March 5, 2009
LOS ANGELES - Trailing 2-3 and needing to win the final two singles matches in order to pull off the upset, the No. 11 UCLA women's tennis team did just that on Thursday, roaring back for a 4-3 victory over No. 10 USC at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins, who have now won five in a row over their cross-town rivals, move to 11-2 on the season. The Women of Troy fall to 8-2.
"This was a great win for us, especially on our home courts in front of our home fans," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. "USC is an extremely talented team. We might have overachieved a little bit today, but I really think that the sky is the limit for us this year. There is no telling how good this team can be."
Thursday's match actually began on Wednesday but was postponed after rain halted play during singles action. UCLA owned a 1-0 lead heading into the day, as the Bruins took the doubles point yesterday with wins at court Nos. 1 and 2. UCLA clinched the doubles point when fifth-ranked Andrea Remynse and Yasmin Schnack registered a 9-8(3) victory over No. 12 Amanda Fink/Gabriela Niculescu at court No. 1.
Although the Bruins won the doubles point, it was USC that got off to the better start in singles, taking the first set on five of six courts. The only Bruin player to get off to a good start was Schnack at court No. 1, as she won the first set over Sarah Fansler on Wednesday. Schnack ultimately posted a 6-2, 6-4 win to give UCLA a 2-0 lead in the match.
USC would take the next three matches, posting wins at court Nos. 3, 4 and 2 to take a 3-2 lead in the dual. Ashley Joelson (court No. 5) and Carling Seguso (court No. 6) were the Bruins' last two hopes, as UCLA needed wins on the final two courts to pull out the win. Playing in just her first UCLA-USC dual match, Seguso showed the composure of a veteran, storming back for a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Leyla Entekhabi to tie it up at 3-3.
"She impressed me a lot," said Sampras Webster of Seguso. "To be able to play at that high a level in such a big situation was huge. She wasn't scared and didn't show any signs of fear. Those are the type of players you want on your team. Leyla is a great player and has won a lot of matches for USC. It was just a big win for Carling."
Right next door at court No. 5, Joelson was in a tight battle with USC freshman Alison Ramos. Down 4-2 at one point in the final set, Joelson battled back to take the final four games, clinching the match with a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory. It marks the second time in Joelson's career that she has defeated USC in the clinching match, as she also posted a three-set victory over Dianne Matias in a 4-3 Bruin win back in 2007. That victory started the Bruins' five-match winning streak over USC.
"Ashley is the type of player who is composed in stressful situations," said Sampras Webster. "If someone is going to beat her they are going to have to take it from her. She isn't going to give a match to anyone. She is a fighter."
UCLA returns to the courts tomorrow, hosting Oregon at 1:30 p.m.
1. (5) Remynse/Schnack (UCLA) def. (12) Fink/Niculescu (USC) - 9-8(3)
2. (76) Seguso/Stephanie Wetmore (UCLA) def. (62) Fansler/Lyndsay Kinstler (USC) - 8-2
3. (71) Ramos/Sanchez (USC) def. Joelson/Pantic (UCLA) - 8-2
UCLA Wins Doubles Point - Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1. (19) Yasmin Schnack (UCLA) def. (22) Sarah Fansler (USC) - 6-2, 6-4
2. (15) Maria Sanchez (USC) def. (27) Andrea Remynse (UCLA) - 6-4, 6-2
3. (29) Amanda Fink (USC) def. (81) Maya Johansson (UCLA) - 6-2, 6-3
4. (54) Gabriela Niculescu (USC) def. (112) Nina Pantic (UCLA) - 6-2, 6-3
5. Ashley Joelson (UCLA) def. (61) Alison Ramos (USC) - 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4*
6. Carling Seguso (UCLA) def. Leyla Entekhabi (USC) - 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
* Denotes Clinching Match -- Order of Finish: 1, 3, 4, 2, 6, 5