winner of the Stanford-Vanderbilt match to be played on Saturday afternoon in Athens. The Tiger women’s tennis program’s Final Four appearance on Saturday was the first for any women’s athletic team in Clemson history.
“I would just like to thank the tournament committee. It was a great tournament,” said Head Coach Nancy Harris. “Our hats are off to UCLA. They played great and we just weren’t good enough to get the win today. Yesterday was just a really long day and we were really glad to get the win over Washington. UCLA was doing all the right things today. They just kept coming at us and coming at us. We just didn’t seem to have our legs underneath us and have the usual bounce in our step today. I think we showed great depth in winning against Texas A&M and Washington.
“I am very proud of our players and the effort that they have made not only during the tournament but also throughout the season. They are true champions and it has been the privilege of our coaching staff to have the opportunity to work with them. I am very grateful to my staff. Sylvain Malroux has made a great contribution to the program with his consistent and constant support. It makes all the difference for myself and the team. To our student assistant, Laurence Jayet, I couldn’t be more thankful for her always being there with scouting help and optimism as a former Tiger student-athlete. A special thanks also goes to Stephanie Leggett who is leaving us this year. When we first hired her, she said she just wanted to make a difference and I am most certain she has. Making the final four is certainly the answer to that statement. We will miss her and we are so happy we had chance to have her as part of the team.
“I would also like to thank President and Mrs. Barker for their constant support from September until the end of the season. The privilege of knowing him has shown how truly presidential he is and we are very fortunate to have his leadership. A special thanks also to Dwight Rainey and Andy Johnston because I wouldn’t be at Clemson and have the opportunities I have today if they hadn’t selected me for the position. Thanks to Terry Don and all the athletic department staff for the tremendous support that we are given. I would like to thank Clemson and all of fans that drove over today and during the tournament. Their presence meant a lot to all of us. A final thank you to everyone back home, all the support staff, from facilities to marketing to the strength and conditioning staff, the athletic training staff, equipment room and sports information staffs. We truly are a Clemson family and I think that was very evident today when the stadium was solid orange.”
In doubles play, the Tigers lost the doubles point for only the fourth time this season and for the first time in eight matches. At flight one, UCLA’s 23rd-ranked Daniela Bercek and Lauren Fisher defeated 31st-ranked Daniela Alvarez and Maria Brito by a score of 8-1. Julie Coin and Alix Lacelarie of Clemson captured the flight two match with a 9-7 win over 43rd-ranked Jackie Carleton and Feriel Esseghir. At flight three, UCLA’s Laura Gordon and Sarah Gregg rallied from a 5-1 deficit to edge the Tigers’ Richele LeSaldo and Karen Rombouts by a score of 8-6, snapping Clemson’s flight three six-match win streak.
UCLA took a 2-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-2 win at flight five singles, as Clemson’s Julie Coin at number one singles.
“This has been a great year,” said LeSaldo. “We made history making the final four, but we still want more. Today is disappointing because we didn’t want the season to end. We wanted to go all the way. But all the same, all the Clemson fans came out and were so supportive to us from the beginning of the season to now.”
Clemson 0, UCLA 4
Doubles 1. Daniela Bercek/Lauren Fisher (UCLA) def. Daniela Alvarez/Maria Brito (CU), 8-1 2. Julie Coin/Alix Lacelarie (CU) def. Jackie Carleton/Feriel Esseghir (UCLA), 9-7 3. Laura Gordon/Sarah Gregg (UCLA) def. Richele LeSaldo/Karen Rombouts (CU), 8-6 Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3*
Singles 1. Daniela Bercek (UCLA) def. Julie Coin (CU), 6-2, 6-1 2. Jackie Carleton (UCLA) vs. Daniela Alvarez (CU), DNF 3. Feriel Esseghir (UCLA) def. Alix Lacelarie (CU), 6-2, 6-1 4. Maria Brito (CU) vs. Sarah Gregg (UCLA), DNF 5. Lauren Fisher (UCLA) def. Ioana Paun (CU), 6-2, 6-2 6. Laura Gordon (UCLA) vs. Karen Rombouts (CU), DNF Order of Finish: 5, 3, 1*
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