May 22, 2007
Athens, Ga. - The UCLA women's tennis team's dramatic run in the NCAA Tournament came to an end Tuesday evening, as the No. 12-seeded Bruins suffered a 4-2 loss to No. 3 Georgia Tech in the championship match at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. UCLA, which was the lowest seed to reach the final since the NCAA adopted its current seeding format in 1999, ends its season with a 21-8 overall record. With the win, Georgia Tech (29-4) captures its school's first NCAA title in any sport.
"We lost a tough battle today," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster, who has guided the Bruins to the championship match on two occasions (2004 and 2007). "We can take some great memories from this tournament. I'm proud of our team."
UCLA, which entered the match with a 20-0 record when winning the doubles point, had to like its chances early, as the Bruins took a pair of 8-3 decisions at court Nos. 1 and 2 to claim the point. UCLA's 19th-ranked Yasmin Schnack and Riza Zalameda clinched the point with a big upset at court No. 1, downing No. 3 Whitney McCray/Kristi Miller, 8-3. Georgia Tech was leading 6-2 at court No. 3 when play was suspended.
The Bruins' lead didn't last long however, as Georgia Tech's Amanda McDowell defeated Ashley Joelson, 6-1, 6-0 at court No. 4, evening the score at 1-1. UCLA would take a 2-1 lead when Schnack downed Amanda Craddock, 6-3, 6-1 at court No. 3. Schnack has been on a roll as of late, winning five of six matches during the tournament.
The momentum began to shift in Georgia Tech's favor when Miller, ranked sixth nationally, downed No. 15 Zalameda, 6-3, 7-6(3) at court No. 1 to make it 2-2. That win was followed by court No. 5, where No. 96 Christy Striplin fought back from a set down to defeat UCLA's Alex McGoodwin, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Suddenly, with two matches still on court, Georgia Tech found itself within a point of clinching. UCLA's Elizabeth Lumpkin was up 4-1 in the third set at court No. 6, while junior Tracy Lin had just went down two breaks in the third set at court No. 2. Although Lumpkin was on the verge of defeating Tarryn Rudman at No. 6, most of the attention was focused at the No. 2 spot, where Georgia Tech's Alison Silverio went up 5-1. She would break Lin in the final game, eventually taking a 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 win to give the Yellow Jackets the title.
Asked if the team had a letdown following its emotional win over top-seeded Stanford in the semifinals, Sampras responded, "I didn't see any sign of a letdown whatsoever. Georgia Tech just beat us."
Schnack was named to the all-tournament team at No. 3 singles, as were the doubles teams of Schnack/Zalameda (#1 position) and Joelson/McGoodwin (#2 position).
UCLA will now focus on the individual portion of the championships, as Schnack, Zalameda and Lin are all competing in the 64-player singles draw which begins tomorrow. Schnack and Zalameda are also competing in the 32-team doubles draw.
2007 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships (Final)
#3 Georgia Tech 4, #12 UCLA 2 - at Athens, Ga.
1. (19) Schnack/Zalameda (UCLA) def. (3) Whitney McCray/Miller (GT) - 8-3
2. (53) Joelson/McGoodwin (UCLA) def. (26) Craddock/Silverio (GT) - 8-3
3. Kirsten Flower/Rudman (GT) led (41) Lumpkin/Stephanie Wetmore (UCLA) - 6-2 Susp.
UCLA wins doubles point --- Order of finish: 2, 1
1. (6) Kristi Miller (GT) def. (15) Riza Zalameda (UCLA) - 6-3, 7-6(3)
2. (93) Alison Silverio (GT) def. (40) Tracy Lin (UCLA) - 7-5, 5-7, 6-1*
3. (56) Yasmin Schnack (UCLA) def. (71) Amanda Craddock (GT) - 6-3, 6-1
4. (94) Amanda McDowell (GT) def. (107) Ashley Joelson (UCLA) - 6-1, 6-0
5. (96) Christy Striplin (GT) def. Alex McGoodwin (UCLA) - 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
6. Elizabeth Lumpkin (UCLA) led (108) Tarryn Rudman (GT) - 2-6, 6-3, 5-2 Susp.
Order of finish: 4, 3, 1, 5, 2 --- * Denotes Clinching Match