May 17, 2005
Bruins Head to Athens for NCAA Championships . . .
The 10th-seeded UCLA women's tennis team (17-5) punched its ticket to Athens, Ga. for this week's NCAA Round of 16 following a pair of victories in NCAA Regional action over the weekend. The Bruins will face seventh-seeded USC (18-3) this Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (EST). The winner of that match will take on either 15th-seeded Baylor or second-seeded Florida in the quarterfinals on Friday at 3:00 p.m. (EST). Live scoring for all matches can be accessed at the University of Georgia's athletic website: www.georgiadogs.com. The NCAA Individual Championships (singles and doubles) will get underway at the conclusion of the team tournament on May 23. UCLA's Daniela Bercek is a 9-16 seed in the 64-player singles draw. Freshman Riza Zalameda will also be competing in singles. In doubles, Bercek and Zalameda are seeded fourth. Bercek is the defending NCAA Doubles Champion with Lauren Fisher, who has since graduated.
Another USC/UCLA Showdown . . .
For the second year in a row, and third time in the last four years, UCLA and USC will meet in the NCAA Round of 16. Fortunately for the Bruins, USC has never beaten UCLA in the NCAA Tournament, taking an 0-4 record into this Thursday's match. UCLA defeated USC, 4-1 in 2002 at Stanford, and followed that up with a 4-2 decision last year in Athens. UCLA's two other wins over USC in the NCAA Tournament were back in 1989 (5-4 quarterfinals) and 1982 (5-4 semifinals).
Bruins Perfect in NCAA Regional Play . . .
UCLA didn't drop a point in two NCAA Regional matches at the Los Angeles Tennis Center over the weekend. The Bruins opened up play against Illinois State in the first round on Friday, cruising to a 4-0 victory. UCLA followed that up with another 4-0 decision over 25th-ranked Washington in the second round on Saturday. All three of the Bruins' singles wins in each match came from the same three players: Daniela Bercek, Riza Zalameda and Laura Gordon. Zalameda's two wins at No. 2 singles clinched both matches for UCLA.
Last Year at the Championships . . .
UCLA's run to the NCAA Final last season also began at home at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins hosted a four-team regional, earning a spot in the round of 16 following victories over Long Beach St. and Pepperdine in the first and second rounds respectively. Once in Athens, Ga., UCLA defeated USC, Miami and Clemson to earn a spot in the national championship match for the first time since 1991. In that match, second-seeded Stanford posted a 4-1 victory, ending the Bruins' hopes for their first NCAA title.
Bercek Looking to Defend Title . . .
Daniela Bercek and Lauren Fisher claimed last year's NCAA Doubles Championship by defeating Marshall's Jessica Johnson/Ashley Kroh, 6-4, 6-4 in the title match. Although Fisher has since graduated, Bercek is still a serious contender to defend her crown with freshman Riza Zalameda. The duo is the No. 4 seed in this year's tournament. The individual portion of the NCAA Championships kicks off on May 23.
Bruins End Regular Season at No. 12 . . .
UCLA checks in at No. 12 in the final team rankings of the regular season released on May 2. Individually, the Bruins have five players ranked in singles led by No. 11 Daniela Bercek. Following Bercek are No. 26 Riza Zalameda, No. 96 Laura Gordon, No. 102 Alex McGoodwin and No. 111 Tracy Lin. In doubles, Bercek and Zalameda check in at No. 4. New team and individual rankings will not be released again until the conclusion of the NCAA Championships.
Bruins Earn All-Pac-10 Honors . . .
Sophomore Daniela Bercek and freshman Riza Zalameda were named the Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year recently following a vote of conference coaches. Bercek was also named to the first team, while Zalameda was a second-team selection. Bercek, from Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro, has been the Bruins' top player all season, owning an 18-9 overall singes record, including a 13-5 mark at the No. 1 position. She and Zalameda are ranked fourth nationally in doubles, posting a 29-5 overall record together. Bercek was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season and was a second-team selection. Zalameda, from Los Angeles, has enjoyed a tremendous first season at the collegiate level, leading the team in singles victories with 27. She is 16-6 in dual matches, seeing most of her time at the No. 2 spot. She is currently ranked No. 26 nationally in singles play.
Bercek Streaking at the Right Time . . .
Sophomore Daniela Bercek has been the hottest Bruin as of late, winning six-consecutive singles matches, including 10 of her last 11 through NCAA Regional play last weekend. What's even more impressive is the calibur of competition she has beaten, defeating four top-20 singles players in the process. During the streak, Bercek has beaten #4 Suzi Babos (Cal), #9 Amber Liu (Stanford) and #10 Nicole Leimbach (USC). Liu is the two-time defending NCAA Singles Champion and Leimbach was recently named Pac-10 Player of the Year after winning the conference singles title. Bercek and teammate Riza Zalameda, seeded fourth in next week's NCAA Doubles Championships, have also won five out of six in doubles play heading into the round of 16.
Zalameda Looking for Third-Straight National Title . . .
Freshman Riza Zalameda, winner of the last two Girls' 18s Super National Doubles Titles, will be seeking her third national championship in as many years when she and Daniela Bercek participate in next week's NCAA Doubles Championships. Because of her success at the junior level, Zalameda has earned main draw wildcards in the last two U.S. Opens, playing doubles with Anne Yelsey (Stanford) in 2003 and Audra Cohen (Northwestern) in 2004. She could earn another wildcard this year if she and Bercek capture the NCAA Doubles title.
UCLA in the NCAA Championships . . .
As a team, the Bruins have never won an NCAA title but have come in second on four occasions (1982, 1989, 1991 and 2004). UCLA, however, did capture the national championship in 1981 (AIAW), one year before the NCAA became the governing body. Keri Phebus is the Bruins' lone NCAA Singles Champion, claiming the title in 1995. UCLA has had five doubles teams win it all, with Daniela Bercek and Lauren Fisher recently capturing the title in 2004. Other doubles winners at the NCAAs include: Heather Ludloff/Lynn Lewis (1982), Stella Sampras/Allyson Cooper (1988), Mamie Ceniza/Iwalani McCalla (1992) and Phebus/Susie Starrett (1995).
Doubles Play . . .
UCLA has been dominant in doubles play this season, winning the point in 18 of 22 matches. Only Clemson, USC, Stanford and ASU have been able to take the point against the Bruins. UCLA is 16-2 when it wins the doubles point and 1-3 when it loses it. Daniela Bercek and Riza Zalameda, who have been ranked in the top-5 for most of the season and check in at No. 4 in the latest ITA Rankings, own the best doubles record on the team at 29-5.
Head Coach Stella Sampras Webster . . .
Stella Sampras Webster is in her ninth season as head coach at UCLA, owning an overall record of 150-82 (.647). In her eight seasons in Westwood, the Bruins have finished in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships seven times, including a trip to the finals in 2004. As a player, Sampras Webster was a four-time All-American at UCLA from 1988-91, capturing the NCAA Doubles title (w/Allyson Cooper) as a freshman in 1988.
TEAM RANKINGS (May 2) 1. Stanford 2. Florida 3. Kentucky 4. Vanderbilt 5. Georgia Tech 6. Northwestern 7. USC 8. Georgia 9. Miami 10. Texas 11. Clemson 12. UCLA 13. N. Carolina 14. Baylor 15. Duke 16. Tulane 17. Tennessee 18. TCU 19. Harvard 20. William & Mary 21. BYU 22. So. Carolina 23. Notre Dame 24. Cal 25. Washington