April 20, 2008
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FLA. – It took close to three and a half hours, but Carol Salge finally clinched the match for Clemson to give the Tigers their first Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Tennis Championship crown since 2004. Fourth-seeded Clemson, which had upended top-seeded Georgia Tech in the semifinals on Saturday, posted its second upset in the tournament with a 4-3 victory over #2-seed Duke late Sunday afternoon at Sanlando Park. The win also extended Clemson’s streak to 10 straight.
Salge, a senior from San Roque, Brazil, was named the ACC Most Valuable Player at the tournament after she clinched the match that gave Clemson its eighth league crown overall.
The win was her 11th straight decision and improved her overall record to 14-10.
Clemson (15-9) claimed the doubles point to open the match, posting wins at Nos. 1 and 3. Ina Hadziselimovic and Alexandra Luc were the first to win, defeating Duke’s Ellah Nze and Reka Zsilinszka 8-5 on court three.
The Tigers captured the point at the top spot from an 8-5 win by Ani Mijacika and Salge over Melissa Mang and Amanda Granson of Duke. The 10th-ranked Clemson tandem now boasts a 14-2 record in dual matches and extended its winning streak to 10 straight.
Singles play was then an all-out battle as Duke won a pair of matches at the second and fifth positions to pull ahead 2-1. Clemson’s Mijacika and Laurianne Henry claimed their matches to regain the lead at 3-2.
The Tigers had a chance to claim the title on court four, but Duke’s Mang rallied for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Hadziselimovic.
The championship title came down to the no. 4 match-up, which took three sets to complete. Salge won the first set, 6-1, but Zsilinszka bounced back for a 6-3 win in the second. The third set went into a tiebreaker as Salge clinched the match 7-6 (6) for the overall victory.
Clemson’s run to the title included three straight wins over top-15 ranked teams. The Tigers defeated fifth-seeded and 13th-ranked North Carolina in the quarterfinals before their stunning upset of top-seed and #2 Georgia Tech on Saturday. The Blue Devils were then listed ninth in the most recent Fila/ITA Tennis poll.
By winning the conference title, Clemson secured the ACC’s automatic bid for the 2008 NCAA Championships. The 64-team field will be announced on Tuesday, April 29, while individual invitations are scheduled for Wednesday, April 30.
The Tiger netters are the second Clemson athletic program to capture an ACC Championship this academic year, joining Jolene Jordan Hoover’s volleyball team.
Today’s championship match will be available On-Demand by 9 p.m. on ACC Select (www.ACCSelect.com). Fans can also catch earlier coverage of the quarterfinals and semifinals on ACC Select.
Clemson 4, Duke 3 Doubles 1. #10 Mijacika/Salge (CU) def. #4 Mang/Granson (DU), 8-5 2. Balda/Van Adrichem (CU) vs. Robinson/Tory Zawacki (DU), dnf 3. Hadziselimovic/Alexandra Luc (CU) def. Nze/Zsilinszka (DU), 8-5 Order of Finish: 3, *1
Singles 1. #1 Ani Mijacika (CU) def. Tara Iyer (DU), 6-1, 6-4 2. #19 Ellah Nze (DU) def. #108 Estefania Balda (CU), 6-1, 6-4 3. #81Carol Salge (CU) def. #21 Reka Zsilinszka (DU), 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (6) 4. Melissa Mang (DU) def. Ina Hadziselimovic (CU), 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 5. Amanda Granson (DU) def. Federica van Adrichem (CU), 6-2, 6-2 6. Laurianne Henry (CU) def. Jessi Robinson (CU), 6-2, 7-5 Order of Finish – 2, 5, 1, 6, 4, 3*
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