May 21, 2007
Athens, Ga. - Bruin sophomore Ashley Joelson rallied from a set down at No. 4 singles to help the No. 12-seeded UCLA women's tennis team knock off top-seeded Stanford, 4-2 in the NCAA Semifinals on Monday at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. With the win, the Bruins (21-7) move on to the championship match where they will face third-seeded Georgia Tech (28-4) on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. (EST). The Yellow Jackets advanced with a 4-2 victory over No. 10 Cal on Monday. Tuesday's final can be seen live on ESPNU
Joelson, who had lost the first set in a tiebreaker to Stanford's Whitney Deason, came back to win the second set 6-1. She got up an early break in the third and never looked back, eventually taking a 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-3 match-clinching win.
"This team is not afraid of Stanford," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster, who is making her second appearance in the championship match. "I knew (the team) believed they could beat them. They had the desire. I am excited for the opportunity to play for a championship."
UCLA snapped a 20-match losing streak to Stanford, as the Bruins last victory was a 5-4 decision back on April 3, 1998. UCLA also ends Stanford's 22-match winning streak in the NCAA Tournament, as the Cardinal are the three-time defending NCAA Champions.
UCLA, which had already dropped two 4-3 decisions to Stanford (24-2) this year after losing the doubles point, jumped on the Cardinal early, taking the point with victories at court Nos. 1 and 2. The Bruins' 53rd-ranked tandem of Joelson and Alex McGoodwin gave UCLA an early 1-0 lead when they took an 8-5 victory over 42nd-ranked Celia Durkin/Jessica Nguyen at court No. 2.
Stanford quickly tied things up once singles play began, as eighth-ranked Theresa Logar downed No. 15 Riza Zalameda, 6-2, 6-2 at court No. 1. The Bruins answered right back, however, when 56th-ranked Yasmin Schnack posted a 6-2, 6-4 decision over No. 14 Durkin at court No. 3.
UCLA extended its lead to 3-1 when No. 40 Tracy Lin downed No. 17 Anne Yelsey, 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 2 spot.
"I have never beaten Stanford in my three years and I've never beaten Anne Yelsey," said Lin in the postmatch press conference. "I was really nervous in the beginning but I told myself I could do it if I won the first set. I couldn't expect to win, I had to go out and take it."
Although the Bruins were within a point of the upset, Stanford made things interesting. The Cardinal cut the lead to 3-2 when 20th-ranked Jessica Nguyen notched a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over McGoodwin at court No. 5. That left two matches remaining, with UCLA leading at court No. 4 and Stanford ahead at court No. 6. Joelson's win at court No. 4 was crucial, as Stanford's Lindsay Burdette was up 5-2 in the third set over Bruin junior Elizabeth Lumpkin at court No. 6.
"We lost an incredible fight today," said Stanford head coach Lele Forood. "We've had close matches all year with them. They were the better team today. They deserved to win."
At No. 12, UCLA is the lowest seeded team to advance to the final since the NCAA adopted its seeding format in 1999. The Bruins are seeking their first NCAA title in women's tennis, as UCLA won the 1981 AIAW national title one year before the NCAA began recognizing women's championships. As a program, UCLA leads the nation in NCAA tiles with 100.
NCAA Women's Tennis Championships - Semifinals
#12 UCLA 4, #1 Stanford 2 (at Athens, Ga.)
1. (19) Schnack/Zalameda (UCLA) def. (21) Burdette/Yelsey (Stan) - 8-4
2. (53) Joelson/McGoodwin (UCLA) def. (42) Durkin/Nguyen (Stan) - 8-5
3. (41) Lumpkin/Stephanie Wetmore (UCLA) vs. Deason/Logar (Stan) - 6-6 Susp.
UCLA wins doubles point --- Order of finish: 1, 2
1. (8) Theresa Logar (Stan) def. (15) Riza Zalameda (UCLA) - 6-2, 6-2
2. (40) Tracy Lin (UCLA) def. (17) Anne Yelsey (Stan) - 6-4, 6-4
3. (56) Yasmin Schnack (UCLA) def. (14) Celia Durkin (Stan) - 6-2, 6-4
4. (107) Ashley Joelson (UCLA) def. (96) Whitney Deason (Stan) - 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-3*
5. (20) Jessica Nguyen (Stan) def. Alex McGoodwin (UCLA) - 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
6. (41) Lindsay Burdette (Stan) led Elizabeth Lumpkin (UCLA) - 6-4, 5-7, 5-2 Susp.
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2, 5, 4 --- * Denotes Clinching Match