April 15, 2012
CHICAGO – Surrounded by family and friends watching DePaul seniors Gia McKnight and Cali Gustafson play their final home match of their careers the roar of the crowd could be heard each time the Blue Demons won a point at Lakeshore Sport and Fitness on Sunday.
In a match that went back and forth like a long rally, the Blue Demons and Bulls left it all out on the court during the 4:32 long match -- but it was USF who tallied the 4-3 win. With the doubles matches being decided by three or less games and five of the six singles matches playing into a third set, DePaul’s regular season finale lived up to excitement.
With both teams vying for the all-important doubles point, the Blue Demons and Bulls battled for every ball.
Playing its third ranked team in their last five matches, DePaul’s No. 74 pair of Jasmin Kling and McKnight traded points with the No. 49 pair of Ecaterina Vasenina and Loreto Alonso but the USF pulled out an 8-5 victory to take the first doubles match.
The Blue Demon pair of Kelsey Lawson and Patricia Fargas won their fifth straight match and evened doubles at one apiece when they topped Fanny Fracassi and Danielle Mills on the second court 8-5.
Both teams and the large crowd gathered in the balcony to watch the final couple of games on the third court. Down, 7-5, DePaul’s tandem of Carolin Neumann and Gustafson held serve and pulled within one -- 7-6; but Alessandra Bonte and Kate Parker would hold serve and win the doubles point for the Bulls.
USF (15-8) took a 2-0 lead when it captured a win on the sixth court.
McKnight was the second off the courts and took a grueling three-set (6-1, 0-6, 6-4) victory from Fanny Fracassi. The win was the seniors’ 21st of the season, while she improved to 14-6 on the third court.
Neumann gritted out an exciting three-set win of her own. The Blue Demon freshman battled back from a three-set deficit to win the first set 7-5, but dropped the second set to Paula Montoya 6-2. Not wanting to give up, Neumann dominated the deciding stanza and a huge roar from the crowd could be heard when the freshman won her final point. Nuemann’s 18th win of the season tied the competitive dual at two all.
The Bulls won the match on the fourth court, which put courts one and two at center stage as both were headed into a third set.
The top court saw two ranked players trade points with their powerful serves, long rallies and strategically placed volleys. No. 42 Vasenina, took the first set 6-4, but DePaul’s No. 106 player in Kling bounced back with her own 6-4 win. Vasenina went on to take the match and clinch the dual for the Bulls with a 6-4 deciding-set victory.
With the second court locked in an epic battled in the third set, DePaul’s Fargas and USF’s Alonso played out their match. Fargas came back from a 5-4 deficit to win the first set and the second set went to a tiebreak where Alonso was on that side of the victory. Fargas took the deciding stanza, 6-2 which gave the Blue Demons their third point of the dual.
Following the dual, the crowd gathered on the court to honor McKnight and Gustafson. The pair has been instrumental in the growth of the Blue Demon program as both were members of the 2010 NCAA Tournament team. DePaul has also reached the Championship match of the BIG EAST Tournament twice and was a semifinalist in 2011.
DePaul (14-7) heads to the BIG EAST Conference Championship, April 19-22 in Tampa, Fla. The Blue Demons find out their first round opponent when the team rankings are determined by the league office later next week.
#40 USF 4 def. #69 DePaul 3
1. #49 Ecaterina Vasenina/Loreto Alonso (USF) def. #74 Gia McKnight/Jasmin Kling (DPU) 8-5
2. Kelsey Lawson/Patricia Fargas (DPU) def. Fanny Fracassi/Danielle Mills (USF) 8-5
3. Alessandra Bonte/Kate Parker (USF) def. Cali Gustafson/Carolin Neumann (DPU) 8-6
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1. #42 Ecaterina Vasenina (USF) def. #106 Jasmin Kling (DPU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
2. Patricia Fargas (DPU) def. Loreto Alonso (USF) 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2
3. Gia McKnight (DPU) def. Fanny Fracassi (USF) 6-1, 0-6, 6-4
4. Danielle Mills (USF) def. Kelsey Laswon (DPU) vs. 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
5. Carolin Neumann (DPU) def. Paula Montoya (USF) 7-5, 2-6, 6-3
6. Alessandra Bonte (USF) def. Cali Gustafson (DPU) 6-2, 6-4
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 5, 4, 1*, 2