May 14, 2012
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Top-Seeded UCLA to Face Rice in NCAA Round of 16
The top-seeded UCLA women's tennis team (23-2) continues its quest for a third national championship this week, as the Bruins head to Athens, Ga. for the NCAA Round of 16, May 17-22 at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. UCLA opens up play this Thursday, taking on unseeded Rice at 9:00 a.m. (EST). Former Bruin All-American Elizabeth Schmidt (1997-2000) is the head coach at Rice. If the Bruins can get by the Owls, they are looking at a showdown with either ninth-seeded Cal or Georgia Tech on Saturday at Noon (EST).
2012 NCAA Tennis Championship Central
UCLA at the NCAA Championships
Only three teams (UCLA, Stanford and Cal) have made the NCAA Tournament every year since women's tennis became an NCAA sport in 1982. The Bruins' selection to the 2012 tournament marks the team's 31st appearance. UCLA captured its only NCAA title in 2008 in Tulsa, Okla. (UCLA def. Cal, 4-0). The Bruins' only other national title was in 1981 when the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) was the governing body.
Bruins Cruise Through Regional Play
UCLA advanced to this week's NCAA Round of 16 by winning two regional matches last weekend at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins beat both Eastern Kentucky and Long Beach State by 4-0 scores. With the two wins, UCLA improved its record to 27-1 all-time in NCAA Regional matches. The only year that UCLA failed to advance to the round of 16 was in 1999.
Last Time in Georgia
UCLA was upset in the round of 16 the last time the University of Georgia hosted the NCAA Championships in 2010. That season, the seventh-seeded Bruins were knocked off by 10th-seeded Duke, 4-2 in the opening match. UCLA, however, has had recent success in Georgia, reaching the finals in both 2004 and 2007.
UCLA Against the NCAA Round of 16
UCLA has faced seven of the other 15 teams that are still alive in the NCAA Tournament this season, owning an 8-2 record. The Bruins' wins were against Cal, USC (twice), Stanford, Northwestern, Duke and Baylor. UCLA's two losses were against conference rivals USC and Cal.
Bruins Reach 20-Win Mark Again
The 2012 season marks the fifth time in the last six years that UCLA has posted 20 wins in a season. The only time in the last six years the Bruins' didn't reach the 20-win mark was 2009 when the team won 19 matches. With a win over Rice on Thursday, UCLA will reach 24 wins for only the second time in the last 30 years. The only other time was in 2008 when the team won the NCAA Championship, ending that season 24-5 overall.
Four Bruins to Compete in NCAA Individual Championships
Four Bruin players will remain in Georgia after the team competition to take part in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships from May 23-28. Freshman Robin Anderson is the team's lone singles competitor and is the No. 4 seed in the 64-player draw. She and partner Skylar Morton are also listed as a 5-8 seed in the 32-team doubles draw. Joining Anderson and Morton in the doubles competition will be Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez. The last Bruin to claim an NCAA Singles Championship was Keri Phebus in 1995. Tracy Lin and Riza Zalameda were the team's last doubles champions, claiming the title in 2008. 2012 NCAA Singles & Doubles Selections
UCLA in the ITA Rankings
When the ITA calculated its final rankings prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament on April 30, UCLA was ranked No. 1 for the 10th week in a row. The Bruins never relinquished the top spot after claiming the program's first ITA National Team Indoor title back in February. Individually, Robin Anderson is ranked No. 4 nationally in singles, followed by No. 73 Pamela Montez, No. 98 McCall Jones, No. 114 Kaitlin Ray, No. 119 Chanelle Van Nguyen and No. 124 Skylar Morton. In doubles, Anderson and Morton are ranked No. 6, followed by Courtney Dolehide and Montez at No. 9. New team and individual rankings will not be released again until the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament. Team and Individual Rankings
Anderson Named Pac-12 FOY
Robin Anderson was recently rewarded for her outstanding efforts this season, as newcomer from Matawan, N.J. was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a member of the All-Pac-12 First Team. The Bruins' top singles and doubles player, Anderson is currently ranked No. 4 nationally in singles and No. 6 in the country in doubles with fellow freshman Skylar Morton. She leads the team in singles wins, taking a 32-8 overall record into the NCAA Tournament. Anderson is also 19-2 in dual-matches, playing all but two matches at the No. 1 position. Her record against ranked singles opponents stands at 19-7. In doubles, Anderson and Morton are 22-8 overall and 14-6 in dual matches. She becomes the first UCLA player to earn conference freshman of the year honors since Daniela Bercek in 2004. UCLA's Sara Walker (2000) and Megan Bradley (2002) have also earned the award.
Bruins Finish T-3rd in Final Pac-12 Standings
With an 8-2 record in Pac-12 play, UCLA wound up tied for third with Cal in the final conference standings. Stanford and USC, which both finished 9-1 in the league, were named Pac-12 Co-Champions. UCLA's two Pac-12 losses were to Cal and USC, while the Bruins beat Stanford, 5-2 up in the Bay Area. That win snapped Stanford's 157-match regular-season home winning streak, which dated back to 1999.
Much of the attention this season has focused on the outstanding play of UCLA freshmen Robin Anderson, Skylar Morton, Kaitlin Ray and Chanelle Van Nguyen. The four players have definitely earned the praise, owning a combined singles record of 103-21. In dual matches the four players are a combined 72-10. Regardless of what happens this season the future definitely looks bright for the Bruins, who also signed one of the top players in America, blue chip Kyle McPhillips, in November.
Sampras Webster, Brown, Anderson All Honored by the ITA
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its regional winners for several annual awards and three Bruins earned Southwest Region honors. Stella Sampras Webster was named the Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year, Rance Brown was named assistant coach of the year, and Robin Anderson was named rookie of the year. All three individuals are in the running to earn the national award in those categories, which will be released on May 22.
Going For NCAA Title #109
UCLA is the national leader in NCAA Championships with 108, followed by Stanford with 103. The last Bruin team to claim an NCAA title was women's volleyball, which won the program's first title in 20 years this past December.
UCLA claimed the program's first ITA National Team Indoor title this season, defeating No. 3 Duke, 4-0 in the final on Feb. 13 in Charlottesville, Va. The Bruins also posted wins over Georgia Tech (4-2), Northwestern (4-0) and USC (4-0) at the event. UCLA previously lost finals appearances in both 1990 and 1995.
Head Coach Stella Sampras Webster
Stella Sampras Webster owns a 295-122 (.707) overall record in her 16th season as head coach in Westwood, In 2008, she led UCLA to the school's first NCAA Women's Tennis Championship - and first national championship since 1981 (AIAW) - with a 4-0 victory over Cal in the final in Tulsa, Okla. It marked the 102nd NCAA title in UCLA history. Sampras Webster also guided the Bruins to their first Pac-10 Championship that year, finishing the conference season with a 7-1 record. She was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year at the end of the season. Few college coaches can match Sampras Webster's ability to continually put their teams in the title hunt year in and year out. Prior to the 2008 championship season, she guided the program to a pair of second-place finishes in 2004 and 2007. Sampras Webster-led teams have finished in the top 5 nationally on seven occasions (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011).