ATHENS---Stanford's second-ranked duo of Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs claimed the NCAA Doubles Championship with a 6-2,6-4 win over Georgia's Nadja Gilchrist and Chelsey Gullickson here Monday.
Due to rain, the final was played indoors, and the Stanford tandem jumped out to an early 3-0 edge. They were poised to go up 4-0 when the Bulldogs saved three break points and Gullickson held serve. Stanford remained on the attack and eventually picked up another break with Gullickson serving in the eighth game to take the first set 6-2.
In the second set, the hard-hitting Cardinal duo continued near flawless play and went up 3-1 before the Bulldogs notched their first break of the match on Burdette's serve. Gullickson connected for a volley winner and Gilchrist came through with a backhand winner for the opportunity and then Burdette had a rare double fault on game point to pull Georgia to within 3-2. After Gilchrist held serve to even the set at 3-all, the partisan-Georgia crowd came alive. Gibbs provided a powerful service game and then a series of volley errors by the Bulldogs moved the Cardinal in front 5-3. Georgia managed to break Burdette to close the gap but the Stanford pair responded in the next game and Gibbs smashed a forehand winner down the line for the match. It was her second NCAA title of the day after beating Burdette for the singles crown.
"First of all, I want to say a special thanks to Coach Dan Magill for his vision and hard work that he's put in that helped pave the way for another 12 days of amazing days of tennis at the complex that is named after him," said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. "It's awesome to see him, and we need to remember all that he's done for both Georgia tennis and college tennis. I'm proud of the way Nadja and Chelsey competed throughout their career and how they represented Georgia. Stanford got on a roll; it started in singles today for them and everything they hit went in during doubles. They played really well."
"We started slow, but Stanford played great," said Gullickson. "Today, we didn't return as well as we had been, and I missed some volley opportunities. We finished our career with a loss, but we are two seniors who made it to the finals of the NCAAs."
"I would've preferred to play outside because the inside courts play faster, and they hit it really hard," said Gilchrist."But the way Stanford was playing, it probably wouldn't have mattered, but it would've been nice to play outside."
The Burdette-Gibbs team end the year with a 35-5 record while the 27th-ranked tandem of Gullickson/Gilchrist wound up 24-8. For their career as a duo, the Bulldogs finished 64-21. This was the fourth time in Bulldog history that a team played for an NCAA doubles title. Marissa Catlin reached the finals with three different teammates, in 1997 with Michelle Anderson, in 1999 with Vanessa Castellano and in 2000 with Lori Grey. Gullickson ends her Bulldog career with a school record 230 wins including 69 this year, going 34-9 in singles and 35-12 in doubles.