ATHENS, Ga. -
The two winningest players in the history of the Virginia women's tennis program saw their careers come to an end Friday as they lost in the second round of the NCAA Doubles Championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Center. Lindsey Hardenbergh (Fairfax Station, Va.) and Emily Fraser (Rye, N.Y.), ranked No. 18 nationally, were edged 7-6(3), 7-6(2) by No. 10 Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely of Tennessee.
In the first set, Fraser and Hardenbergh took a 4-2 lead after breaking Pluskota's serve. The Lady Vol team responded by breaking Fraser's serve in the ensuing game. The Cavaliers led 5-4 when Pluskota served again and UVa had two set points at 15-40, but the Tennessee team won the next four points to hold serve. They broke Fraser's serve again for a 6-5 lead, but Virginia broke Szekely at love in the ensuing game to force a tiebreaker. The breaker was tied 2-2 before the Tennessee team won five of the next six points to win the set.
The second set was tied at 1-1 before the Tennessee team rolled off four straight games to take a 5-1 lead. The Cavaliers broke Szekely's serve and Fraser held to cut the lead to 5-3. As Pluskota served for the match at 5-3, she led 40-15. Fraser and Hardenbergh saved those the two match points and broke back to get back on serve. With Hardenbergh serving at 4-5, she saved three more match points before holding for 5-all. Virginia broke Szekely's serve to take a 6-5 lead, but Tennessee broke back on Fraser's serve to force a tiebreaker. Just like the first set breaker, the teams split the first four points for 2-2. The Lady Vols then won the next five points to close out the win.
"We are so proud of Emily and Lindsey; they have been the strength behind this program for the past four years," said head coach Mark Guilbeau. "While it is extremely sad to see them play their last matches at the University of Virginia, it is also a very happy and fulfilling moment for the two of them.
Today's match speaks to the fight and determination they have had at all times over the past four years. The level was very high... and despite losing a tough first set after having two set points, and then falling behind 5-1 in the second set, they never quit. The fight they showed to get back to leading 6-5 in the second set was incredible. They threw everything they had at Pluskota and Szekely. It became an amazing match and despite the loss, one that they can be so proud of. Credit the Tennessee pair... they had to remain very tough to hold of the effort of Emily and Lindsey. I can only hope we continue to attract the type of players and people that Emily and Lindsey have been during their careers at UVa. They will be greatly missed."
Hardenbergh concludes her four years as Virginia's career leader in singles wins (127), doubles wins (126) and combined wins (253). Fraser ends her career second in doubles wins (119) and combined wins (221), and is third in singles wins (102).