ASU tennis defeats UCLA for first time since 2000

ASU tennis earned a split against a couple tough Pac-12 opponents during a rainy weekend in Los Angeles.

During a weekend filled with waiting, rain delays and a pair of top-25 opponents, ASU tennis managed to get out of Los Angeles with a split.

The No. 26 Sun Devils battled through a tough back-to-back in the Pac-12, taking down No. 23 UCLA 4-3 on Friday night before falling to No. 24 USC on Sunday, 4-1.  ASU is now 7-2 in conference play and 16-5 overall. 

"Obviously when you get that first win, you want to complete it with the second one," head coach Sheila McInerney said in a phone call. "But to get a split against a couple tough Pac-12 teams like that, we'll certainly take it."

After a six hour rain delay on Friday, ASU finally took the court against UCLA around 7:00 p.m.  In order to get the match in as quickly as possible, the singles competition was played first, and it started well for the away team.  Freshman Sammi Hampton and junior Gussie O'Sullivan each picked up wins on court five and six, respectively.  Senior Stephanie Vlad would later win on court three to give the Sun Devils a 3-1 lead 

Despite a convincing lead, ASU couldn't clinch the match in singles. The teams' top two players, senior Desirae Krawczyk and junior Kassidy Jump, each suffered losses in three sets, setting up a winner-take-all doubles point. 

ASU's 26th-ranked pairing of Ebony Panoho and Alexandra Osborne picked up the first win in doubles over the No. 5 duo in the country of Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips. Seniors Krawczyk and Vlad soon followed with a 6-3 win on court two, securing the win for the Sun Devils.  It was ASU's first win over UCLA since 2000. 

"That was one of the biggest wins we've had here in a while," said McInerney. "Just a great win; the kids played really, really well."

The rain continued to cause problems as the match against USC was postponed from Saturday to Sunday. In what McInerney called a disappointing effort from her team, the Sun Devils failed to earn a point during a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the Trojans.  

After a rare loss in doubles, ASU dropped three consecutive singles matches in straight sets. Panoho, Jump and Hampton each suffered losses as the team saw their ten-game winning streak come to an end.  McInerney admitted there might have been an emotional letdown from from the win over UCLA.  

"Yeah I think that was part of it," she said. "I just think teams are gunning for us now. For a while there we were the ones going after teams, now we've won a few matches and it's kind of the other way around."

The Sun Devils will now head home for a week of practice before taking on in-state rival Arizona Saturday in Tucson. It will be the teams final regular season match before the Pac-12 tournament begins. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @mattGfaye on Twitter.

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