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LSU Women’s Tennis Falls to No. 2 Stanford, 4-0, in Second Round of NCAA Tournament

LSU Women’s Tennis Falls to No. 2 Stanford, 4-0, in Second Round of NCAA Tournament

Stanford, Calif. – The LSU women’s tennis team (16-11) had the 2023-24 season come to a close on Saturday night after falling to No. 2 Stanford (24-2) by a score of 4-0 at the Taube Family Tennis Center.

Taylor’s Thoughts
“A credit to Stanford and their program today,” head coach Taylor Fogleman said. “We knew what we were up against in playing them: a storied program with a great team and exceptional coaching staff. We started out slow in the doubles and singles rounds. I love the response that we had to battle back and the opportunities we created in that fight, but we had unfortunately given them enough of a lead that they could get over the finish line despite those opportunities. They’re the No. 2 ranked team in the nation and I think they showed why in their play tonight.”

Doubles Results
After a day of rain showers in the area, doubles play finally began at 5:15 p.m. PT, four hours and fifteen minutes after the originally planned 1 p.m. PT start time. A little over 30 minutes of doubles played out before light showers rolled in the area, requiring a 15-minute delay and a resumption of play at 6 p.m. PT.

Angelica Blake and Alexis Blokhina opened the doubles round for the Cardinals by taking down Gaby Rivera and Maya Tahan by a score of 6-2 at the No. 2 spot.

Stanford took a 1-0 lead in the match after clinching the doubles point through Katherine Hui and Valencia Xu. Hui and Xu took down Florentine Dekkers and Aran Teixidó Garcia by a score of 6-3 at the No. 3 court.

Singles Results
Singles play began five minutes after the conclusion of doubles, but the second weather delay of the day came through just a few points into the round. This time, the delay was 45 minutes as the showers passed through and the workers dried the six courts. At 7:17 p.m. PT, two hours after the initial start to the match, singles play resumed.

Hui was the first player off the singles court as she took down Tahan at the No. 4 court. Hui dropped one game in the first set, 6-1, before she overcame a slow start in the second set to win 6-4 and get the Cardinals their first singles point.

The lead was extended to 3-0 on the night as No. 25 Blake took down No. 101 Dekkers at the top singles spot. The two players battled it out in a close first set, splitting ten games at 5-5 before Blake won the final two straight to win 7-5. The second set saw the Stanford player take the lead and did not look back as she went on to win by a score of 6-3.

The Cardinals clinched their spot in the Sweet 16 moments later as No. 29 Alexandra Yepifanova defeated No. 110 Teixidó Garcia at the No. 2 court. Teixidó Garcia jumped out to an early lead in the first set, but Yepifanova battled back and finished strong by winning six of the final seven points on her way to a 6-4 win. The second set saw the Cardinal player only drop two games as she won 6-2 and clinched her team’s spot in the next round of the NCAA Tournament.

Season Recap
The 2023-24 Tigers featured nine newcomers to the squad, with five of those players transferring in with collegiate experience and four entering as freshmen. Aran Teixidó Garcia and Maya Tahan joined as graduate students after four years of play at Memphis and Miami respectively for their final season of college tennis. Juniors Florentine Dekkers and Anita Sahdiieva joined after two seasons each at Kansas State and Baylor respectively and were joined by Gaby Rivera, who came from Miami and joined the team this past January. Freshmen Kinaa Graham, Emma Grant and Carina Holguin joined the program last August while Kenna Erickson arrived to Baton Rouge in January.

“It’s a testament to the platform and brand that we have, as well as the people we are, that we could attract some pretty darn good players,” Fogleman said. “The ladies this year bought in to what we’ve built here and despite all being newcomers, bonded pretty quickly with one another while each going through a new experience.”

Nine players competed for the Tigers in the spring, with all nine players being newcomers that joined in either August before the fall or in January ahead of the dual season. Despite being a squad of new faces, the team settled into Baton Rouge and helped the program improve its dual season results from the previous year. 16 wins improved the win total by three, and the win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament marked the first time that the team advanced to the second round in three years. Additionally, a 4-2 win over then-No. 14 South Carolina marked the program’s first win over a Top 25 foe since 2021.

Individually, Aran Teixidó Garcia was voted to the All-SEC Second Team in her lone season at LSU after earning 11 singles wins and 12 doubles wins. Kenna Erickson became the first Tiger since 2018 to earn a spot on the All-SEC Freshman team, earning 10 singles wins and 10 doubles wins after joining the team in January.

“That bond that they built was a key part of the success we had this season,” Fogleman said. “I think in some moments we had some tough times and circumstances to endure that the bonds they created played a huge part in overcoming those moments. Even through those tough moments, they stayed together and improved upon what we accomplished in the previous season as a team.”

“Just proud of this group at the end of it all. The success this year was a big testament to the ladies for who they are as people and the work they put in together. I love the foundation that we’ve laid for our program this year, and like the outlook for it next year and moving forward.”

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LSU vs. Stanford
May 4, 2024
NCAA Tournament – Round Two
Stanford Regional – Taube Family Tennis Center 

#2 Stanford 4, #32 LSU 0

1) #25 Angelica Blake (STAN) d. #101 Florentine Dekkers (LSU) 7-5, 6-3
2) #29 Alexandra Yepifanova (STAN) d. #110 Aran Teixidó Garcia (LSU) 6-4, 6-2
3) Anita Sahdiieva (LSU) led Alexis Blokhina (STAN) 6-4, 2-5 unf.
4) Katherine Hui (STAN) d. Maya Tahan (LSU) 6-1, 6-4
5) Valencia Xu (STAN) even with Gaby Rivera (LSU) 6-0, 4-6 unf.
6) Kenna Erickson (LSU) led India Houghton (STAN) 7-5, 5-4 unf.

1) #10 Connie Ma/Alexandra Yepifanova (STAN) led #52 Kenna Erickson/Anita Sahdiieva (LSU) 5-4 unf.
2) Angelica Blake/Alexis Blokhina (STAN) d. Gaby Rivera/Maya Tahan (LSU) 6-2
3) Katherine Hui/Valencia Xu (STAN) d. Florentine Dekkers/Aran Teixidó Garcia (LSU) 6-3

Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,1,2)
LSU 16-11
Stanford 24-2