OU women’s tennis: No. 2 Sooners defeat No. 15 Stanford, advance to Elite Eight | Sports

On a calm Friday night at Headington Family Tennis Center, No. 2 Oklahoma took to the courts as it looked to defeat No. 15 Stanford in the NCAA Super Regional and book a ticket to the Elite Eight round.

OU entered the match with a chip on its shoulder. Head coach Andra Cohen said last week, in her collegiate playing career she made it to the national title game with Miami (FL), but fell to Stanford and was never able to get her revenge.

“The team we lost to in the finals of the NCAA, in a tight one, was actually Stanford,” Cohen said. “The feeling that you have, leaves a taste in your mouth that you’re chasing for the rest of the time.”

As soon as the Sooners defeated the Cardinal, 4-1, the entire team swarmed sophomore Dana Guzman as they advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in Champaign, Illinois.

“By treating this match like we are the underdog, and we are, and using that mentality against anyone we play from here on out,” Cohen said. “We have to think like that because we have never been in this situation before.”

The Sooners took to the doubles courts ready to face the uphill challenge. They began smoothly as Guzman and freshman Emma Staker opened the match with a doubles win, 6-2, over Stanford’s Michaela Gordon and Valencia Xu.

OU then followed that with a doubles point clinch as senior Alexandra Pisareva and junior Layne Sleeth defeated the Cardinal’s Sara Choy and Alexandra Yepifanova, 7-5. The final game was left unfinished as the No. 10-ranked sister duo of senior Ivana Corley and junior Carmen Corley were leading Stanford’s No. 19-ranked duo of Connie Ma and Angelica Blake, 6-5.

“I think the underdog mentality helped a lot,” Guzman said. “We didn’t feel much pressure when we did that, we went out there and played free.”

After a slow start and a few long sequences, OU’s No. 97-ranked singles performer, Ivana, took over Blake as she found a couple of 6-4 scores to earn the win.

The Cardinal finally scratched the scoreboard as Choy defeated Staker, 7-5 and 6-0, to put Stanford on the board, yet it still trailed by one. However, No. 53-ranked player Carmen answered back as she took down the No. 23-ranked Yepifanova, 6-3 and 7-6, to put the national championship berth only a single point away.

Guzman came forward with her first clinch of the year, in one of the most pressure-filled scenarios possible. The Peru native, she produced a win over Stanford’s India Houghton, 6-2 and 6-4, in the win.

“It was awesome, the crowd, they were engaging a lot and it feels really nice to see it on the board,” Guzman said. “I was so happy after the match, seeing everyone fighting but we were all having fun too.”

Two courts were left unfinished as Oklahoma’s Sleeth was leading Stanford’s Ma, 7-6 and 1-1, at the conclusion of the match. Similarly, the Sooners’ Pisareva was in a battle with No. 113-ranked Xu, but led the game 1-6, 6-4, and 1-0, as the match concluded.

“It just shows the competitor that Dana is, she has been through a ton of adversity this year with the major injury back in the fall, for her to come back this season and to be a hero and get us a ticket to Illinois.” Cohen said. “It just shows who she is inside di lei, and how much heart she has for this program. Dana has been on the sidelines and on the court, and lei has been a fighter and that is what you saw today and what you’ll continue to see “.

The Sooners advanced to their first Elite Eight and will begin the round at a time that is still to be determined. OU will face the winner of No. 7 Texas A&M and Vanderbilt on Thursday, May 19, in Champaign, Illinois.

“We just have to keep playing green light tennis” Cohen said “we just have to keep playing like we are the underdogs, with that belief inside as well. It’s one thing to play like an underdog who doesn’t believe they can do it, but we’ve got to play like underdogs that know we can. “

With a potential national title on the line, Cohen’s team will do anything it can to bring the trophy back to Norman.

“We just have to keep going with that underdog mentality” Guzman said, “We are a team like that, we need to play free and keep fighting like we did today.”


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