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SHP grad Choy sets the stage for NCAA semifinal tennis win

Palo Alto Online Sport
Sacred Heart Prep grad Sara Choy, inserted into Stanford's starting singles lineup for Saturday's NCAA National Women's Tennis semifinal, never missed a beat, helping the third-seeded Cardinal beat No. 2 North Carolina 5-2, and then capture the National Championship on Sunday by defeating Georgia. 
Choy had not played a competitive match for over two months, though having nationally ranked teammates around to play helps. The 119th-ranked Choy gave Stanford a 3-0 lead over the Tar Heels with her 7-5, 6-1 victory over Alle Sanford at No. 6 singles.

Janice Shin finished first, winning her match at No. 5 singles but Michaela Gordon's match, which ended 11 seconds later, was counted in the official score.

"We all hopefully want to clinch and that's something we all strive to do," Shin said. "But we all want to make sure we take care of our match and not let that chance away, so we try to focus on getting our point."

Stanford (27-1) advances to play overall No. 1 seed Georgia (27-1), which beat the Cardinal 4-3 in the semifinals of the USTA Indoor National Championships in February. The match is slated to begin at 2 p.m. Sunday and will be televised on the Tennis Channel.

The Bulldogs only loss was to South Carolina, 4-3, in the finals of the SEC tournament. Georgia's last NCAA title came in a 5-4 victory over Stanford in 2000. Both of Georgia's national titles were victories over the Cardinal, also in 1994.

North Carolina lost the doubles point for the second straight match and the second overall on the season. That allowed Stanford, which had lost the doubles point in each of its last two matches, to play aggressive in singles.

The lead was extended to 2-0 when Melissa Lord picked up her 100th career singles victory in the form of a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over seventh-ranked Alexa Graham at the No. 2 spot.

After Choy delivered, the Tar Heels cam back with wins at No. 5 and No. 4 singles before Shin and Gordon finished it.

"It's really unusual in a semifinal match to think you're going to get through it and not have some sort of counterattack from the other team," Stanford coach Lele Forood said. "These are very good teams, of course they are going to come back and make their push. They did a really nice job. They forced three matches to three sets."

Said North Carolina coach Brian Kalbas: "Credit to Stanford, when big wins needed to be had, they stepped up. They hit some really good serves, they played aggressively, they played their strengths, and they broke us down a little bit in those situations."

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