May 1, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue women's tennis team earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in school history the team learned Tuesday night. The Boilermakers will travel to Berkeley, Calif., to take on Pepperdine in the first round after earning an automatic bid with the school's first Big Ten Tournament Championship over the weekend.
"I think it's very exciting to play the NCAA's in California and play against teams we don't normally see," Purdue head coach Laura Glitz said about the draw. "We have built momentum winning the Big Ten Tournament and I am looking for some good results next weekend."
Purdue (18-6) is coming off of the best three match stretch in school history. The Boilermakers had never beaten a top 20 team in the nation prior to the tournament. In the first round, Purdue mowed down Michigan State, 4-0. The second round brought a rematch with Nebraska, a team that the Boilermakers had lost to earlier in the season. Despite that fact, Purdue avenged that loss and knocked off the No. 17 Huskers, 4-2. The semifinals drew a 13-time defending Big Ten Tournament Champion and the nation's No. 11 team, Northwestern. That didn't stop the Old Gold and Black. Jennifer Rabot lead the team and clinched a 4-2 upset win over the Wildcats giving Purdue only its third ever win over the school from Evanston, Ill.
Purdue then face the No. 2 seed in the conference in the finals, the No. 15 Michigan Wolverines. Michigan gained momentum after doubles came down to a tiebreak at No. 1 with the Wolverines winning it, 7-0. Purdue didn't back down in singles, though. Eventually, the score was tied at three with just the No. 2 match left on the court. Lynda Xepoleas ended up knocking off Brooke Bolender in a tiebreak, 7-5, in the third set to bring home the title for Purdue.
Pepperdine finished the regular season with a 15-8 record. The Waves lost in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championships, 4-2, to San Diego. They had beaten Santa Clara, 4-1, in their first match of the tournament. Pepperdine finished the season on a hot streak as it won 10 of its last 12 matches. During that stretch, the Waves played a team that the Boilermakers had over spring break, Long Beach State. Pepperdine lost at home, 5-2, while Purdue won on the road, 7-0. Khunpak Issara is the top player for the Waves. She has a 15-8 dual match singles record on the season including a 9-4 mark at No. 1. Pepperdine was ranked No. 38 in the last ITA College Tennis Rankings.
The Boilermakers and Waves have met three times in program history. Pepperdine won all three meetings which occurred in 1997-99. The teams will meet again on Friday, May 11th. The start time is scheduled to be 10 a.m. PT. If the Boilermakers win, they will player the winner of the tournament's No. 9 seed, California, and Sacramento State. Purdue is the only team in the four team region not from the Golden State.