Emily Arbuthnott and Emma Higuchi won in straight sets at No. 5 and No. 6 to tie the match at 2-2 and then Melissa Lord put the Cardinal ahead 3-2 with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win at No. 3.
Ohio State also forced third sets at No. 3 and No. 4 and in fact they would serve for the match on both courts at the same time. Ohio State's Miho Kowase served for the match up 5-4 in the third but Stanford's Caroline Lampl broke at love for 5-5. Kowase broke back at love for 6-5 and then she closed it out with a hold from 40/30 to win 3-6, 7-6, 7-5.
The match at No. 3 between Stanford's Taylor Davidson and Ohio State's Gabriella De Santis would become the match decider and De Santis had to like her chances when leading 5-3 in the third. Davidson held comfortably for 4-5 and then she broke on the no-ad point, which was also match point for De Santis, for 5-5. De Santis broke back on the no-ad point for 6-5 but once again she'd be unable to serve it out after Davidson broke at love to send it to a tiebreak. The server won the first six points of the tiebreak until Davidson got the mini-break for 4-3. Davidson went up 6-3 but then on the next point when she hit an overhead that missed she came down awkwardly and starting hobbling. Davidson could barely move on the next point, hitting most of her shots flat-footed, and De Santis would take the point to pull within 6-5. Somehow, someway, Davidson managed to serve it out in a point that lasted 90 seconds and the Cardinal were headed back to play for yet another NCAA National Championship.
Ohio State has highlights in its recap
#6 STANFORD (25-2) 4, #2 OHIO STATE (32-2) 3
Head Coaches: Melissa Schaub (Ohio State) and Lele Forood (Stanford)
1. #18 Francesca Di Lorenzo/Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) vs. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 4-4, uf
2.Sandy Niehaus/Anna Sanford (OHIO STATE) def. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STANFORD), 6-2
3.Gabriella De Santis/Ferny Angeles Paz (OHIO STATE) def. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 6-1
1. #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OHIO STATE) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD), 6-1, 6-0
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. #67 Anna Sanford (OHIO STATE), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
3. #54 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. #95 Gabriella De Santis (OHIO STATE), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5)
4. #91 Miho Kowase (OHIO STATE) def. #90 Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 3-6, 7-6, 7-5
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STANFORD) def. #112 Sandy Niehaus (OHIO STATE), 6-4, 6-3
6. #71 Emma Higuchi (STANFORD) def. Ferny Angeles Paz (OHIO STATE), 6-3, 7-5
Doubles (2,3) Singles (1,5,2,6,4,3)
STANFORD ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH FRANKIE BRENNAN
On today’s match...“First of all hats off to Ohio State, this was an unbelievable fight. We’ve done this before, we did it last year where we lost some doubles points and faced adversity. It takes six people to win a match. I am unbelievably proud of everybody who stepped up and fought hard to get us back in the match regardless of what happened in the beginning. It was an incredible effort by everybody.”
OHIO STATE HEAD COACH MELISSA SCHAUB
On today’s match...“We had chances. I told these guys how proud I am of them and the team that they are. It was a gritty performance today, but lost five first sets. We turned a couple of them and had chances. I am proud of the fight. “
Photo by Bill Kallenberg (CapturedInAction.com)
Florida lost twice to Vanderbilt in the regular season and around the midway point of singles it looked like it might happen again. Florida took the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 but Vanderbilt came back and took three first sets on the four courts in progress.
Vanderbilt picked up straight set wins from Sydney Campbell and Christina Rosca to go up 2-1 plus Astra Sharma had a set lead at No. 1, Emma Kurtz got a split at No. 4, and Georgina Sellyn went up 2-0 at No. 5.
As quickly as Vanderbilt had surged, Florida would do the same and Anna Danilina started it off by puling away from Kurtz in a third set to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Belinda Woolcock put Florida back in front with a 6-7, 6-2, 6-0 win over Sharma at No. 1 and then Brooke Austin would clinch the match with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Sellyn at No. 5.
#1 FLORIDA (28-3) 4, #3 VANDERBILT (24-6) 2
Head Coaches: Roland Thornqvist (Florida) and Geoff Macdonald (Vanderbilt)
1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #1 Astra Sharma/Emily Smith (VANDERBILT), 6-1
2.#20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. Sydney Campbell/Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT), 6-4
3.#45 Josie Kuhlman/Belina Woolcock (FLORIDA) vs. Christina Rosca/Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT), 5-5, uf
1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #4 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT), 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-0
2. #15 Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) def. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA), 6-4, 6-1
3. #102 Christina Rosca (VANDERBILT) def. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA), 7-5, 6-4
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) def. Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
5. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA) def. Georgina Sellyn (VANDERBILT), 6-2, 6-3
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) vs. Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT), 6-0, 1-3, uf
Doubles (1,2) Singles (2,3,4,1,5)
FLORIDA HEAD COACH ROLAND THORNQVIST
On today’s match...“It was such a quick turn around from yesterday, there wasn’t a lot we could do as far as preparation was concerned, but we played a really good match at the SEC tournament. I think we had our chances to win but let them slip away and I think our players will tell you the same thing. So we were really motivated today to go all the way. Doubles was exceptional and then the momentum shifted at the beginning of singles, but we have been a no-panic team the entire year. It was very tough at the end with a few set matches here and we all struck them down here physically so that helped turn the momentum.”
On clinching today’s match...“Obviously the doubles point was amazing. Our fans were incredible. It felt like it was electric in here. Kourt (Keegan) and I got the job done at the end and I think we just stuck together and knew that we could do it. I literally looked at her at 30-30 in the game and was like ‘we can do this’ and she goes ‘I know’ and that’s when I knew that we were going to do it. We fought as hard as we could. Everyone was yelling and cheering and just sticking together which really describes our whole team experience here. Today was just a good example of it.”
VANDERBILT HEAD COACH GEOFF MACDONALD
On today’s match...“Well this is the first match we’ve lost since early March. We had a tough road match against Kentucky, they’re a really good indoor team. Another interesting thing, that was our sixth lost and five of those six have been indoors. We only lost one match all year outside. They are brilliant young people. They compete with so much heart. They’re fair. They represent our university with class. I’m just really proud of them.”