The University of Texas at Austin celebrates during the women’s singles finals against Pepperdine University at the 2021 NCAA D1 Tennis Championships on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida.

The No. 2 Texas Longhorns secured the program’s third national title with a thrilling 4-3 win over No. 5 Pepperdine Saturday night at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.

Texas won the crucial doubles point as both No. 1 and No. 3 doubles came down to a tiebreaker. 

Charlotte Chavatipon gave Texas a 2-0 lead with a win on Court. 4, but Pepperdine quickly evened the score with wins by Jessica Failla at No. 2 singles and Lisa Zaar at No. 5 singles. 

Peyton Stearns rallied after dropping the first set to earn a 2-6, 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles and put Texas within one point of winning the national title. Pepperdine’s Nikki Redelijk evened up the score at 3-3 and all eyes came down to the No. 3 court as a pair of freshmen, Texas’ Lul Sun and Pepperdine’s Taisiya Pachkaleva battled into a third set. 

“It is truly it’s such a cliché, but the kids on the team know I’m never one to be speechless, but I’m a little bit speechless,” said Texas Head Coach Howard Joffe. “You know, it’s an interesting in terms of the poetic romance, you know, I think they had four super seniors on their team and we had four or five freshmen on our team. And so it really was fitting, I guess, youth against experience. And anyone that watched that match, I mean, the doubles point was an odyssey in of itself. We were I think I think, if I’m right, saved two match points at number one, doubles only then to win number one in three very quickly. And anyone that watched the match, I mean, there was just so little between the two teams and that our freshmen, who it came down to in the end in Peyton [Stearns] and Lulu [Sun] were able to come up with the goods is truly remarkable.”

Sun earned a late break and closed out the match with a 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-5 win to bring the women’s national championship trophy back to Austin for the first time in 26 years. 

“Honestly, at the end I was almost going to cramp,” said Texas Freshman Lulu Sun about what was going through her mind during the match. “So I was just like survive the last few games and just throw everything I have. And I guess it worked.”

Women’s All-Tournament Team
No. 1 Singles: Peyton Stearns, Texas (Most Outstanding Player)
No. 2 Singles: Jessica Failla, Pepperdine
No. 3 Singles: Lulu Sun, Texas
No. 4 Singles: Charlotte Chavatipon, Texas
No. 5 Singles: Lisa Zaar, Pepperdine
No. 6 Singles: Fiona Crawley, North Carolina

No. 1 Doubles: Kylie Collins/Lulu Sun, Texas
No. 2 Doubles: Taisiya Pachkaleva/Shiori Fukuda, Pepperdine
No. 3 Doubles: Charlotte Chavatipon/Peyton Stearns, Texas

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