CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — For the first time in program history, the No. 2 Oklahoma women’s tennis team earned a spot in the national championship, defeating No. 3 Duke 4-3 in a down-to-the-wire battle on Saturday night.
“I can’t fathom the feeling, it’s still so raw,” said head coach Audra Cohen. “This is really not about me; this is about a group of women that came together and created this momentum that’s absolutely contagious.”
The match kicked off in doubles, with OU claiming the first court win at the top spot. No. 10 Ivana and Carmen Corley defeated No. 17 Georgia Drummy and Karolina Berankova 6-3. Duke secured a win at the No. 3 spot with a 6-2 victory from Margaryta Bilokin and Eliza Omirou over Dana Guzman and Emma Staker.
To claim the doubles point, Layne Sleeth and Alexandra Pisareva took down No. 47 Chloe Beck and Ellie Coleman on court two 7-5.
Opening singles with the 1-0 lead, the Sooners were quick to take three set-one wins but dropped the first singles court. No. 14 Georgia Drummy defeated No. 52 Carmen Corley on court two 6-0, 7-5.
OU bounced back with a dominant 6-0, 6-4 win at the top court from No. 10 Sleeth over No. 9 Chloe Beck, her 11th-ranked win of the season, to take back the lead.
The Blue Devils tied the match 2-2 with help from Emma Jackson, defeating No. 97 Ivana Corley 7-5, 6-3 on court three.
Trading off court wins, OU’s Pisareva claimed the victory over Ellie Coleman 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 5 spot.
Duke continued the back-and-forth battle with a win on court four from No. 106 Kelly Chen over Guzman, 6-3, 7-5.
With a trip to OU’s first national championship at stake, and Duke’s third appearance on the line, the decider came between freshman Emma Staker and fifth-year senior Eliza Omirou. After claiming the first set, Staker dropped set two, forcing a third. The freshman secured the victory with a shut out on court six, defeating the Blue Devil 6-0, 5-7, 6-0.
“I’m proud of [Emma] Staker for once again being the clinch artist,” said Cohen.
The Sooners will take on the defending national champions, No. 4 Texas, in a Red River rematch tomorrow for a shot at their first national title. The match is set for 7 p.m.
#2 Oklahoma 4, #3 Duke 3
1. #10 Layne Sleeth (OU) def. #9 Chloe Beck (DU) 6-0, 6-4
2. #14 Georgia Drummy (DU) def. #53 Carmen Corley (OU) 6-0, 7-5
3. Emma Jackson (DU) def. #97 Ivana Corley (OU) 7-5, 6-3
4. #106 Kelly Chen (DU) def. Dana Guzman (OU) 6-3, 7-5
5. Alexandra Pisareva (OU) def. Ellie Coleman (DU) 6-1, 6-4
6. Emma Staker (OU) def. Eliza Omirou (DU) 6-0, 5-7, 6-0
1. #10 Ivana Corley/Carmen Corley (OU) vs. #17 Georgia Drummy/Karolina Berankova (DU) 6-3
2. Layne Sleeth/Alexandra Pisareva (OU) def. #49 Chloe Beck/Ellie Coleman (DU) 7-5
3. Margaryta Bilokin/Eliza Omirou (DU) def. Dana Guzman/Emma Staker (OU) 6-2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,1,3,5,4,6)