URBANA, Ill.. - Making her first career appearance at the NCAA tournament, Arkansas freshman Yang Pang put up a strong performance, but fell in her opening match of the NCAA Individual Singles Competition. Pang lost 7-5, 6-4 to Stanford's Nicole Gibbs at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.
Pang entered the match facing a stout challenge in No. 13 Nicole Gibbs, who was the defending NCAA singles champion and recently helped the Cardinal clinch the 2013 team championship. Due to rain in the area, the start of the match was delayed for nearly three hours.
"She had a breakout season this year as just a freshman," Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty said. "The atmosphere and quality of play was excellent tonight. To go down to the wire with the defending champion is a great sign for her future."
In the first set, Pang hung in, keeping the match tied at 3-3. She earned a break point to cut Gibbs' lead to 5-4, but Gibbs recovered to take the first set 7-5. Pang battled hard again in the second set, once again earning a break point to cut into Gibbs' lead at 5-4. But Gibbs took the next game and clinched the match in straight sets.
Pang was ranked 47th in the nation in singles by the ITA, and spent the entire season facing ranked opponents for Arkansas at the No. 1 singles spot during a strong freshman season. She was named to the All-SEC First Team, the All-SEC Freshman Team, and named Central Region Rookie of the Year by the ITA. Pang finished with an 11-13 overall record in singles.
This is the fifth time in the past six years that Arkansas has sent at least one player to compete in the individual singles tournament. The last Razorback to compete at the NCAA Individual Singles tournament was Anouk Tigu, who advanced to the second round in 2011 after also reaching the second round in 2010.