NCAA Championship Summary
Stanford Women Earn 16th National Title with Thrilling 4-3 Victory over Florida
by Colette Lewis
, 27 May 2010
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The Stanford Cardinal returned to the top of college tennis Tuesday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia, claiming a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Florida Gators courtesy of freshman Mallory Burdette.
After more than four hours, the championship had come down to the No. 3 singles match between Burdette and Florida senior Marrit Boonstra. Florida's Joanna Mather had kept her team alive at No. 5 singles with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 win over a cramping Caroline McVeigh, focusing all the attention to Court 3, where the score was 4-4. Boonstra held to take a 5-4 lead, using excellent defense to thwart the powerful right-hander from nearby Jackson, Georgia, but something in Burdette's mindset changed at just that moment.
"There for a while in the third set I was just so scared of losing," said Burdette, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. "That's all I could think about. I had to let that go, just play the point at hand. It was tough, I really had to fight my nerves, my stomach was up here in my neck. It was really difficult, but it was great. It hasn't completely hit me yet."
Burdette held her serve to make it 5-5, hitting a couple of deft low-volley winners that are difficult when the match is deep in the third set. In the next game she broke Boonstra, who committed a double fault and two unforced errors.
With a changeover allowing the tension to build, her teammates gathered at her end of the court, their decibel level rising as Burdette built a 40-0 lead. Burdette needed all three match points, but took the last one, and as she dropped her racquet and turned toward her team, she saw her older sister Lindsay bearing down on her.
"I saw her running and I knew I was going to get hit," Mallory said. "I saw everyone behind her, but she was way out in front."
"All I was thinking was that I wanted to be the first one to get to her," said Lindsay, who tackled her sister so hard that Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh complimented her on her form in a congratulatory tweet. "Everybody else went out the gate, but I jumped the fence."