LOS ANGELES - The Saint Mary's women's tennis team scripted quite a way to open their 2012 season on Friday at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The No. 41-ranked Gaels pulled off a big upset over No. 25 Oklahoma in thrilling fashion, topping the Sooners 4-3 in a match that went down to the wire.
Saint Mary's (1-0) handed Oklahoma (3-1) their first loss of the season. The win also marks the Gaels' first win against a top-25 team since the 2008 season when SMC defeated No. 21 Denver in Moraga, 4-3.
SMC advances to the qualifying match for the ITA National Indoor Championships which are held in February. The Gaels will play Saturday against No. 4 UCLA, who defeated Utah 4-1 on Friday as well.
Saint Mary's got off to a good start in the match by winning on two-of-three doubles courts to win the crucial first point of the day. Freshman Catherine Leduc and sophomore transfer Carla Lindlar teamed up on court three to give SMC an early advantage with an 8-4 win over OU's Mia Lancaster and Abbi Melrose.
After the Sooners' No. 22-ranked doubles duo of Marie-Pier Huet and Whitney Ritchie won on court one, the Gaels claimed the doubles point at the two spot. Junior Catherine Isip and freshman Elizabeth Searl topped Oklahoma's Nicole Long and Whitney Wofford 8-3 to help the Gaels capture the first point of the day.
The Sooners tied things up at one in singles play with a win on court three. Leduc and sophomore Jenny Jullien put the Gaels up 3-1 with quick wins on courts five and two. Leduc topped Long 6-3, 6-4 at the five spot, while No. 68 Jullien defeated Whitney Ritchie 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2 position.
Oklahoma then got two wins on courts one and six to tie the score up at three and put all the pressure on the four spot.
Transfer No. 116 Jade Frampton was able to come up with the deciding win to give the Gaels the victory. After dropping the first set 7-5 to OU's Melrose, Frampton stormed back in the second set with a 6-4 win to tie things up and send the match into a third and deciding set. The two players went back and forth in the set, with Frampton earning the tiebreaker victory to give her a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 win.
The Gaels' match against UCLA will be on Saturday, January 28 at 3 p.m. at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.