May 20, 2010
Athens, Ga. - The seventh-seeded UCLA women's tennis team saw its national title hopes come to an end on Thursday, as the Bruins suffered a 4-2 upset at the hands of No. 10 Duke in the NCAA Round of 16 at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. With the loss, the Bruins end their season with a 21-4 overall record. The Blue Devils (22-7) move on to face second-seeded North Carolina in Saturday's quarterfinals.
"Obviously I'm disappointed that we lost," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. "I knew that it was going to be tough when we didn't come out strong in doubles. Of course, I still thought we had a really good chance in singles, but we didn't play our best tennis. To beat teams this time of the year you have to be playing at your best. Duke has had a great season and they just played better today."
Doubles play, which has been one of UCLA's areas of strength all year, didn't go in the Bruins' favor on Thursday, as UCLA dropped the doubles point for just the fourth time this season. Even more surprising was where Duke was able to clinch the point, as 32nd-ranked Amanda Granson and Ellah Nze upset fourth-ranked Andrea Remynse and Yasmin Schnack, 8-5 at court No. 1. Remynse and Schnack, the 2010 Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year, entered the day on a 10-match winning streak and had won 20 of their last 21 matches.
The Blue Devils came out firing in singles as well, taking a 2-0 lead in the match when Mary Clayton registered a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Stephanie Hoffpauir at court No. 6. Although Bruin junior Maya Johansson put UCLA on the board with a three-set win over Monica Gorny at court No. 5, Duke answered right back when Amanda Granson beat freshman Pamela Montez at court No. 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the match.
Suddenly, UCLA found itself needing to win all three remaining matches to stay alive in the tournament. Schnack, who cruised in the first set against Nze at court No. 1, dropped a close second-set tiebreaker. But the Bruin senior came through in the end, eventually pulling out a 6-0, 6-7, 6-2 victory to cut the Duke lead to 3-2.
At the time of Schnack's win, the two other remaining matches were in third sets, with junior Noelle Hickey leading Elizabeth Plotkin at court No. 2, and Remynse trailing Reka Zsilinszka at court No. 3. Hickey, who owned a 4-0 lead at one point, served for the match up 5-4. She couldn't close it out, however, and Plotkin used the opportunity to work her way into a tiebreaker. With the tiebreaker even at 3-3 Plotkin made her move, winning four straight points to take it 7-3 and give Duke the 4-2 win. Even if Hickey had been able to pull out the win, things didn't look promising for the Bruins, as Remynse was trailing Zsilinszka 1-4 in the third when play was suspended.
UCLA's four losses on the season are the fewest since the 1982 team finished 29-4. The Bruins were aiming for the program's second NCAA title in the last three years, having captured the championship in Tulsa in 2008. With her win on Thursday, Johansson wrapped up one of best dual-match seasons in school history, posting a 20-1 record in singles play.
The Bruins will now focus their attention on the individual portion of the NCAA Tournament which begins next Wednesday. Schnack, Hickey and Remynse are all competing in the 64-player singles draw. Remynse and Schnack are also entered in the doubles draw in Athens.
For more information about the 2010 NCAA Tennis Championships, visit Georgia's Tournament Central page.
#10 Duke 4, #7 UCLA 2
May 20, 2010 at Athens, GA (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
NCAA Round of 16
1. #32 Granson/Nze (DUKE) def. #4 Remynse/Schnack (UCLA) 8-5 2. #38 Clayton/Gorny (DUKE) def. Hickey/Nina Pantic (UCLA) 8-3 3. Montez/Carling Seguso (UCLA) def. #73 Plotkin/Zsilinszka (DUKE) 8-5 Singles
1. #6 Yasmin Schnack (UCLA) def. #47 Ellah Nze (DUKE) 6-0, 6-7, 6-2 2. #81 Elizabeth Plotkin (DUKE) def. #46 Noelle Hickey (UCLA) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) 3. #26 Andrea Remynse (UCLA) vs. #34 Reka Zsilinszka (DUKE) 3-6, 6-2, 1-4, unfinished 4. Amanda Granson (DUKE) def. Pamela Montez (UCLA) 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 5. Maya Johansson (UCLA) def. Monica Gorny (DUKE) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 6. Mary Clayton (DUKE) def. Stephanie Hoffpauir (UCLA) 6-1, 6-2 Match Notes
Duke 22-7; National ranking #10 UCLA 21-4; National ranking #7 Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,5,4,1,2)