Gonzaga Fights but Falls to No. 13 Pepperdine
April 22, 2017
MALIBU, Calif.—In a showdown for the West Coast Conference regular season title, the Zags fought hard – particularly in doubles play – but No. 13 Pepperdine took the dual by a 4-0 scoreline at Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif.
Despite the loss, the Zags (16-3, 7-2 WCC) finish the regular season in second place of the WCC standings. They will be the No. 2 seed at next weekend’s WCC Championships and earn a direct bye to the tournament’s semifinals. This is the second consecutive season the Zags have finished second in the conference, their highest placement ever.
Against the 13th-ranked Waves Saturday, the Bulldogs battled all throughout the doubles point. Pepperdine’s opened pairs play with a 6-3 win on court one, but the Zags forced tiebreaks on courts two and three. On court two, Sophie Whittle and Graciela Rosas took Mayar Sherif Ahmed and Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai by tying the contest at six-all, but that contest was left unfinished. At No. 3 doubles, Alex Bourguignon and Kate Ketels also forced extra tennis, but their foes prevailed in the elongated tiebreak 9-7 for the win and the early dual advantage.
In singles play, the Waves won the three singles matches that finished to clinch the dual, but the Zags led two matches when play was halted. On courts one and two, Nevada Apollo and Whittle took the first set in their matches against highly-ranked players. At No. 1 singles, Apollo squared off against Louisa Stefani, currently ranked No. 12 by the ITA. The Bulldog battled for a 6-4 first-set victory but trailed in the second when play was stopped.
On court two, Whittle faced No. 13 Ashley Lahey. The sophomore Zag also took her first set by a 6-4 tally, and she led the second set 2-1 when the dual was clinched.
The Waves took the dual with a trio of victories at the bottom of the singles lineup. Runglerdkriangkrai, a senior, swept Ketels, a freshman, on court five in the first to finish. At No. 6 singles, Domonique Garley suffered her first loss of the dual year, losing 6-2, 6-3, to Dzina Milovanoic for Pepperdine’s third point of the day, and the Waves clinched the match on court four where Haruna Tsuruta – another freshman – fell to Laura Gulbe 6-0, 6-1. Gulbe entered the day ranked No. 90 by the ITA and was one of four ranked players in the singles lineup for the Waves.
On court three, Rosas trailed 3-2 in her second set to Sherif Ahmed. That match too was left unfinished.
“I think we needed that experience playing a really good team,” said Gonzaga head coach D.J. Gurule, “and I think we can compete better throughout the lineup next time. It would have been nice to have Sophie and Nev [Apollo] finish. They were playing great.”
The Zags will open play at the WCC Championship on Friday, April 28, at 2:00 p.m. All matches of the tournament will take place at Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, Calif. The tournament champion will earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
April 22, 2017 at Malibu, Calif.
Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center
1. #12 Stefani, Luisa (PEP) vs. Apollo, Nevada (GON) 4-6, 3-0, unfinished
2. #13 Lahey, Ashley (PEP) vs. Whittle, Sophie (GON) 4-6, 1-2, unfinished
3. #35 Sherif Ahmed, Mayar (PEP) vs. Rosas, Graciela (GON) 6-2, 3-2, unfinished
4. #90 Gulbe, Laura (PEP) def. Tsuruta, Haruna (GON) 6-0, 6-1
5. Runglerdkriangkrai,A (PEP) def. Ketels, Kate (GON) 6-0, 6-0
6. Milovanovic, Dzina (PEP) def. Garley, Domonique (GON) 6-2, 6-3
1. Stefani, Luisa/Maddox, Christine (PEP) def. APOLLO, Nevada/GARLEY, Domonique (GON) 6-3
2. Sherif Ahmed, Mayar/Runglerdkriangkrai,A (PEP) vs. WHITTLE, Sophie/ROSAS, Graciela (GON) 6-6 (4-1), unfinished
3. Lahey, Ashley/Milovanovic, Dzina (PEP) def. BOURGUIGNON, Alex/KETELS, Kate (GON) 7-6 (9-7)
Gonzaga 16-3, 7-2 WCC
Pepperdine 19-4, 9-0 WCC; National ranking #13
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (5,6,4)
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