Matsuoka rallied from a 4-1 deficit to take a 6-5 lead and eventually won the set, 7-6, with a 7-5 verdict in the tiebreaker. Her victory, which closed out a three-set sweep in the No. 1 spot, knotted the score at 9-9. CdM was victorious, however, thanks to an 82-75 advantage in games.
The two teams will collide again Oct. 27 at University. And the winner of that match figures to be crowned PCL champion.
Matsuoka, who was defeated in a similarly dramatic scenario in the Sea Kings’ lone loss this season against Campbell Hall, was immediately mobbed by teammates, making her the centerpiece of a group hug that appeared to go about three layers deep.
“It’s a memorable match, because I had to come back and figure out a way to play her,” said Matsuoka, who helped the host Sea Kings (9-1, 3-0 in league), ranked No. 4, in Division I, earn their narrowest victory over the No. 5-ranked Trojans (8-2, 2-1) in Brian Ricker’s 10 seasons as coach.
“I’ve never lost a match to Uni and, I hate to say it, but we’ve never really had a close match,” said Ricker, whose team split Thursday’s first-round, 3-3, and entered the third round trailing, 7-5.
Seniors Kelli Feeley and Azadeh Nazemi swept, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 1 doubles, to help CdM produce just enough. The Sea Kings’ No. 2 doubles team of junior Kalika Slevcove and sophomore Katelyn Nguyen won two of three sets, claiming 16 of 25 games.
Senior Hailey Hogan, playing at No. 2 singles, earned the other set victory for the hosts, a 6-0 triumph that helped them build the necessary advantage on games.