One day after winning the program’s first NCAA Tournament match since 2004 over No. 38 Tennessee, the No. 33 Oregon women’s tennis team retook the courts Saturday against No. 3 Duke.
Although being ranked 30 positions lower than the Blue Devils, Oregon kept the match very close, being only a couple games away from pulling off the historical upset.
The Ducks ultimately fell 4-2 to Duke, despite coming back from a 2-0 deficit thanks to wins from from freshman Paiton Wagner and junior Shweta Sangwan.
With this dominant 6-1, 6-2, win over No. 55 Meible Chi, Sangwan is now 3-0 in her NCAA Tournament career.
Wagner’s win was the first NCAA Tournament victory in her young career. She defeated Hannah Zhao 6-4, 6-3, which originally tied the match at two.
Oregon’s doubles play was very competitive. Alyssa Tobita and Rifanty Kahfiani defeated the No. 6 ranked Samantha Harris and Kelly Chen 6-2. The Ducks were unable to capitalize on that win however, as Duke won its matches on the other two courts. No. 9 Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy defeated No. 74 Sangwan and Julia Eshet 6-4. Chi and Zhao then defeated the freshman tandem of Wagner and Lilien, which gave the point to the Blue Devils.
The other three points came from No. 28 Chen defeating Nasser 6-3, 6-2, No. 84 Hamlin beating Eshet 6-2, 6-3 and No. 116 McCarthy closing out Lilien 7-6, 6-1, which also ended the season.
Although it ended in defeat, this young Ducks team has gained plenty of experience for this year. Five of the six usual singles players will be returning next season and they now all have at least one career NCAA Tournament victory under their belt.
The one player leaving is No. 42 Tobita, whose team tennis career at Oregon is now finished with the third most wins in program history (77). The senior still has more matches to play, however, as she was selected for the singles tournament that begins May 23. She is the fourth Duck ever to be selected for that tournament.
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack