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NCAA Women's Doubles Final: Cal's Manasse and Starr lost to Florida's Austin and Keegan

The Cal duo of juniors Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr became another Cal NCAA women's doubles runner-ups for the second straight year.

Cal juniors Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr will play for the NCAA women's doubles championship.
Cal juniors Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr will play for the NCAA women's doubles championship.

For the second straight year, a duo from Cal Women's Tennis became runner ups at the NCAA individual championships. Bears have come close to capture another NCAA singles or doubles title but have lost in the championship match.

Florida's Brooke Austin and Kortuney Keegan defeated the Cal duo of Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr by a 6-2, 6-0 result.

Last year, Klara Fabikova and Zsofi Susanyi lost in the championship match to a pair from Alabama.

Two years ago, Lynn Chi lost to Danielle Collins from UVA in the singles final. Collins won another NCAA women's singles title again earlier today.

Good news is both Manasse and Starr are only juniors this year. I have no doubts that they will be back with an even loftier goal than just making the final for their senior seasons.



This remarkable and historic Cal Women's Tennis season will last all the way until the final day of the NCAA Tennis championship from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr have made it to the women's doubles final after a thrilling 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 win in the semifinal over the top seed Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay from North Carolina.

Bears have also beaten the same duo last fall at the ITA All-American doubles championship final 6-1, 6-4.

The Cal Junior duo, who are seeded 4th in the Women's Doubles bracket, will next take on the 3rd seed Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan from Florida. All the way back on February 26th in the thrilling Cal 4-3 win over Florida, Austin and Keegan defeated Manasse and Starr 6-4. In the interview above, Denise says that they are not going to think about that loss and will encounter the match tomorrow with a blank slate.

Manasse and Starr represent two contrasting styles of tennis. Maegan Manasse, Cal's typical No.1 singles player, plays an aggressive style. She goes and often can make the tough winners, but also is prone to periods of errant shot making. Denise Starr, Cal's No.4 (sometimes 3) player in singles, is more of a counter puncher. Starr will lobs the ball back consistently while waiting for her opponents to make mistakes. I think the best combination of the two is with Manasse from the baseline and Starr at the net. That combination is by far the more aggressive formation for this Bears duo. Starr also has the height to intercepts more shots at the net, while Manasse is better at dictating play from the baseline.

Here is how the Bears made it to the semifinals:

NCAA Doubles Championship Round of 32

[4] No. 4 Maegan Manasse/Denise Starr (Cal) def. No. 25 Mai El Kamash/Arianne Hartono (Mississippi) – 2-6, 6-1, 1-0(8)

NCAA Doubles Championship Round of 16

[4] No. 4 Maegan Manasse/Denise Starr (Cal) def. No. 26 Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai/Luisa Stefani (Pepperdine) – 2-6, 6-4, 1-0(6)

NCAA Doubles Championship Quarterfinal Round

[4] No. 4 Maegan Manasse/Denise Starr (Cal) def. No. 32 Mayar Sherif Ahmed/Rana Sherif Ahmed (Fresno State) – 6-1, 7-5

That's two early round matches and 3 of 4 that were won on the 3rd set tiebreaker.

This is how the third seed Florida duo have made it to the finals:

No. 3 Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan (3)
First Round Opponent: def. No. 27 Gabriela Knutson/Valeria Salazar Garza (Syracuse) 6-4, 6-3

Round of 16 Result: def. No. 19 Cutura/Maddox (Pepperdine) 6-3, 7-6(4)

Quarterfinal Result: def. No. 15 Winner of Osborne/Panoho (Arizona State) 6-4, 6-1

Semifinal Result: def. No. 7 Harrison/McPhillips (UCLA) 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5)

The Florida sophomore and junior have defeated two Pac-12 foes en route to this final matchup against the Golden Bears.

NCAA Singles and Doubles championship are streamed live via Actions get underway at 10 AM PT on this Memorial Monday.

Cal Women's Doubles National Championships:

1997-98 Amanda Augustus/Amy Jensen Women's Tennis
1998-99 Amanda Augustus/Amy Jensen Women's Tennis
1999-00 Claire Curran/Amy Jensen Women's Tennis
2002-03 Raquel Kops-Jones/Christina Fusano Women's Tennis
2008-09 Mari Andersson/Jana Juricova Women's Tennis

As recently as an year ago, Bears' Klara Fabikova (senior this year) and Zsofi Susanyi (graduate assistant this year) played in the NCAA doubles championship game. They lost 2-6, 7-5(5), 3-6 to a pair from Alabama, Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe (who became two-time defending champs).