FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 21 Arkansas Razorbacks fell 4-2 to No. 15 Clemson in the NCAA Regional finals match on Sunday in Fayetteville. Arkansas’ season ends with an 18-10 season record and the Tigers now move onto the round of 16 in the 2011 NCAA Championship beginning Friday on the campus of Stanford University.
The Tigers managed to capture two straight matches in doubles competition to clinch the first point. The No. 14 Razorback pair, Anouk Tigu and Claudine Paulson, was the first to fall against No. 6 Josipa Bek and Keri Wong, 8-2. On the third court, Tiger duo Caroline Magnusson and Klara Vyskocilova followed with a defeat over Jade Frampton and Valentina Starkova, 8-4, and clinched the point. At the No. 2 position, Kate Lukomskaya and Stephanie Roy held an 8-7 lead over Maria Belaya and Laurianne Henry, but did not finish the match.
Singles play was a true battle for the Razorbacks and Clemson as CU’s No. 48 Keri Wong took the first singles point from Arkansas’ Stephanie Roy in just two sets (6-3, 6-0) at No. 2. A battle of the highest-ranked opponents on court No. 1 went to the Tigers as 33rd-ranked Tigu battled the first set against CU’s Bek, who ranks11th by the ITA. Bek took the match 7-5, 6-0, giving Clemson a 3-0 lead.
"Clemson is great at No. 1 doubles, and No. 1 and No. 2 singles," head coach Michael Hegarty said. "I had hoped we could break into that somewhere. If you don’t, you have to win at three, four, five and six singles, and that’s tough to do."
In the fifth singles position, Emily Carbone forced a third set after her opponent Maria Belaya took set one 6-4, and Carbone came from behind to win set two, 7-5. Belaya retired in the third set, trailing 3-0, giving Carbone the win and its first point of the match.
Claudine Paulson earned the second team point for Arkansas in the fifth spot with a three-set win (6-2, 3-6, 6-4) over Klara Vyskocilova.
"We did feel some momentum, but when you’re in a hole that deep, it only takes one blink and that’s what happened in that third set (at No. 4)," Hegarty said.
With a 3-2 score and four singles matches decided, No. 114 Nelly Ciolkowski won the third set over Razorback Kate Lukumskaya (6-2, 3-6, 6-1) at the fourth position in order to clinch the win and secure a spot in the NCAA Championship round of 16 next weekend.
On court six, Arkansas’ Jade Frampton was trailing, but in position to get a win, 6-2, 4-6, 1-2.
Arkansas closes out its 2011 campaign 18-10 overall on the season with its fifth straight NCAA appearance.
"It’s always difficult when you lose your last team match of the year," Hegarty said. "We know in the NCAA Tournament round of 32, it can go either way. I don’t feel anything but pride in our team’s performance. This is a young team and we had extremely high highs this year. We didn’t take a loss to a team not ranked in the top 25. We played at a high level all the time."
The Razorbacks eliminated No. 47 Sacramento State in the first round on Saturday. Arkansas has advanced to at least the second round of the NCAA Tournament four straight years.
NCAA Women’s Tennis Fayetteville RegionalSecond Round, Regional FinalSunday, May 14University of ArkansasGeorge M. Billingsley Tennis Center
No. 15 Clemson 4No. 21 Arkansas 2
Doubles:Order of Finish: 1, 3*
No. 1 #6 Josipa Bek/Keri Wong (CU) def. #14 Anouk Tigu/Claudine Paulson (Ark.), 8-2
No. 2 Kate Lukomskaya/Stephanie Roy (Ark.) led Maria Belaya/Laurianne Henry (CU), 8-7, dnf
No. 3 Caroline Magnusson/Klara Vyskocilova (CU) def. Jade Frampton/Valentina Starkova (Ark.), 8-4
Singles:Order of Finish: 2, 1, 5, 3, 4*
No. 1 #11 Josipa Bek (CU) def. #33 Anouk Tigu (Ark.), 7-5, 6-0
No. 2 #48 Keri Wong (CU) def. Stephanie Roy (Ark.), 6-3, 6-0
No. 3 Claudine Paulson (Ark.) def. Klara Vyskocilova (CU), 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
No. 4 #114 Nelly Ciolkowski (CU) def. Kate Lukomskaya (Ark.), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
No. 5 Emily Carbone (Ark.) def. Maria Belaya (CU), 4-6, 7-5, 3-0, ret.
No. 6 Caroline Magnusson (CU) led Jade Frampton (Ark.), 6-2, 4-6, 2-1