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Women's Tennis

Catherine Leduc earned the match-clinching win Saturday at Stanford.
Catherine Leduc earned the match-clinching win Saturday at Stanford.
WTEN | Gaels Earn Landmark Win At Stanford
Release: Friday 02/16/2013 
by SMC Athletics

STANFORD, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's women's tennis team has racked up its share of impressive accomplishments over the last few years.

Saturday's win at Stanford might just stand at the head of the class.

Ranked No. 47 in the country, the Gaels banded together to watch Catherine Leduc's three-set thriller clinch a historic 4-3 victory over the No. 7-ranked Cardinal at Taube Family Tennis Center.

It is the first ever victory over a top-10 team for Saint Mary's, which improved to 5-3 on the season. It is just the third home loss for Stanford (3-1) since 1999. The Cardinal owned a NCAA record 184-match home winning streak from 1999-2011.

"It is obviously a huge win for us after a slow start to the year," Saint Mary's coach Lisa Alipaz said. "I have enormous respect for (Stanford head coach) Lele Forood, Frankie (Brennan) and their whole team. She is a legend and they have a talented, classy team."

The Gaels got started with doubles. Elizabeth Searl and Catherine Isip got the party started with a 8-6 win over Kristie Ahn and Amelia Herring at No. 2. Shortly thereafter, SMC earned the point when No. 1 team Jenny Jullien and Danielle Flores beat Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay 8-5.

That advantage proved huge once singles began. Wins at No. 4 and 2 singles gave the advantage back to Stanford, with the Cardinal leading 2-1.

Jullien was there to even the score, and in the process, she continued the massive roll she has been on this spring. Ranked No. 24 in the country, Jullien earned a 7-5, 6-1 win over No. 10 Krista Hardebeck at No. 1 to square the match at 2.

The win is Jullien's fifth over a ranked opponent this spring, and fourth over a top-30 competitor.

Stanford pulled back in front with a win at No. 6 singles, but that lead didn't last long.

The Gaels earned their third point of the day courtesy of sophomore Danielle Flores. Picking up perhaps her biggest victory of the season to date, Flores battled for a 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 win over No. 33-ranked Ellen Tsay.

"We got great performances from Jenny and Dani in both singles and doubles," Alipaz said. "Their win at No. 1 doubles really set the tone for the day and gave us belief."

That left just No. 5 singles to decide the match, and pitted SMC's Leduc against Stanford's Natalie Dillon.

Dillon took the first set 6-4, but Leduc fought back to win the second set 7-6 in a tiebreaker. That fight carried over into the third, and with the support of her Gaels teammates, Leduc won the set 6-3 to finish off a tremendous day for the Gaels.

"Catherine's come from behind victory was so fun to watch," Alipaz said. "After a slow start, she clawed her way back into it and really executed her game plan superbly in the final set."

The win was Saint Mary's fourth in a row, and should provide huge momentum as the Gaels prepare to host No. 3 UCLA on Feb. 23. That match is set to begin at noon.