McDowell and Falconi win ITA Doubles Championship

Junior Amanda McDowell and freshman Irina Falconi won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Doubles Championships. They ran through the qualifying round and upset the nation’s top doubles team on the way to the title. “This is just so wonderful and hard to believe…I am just so stoked. It is a spectacular feeling. I couldn’t hold back the tears when it was all done,” said Falconi in an interview with ramblinwreck.com.

McDowell and Falconi took the long road through the championship. They were not seeded and were required to go through the qualifying bracket. The doubles team had a walkover in the first round of qualifying over Nevada’s Caroline Bailly and Maria Mizyuk. Sanaz Marand and Katrina Tsang were the next team to lose to the Tech duo, 8-3. The team’s next opponent doubled their score against McDowell and Falconi, but Ani Mijacika and Frederica van Adrichem still lost 8-6.

The team then continued their run to the title in the main bracket with a win over UCLA’s Ashley Joelson and Yasmin Schnack, 8-3. Tech then ran into the top doubles team and top seeded team of the tournament when they played Fresno State’s Melanie Gloria and Tinesta Rowe. The Jackets did not seem to have much trouble in an 8-3 victory.

In the semifinals, Tech played Melissa Mang and Amanda Granson of Duke. The Jackets took the match with a 6-2, 7-5 win on their way to the finals. McDowell and Falconi faced another Fresno State duo as they played Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova, the No. 11 team at the tournament. The Jackets faced their stiffest competition as they dropped the first set in a tiebreaker, 6-7 (2), but broke through with a 6-3, 6-4 comeback win in the final two sets for the championship. “When Fresno State came back in the first set and then we fell behind early in the second, we got a little flustered, but we were able to turn it around,” said McDowell in an interview with ramblinwreck.com.

Tech’s other doubles team of senior Christy Striplin and sophomore Noelle Hickey won their first qualifying match over Steinberg and Rietsch of Arizona, 8-1. The duo then fell to LSU’s Falcon and Hedberg, 8-4, in the second round. The singles round did not go as well for the Jackets. Noelle Hickey and Christina Ngo participated in the pre-qualifying in order to determine which four players would move on to the qualifying round. Hickey won her first match, but lost Southern Cal’s Sarah Fansler, 6-3, 6-1. Ngo also lost to a Trojan player, falling to Alison Ramos, 6-2, 6-2.

In the singles qualifying rounds, Falconi advanced to the main draw. Falconi defeated No. 21 Katsiaryna Zheltova of Sacramento State in the first round of main draw and then lost to second seeded Mijacika in the second round, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 3-6.

Amanda McDowell’s road in the singles went a little better than Falconi’s. She beat No 13 Jessica Nguyen of Stanford and No 22 Claire IIcinkas of Cal. McDowell lost to No. 6 Maria Mosolova of Northwestern knocking her out of the singles competition.