INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Top-seed Vanguard clawed its way back from a 2-1 deficit after doubles to win the 2014 Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament with a 5-3 win against Westmont. With the victory, The Pride moves to 16-8 overall and extends its streak of GSAC takedowns to 12 matches.
Second-seed Westmont drops to 11-12 with the loss. Just a year ago, the Warriors defeated the Lions in the 2013 finals to walk away with the league crown.
The shoe was on the other foot on Thursday, however, as No. 5 Michaele Sullivan garnered the match-ending point at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Sullivan's victory was hard fought, as she came back from down 3-5 in the opening set to notch a 7-5 win and persevered through long rallies in the exhausting second frame knowing all the while that the match was on the line.
No. 3 Gabrielle Alford, the Lions' team captain, was in the midst of a three-set thriller when the match was called. She and doubles' partner Sophie Angner tallied the Lions' all-important, lone pairs' win at second doubles to keep the match within reach for the Blue and Gold.
Westmont held a 3-1 advantage after the first individual match, where Vanguard's Juliet Labarthe suffered a rare loss in the top-slot to Westmont's Lauren Stratman. The remaining Lions, however, rallied, as No. 4 Ashley Wao-Udin finished off the Warriors' Haley Strandness 6-2, 6-1 to pull Vanguard within a point and Brooke Ferslov-Jensen tied the match with a 6-2, 6-3 victory at No. 6.
From there, it was up to Angner, who posted a dominant 6-1 first set, but had to bear down in order to pull out the 7-5 win to give Vanguard the 4-3 lead.
The Vanguard men also claimed the crown on the day, marking the first time in program history that both Lions' tennis teams have swept the GSAC regular season and tournament championships in the same year. Furthermore, each squad went undefeated against league opponents to move head coach Mattias Johansson's combined 2014 GSAC coaching mark to 24-0.
Vanguard earns the GSAC's automatic bid to the NAIA Women's Tennis National Championship, which will be played at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Alabama, May 13-17. Other GSAC teams await at-large berths, which will be announced May 6.
For complete tournament information, go to GSAC Women's Tennis Championship.