May 18, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - The unseeded UCLA women's tennis team came within a few games of pulling off a stunning upset over fourth-seeded Florida at the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships Thursday, falling 4-3 in a round of 16 showdown at Stanford's Taube Tennis Center. With the loss, the Bruins end their season with a 15-7 overall record. Florida, which will meet No. 5 Baylor in Friday's quarterfinals, improves to 24-1 on the year.
If the doubles action was any indication, both teams knew that Thursday's match was going to be a fight to the finish. After an 8-5 Florida victory at court No. 3, followed by an 8-6 UCLA win at court No. 1, all attention turned to court No. 2, where UCLA's Elizabeth Lumpkin and Alex McGoodwin were fighting to stay in the match against Florida's Lolita Frangulyan and Diana Srebovic. Florida served for the match up 7-6, however Lumpkin and McGoodwin were able to break back and eventually force a tiebreaker, where they won 7-0, sealing the doubles point for the Bruins.
Despite dropping an extremely close doubles point, the Gators weren't down for long, winning three straight singles matches to take a 3-1 lead. First to finish was court No. 4, where Boglarka Berecz downed McGoodwin, 6-2, 6-2. Another straight-set victory soon followed, as Srebovic posted a 6-3, 7-6(5) decision over Riza Zalameda at court No. 2.
The most competitive and hard-hitting matchup of the afternoon came at court No. 1, where Florida's Alexis Gordon edged UCLA's Laura Gordon, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, giving the Gators a 3-1 advantage in the match. Laura was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third, however Alexis stormed back to take the next three games to register the victory.
"Laura Gordon really set the tone for our team and was just awesome out there," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. She lost a tough match against Alexis and it was just a well fought match. She's real fiery and I think that really helps our team stay positive. It makes it fun to coach and be part of because of that energy. Laura Gordon is going to be missed next year."
Although the Bruins were down, they certainly were not out, as three close matches still remained on court. Freshman Ashley Joelson cut the lead down to 3-2 with a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over Nina Suvak at court No. 5. Sophomore Tracy Lin evened the score at 3-3 when she edged Whitney Benik, 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-5 at court No. 3.
Just seconds after Lin's thrilling win, however, the match was clinched at court No. 6, where Alex Liles downed Lumpkin, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, giving Florida the 4-3 victory.
"It was a great match to be a part of," said Sampras Webster. "The energy was awesome. I have a very spirited team and it's a team that I love to coach. We started out great, winning the doubles point but I knew their singles was strong so Florida was going to come out after us. We had some opportunities with some of those singles to win but it didn't go our way. It's just a hard, tough match to lose. It really could have gone either way."
UCLA still has four singles players and one doubles team competing in the individual draws at the NCAAs. Gordon, Zalameda, Lin and McGoodwin will all be competing in the 64-player singles draw beginning on May 24. Gordon and Zalameda are also playing doubles together.
|1.||(12) Gordon/Zalameda (UCLA) def. (24) Benik/Gordon (UF)||8-6|
|2.||(47) Lumpkin/McGoodwin (UCLA) def. Lolita Frangulyan/Srebovic (UF)||9-8(0)|
|3.||Keri Robison/Suvak (UF) def. Joelson/Lin (UCLA)||8-5|
|UCLA Wins Doubles Point|
|1.||(14) Alexis Gordon (UF) def. (21) Laura Gordon (UCLA)||6-4, 3-6, 7-5|
|2.||(9) Diana Srebovic (UF) def. (54) Riza Zalameda (UCLA)||6-3, 7-6(5)|
|3.||(46) Tracy Lin (UCLA) def. (112) Whitney Benik (UF)||7-6(4), 3-6, 7-5|
|4.||(50) Boglarka Berecz (UF) def. (56) Alex McGoodwin (UCLA)||6-2, 6-2|
|5.||(94) Ashley Joelson (UCLA) def. Nina Suvak (UF)||7-6(3), 6-3|
|6.||Alex Liles (UF) def. Elizabeth Lumpkin (UCLA)||6-2, 5-7, 6-3|
|* Denotes Clinching Match -- Singles Order of Finish: 2, 4, 1, 5, 3, 6|