WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Gabriela Talaba's historic collegiate career came to an end Friday morning as the senior fell in the NCAA Singles Round of 16.
Talaba fell to No. 27 Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine in straight sets (6-4, 7-6(5)).
"Gabby played a great match today. We struggled a bit playing with a lead, but credit the other player's willingness to go for it in the big moments," Head Coach Todd Petty said.
"It's sad to see the greatest player in Tech history go, but we all look forward to seeing a lot more great tennis from her."
Talaba wrote her name into the Lady Raider Tennis record books over her four-year career, becoming the programs first ITA All-American in 2017. After becoming the first Lady Raider to advance to the NCAA Singles Sweet 16 yesterday, Talaba earned her second straight ITA All-America honors.
During her senior campaign, Talaba lifted the Lady Raiders to the second straight NCAA Elite Eight berth. In the Sweet 16 match against Big 12 rival No. 6 Texas, Talaba took down top-ranked Bianca Turati in straight sets (6-4, 6-2), marking the highest singles ranked win in school history.
She was named the ITA Texas Region Senior Player of the Year and was award All-Big 12 First Team honors in singles and doubles.
In the Oracle/ITA Preseason Poll, Talaba was ranked the No. 2 singles player in the country, marking the highest individual ranking in school history. During the fall season, she won three matches to advance to the Riviera/ITA All-American semifinals.
In 2017, Talaba led the Lady Raiders to the program's first Elite Eight appearance after clinching the Sweet 16 match point. She qualified as a Top 16 seed for the singles championships following an outstanding junior season. After leading Texas Tech to the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles, Talaba was named the Big 12 Player of the Year, All-Big 12 First Team in singles and doubles, and All-Tournament Team in singles and doubles. That year, she recorded 22 wins at the no. 1 position in dual matches, breaking the school record.
During fall play in 2016, Talaba advanced to the ITA Texas Regional singles semifinals and the doubles quarterfinals.
Talaba was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team in singles following her sophomore season.
Her rookie season was nothing short of great as Talaba was the first Lady Raider to win the Big 12 Freshman of the Year award. She also won her first individual title in her collegiate career at the Oklahoma Invitational Boomer Singles Draw.
2018 NCAA Singles Championships – Wednesday, May 23
Round of 64
No. 21 Gabriela Talaba (TTU) defeats No. 73 Petra Melounova (Hawaii): 6-4, 3-6, 6-0
No. 58 Felicity Maltby (TTU) defeats No. 61 Maria Kononova (UNT): 6-1, 6-1
2018 NCAA Singles Championships – Thursday, May 24
Round of 32
No. 21 Gabriela Talaba (TTU) def. No. 15 Michaela Gordon (Stanford): 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
No. 8 Fernanda Contreras (Vanderbilt) def. No. 58 Felicity Maltby (TTU): 6-1, 6-1
2018 NCAA Singles Championships – Friday, May 25
Round of 16
No. 27 Luisa Stefani (Pepperdine) def. No. 21 Gabriela Talaba (TTU): 6-4, 7-6(5)
2018 NCAA Doubles Championships – Thursday, May 24
Round of 32
No. 33 Alle Sanford/Sara Daavettila (UNC) def. No. 28 Sarah Dvorak/Sabrina Federici (TTU): 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (10-5)