"Certainly not fun to lose but it was a great college tennis match," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin. "I think it really shows that the doubles point means so much when you get down to these semifinals and finals matches at the NCAA's. I thought that we had a good chance to win there today against this team. We didn't play real well at number one doubles. Number three doubles was certainly very close. It came down to that tiebreaker but it didn't go our way.
The Bruins struck first in doubles on Monday when Adrien Puget and Karue Sell downed Guillermo Alcorta and Andrew Harris, 8-5 at court No. 2. UCLA, however, was in a dogfight in the remaining two courts. Oklahoma would even things up at court No. 1, where Axel Alvarez and Dane Webb upset 10th-ranked Marcos Giron and Mackenzie McDonald, 8-6. An intense tiebreaker soon followed at court No. 3 to decide the point and Oklahoma's Alex Ghilea and Nick Papac came out on top 8-7(5) over Joseph Di Giulio and Clay Thompson to clinch the point for the Sooners.
Although the Bruins were able to rebound after losing the doubles point on Sunday against Ohio State, UCLA knew that it had its hands full against Oklahoma, as the Sooners, like the Bruins, boast two singles players ranked in the top 10 in America. UCLA won two out of the first three matches to tie the score at 2-2. Straight-set wins by Puget at court No. 5, and McDonald at court No. 3 gave the Bruins confidence that they could pull off the win.
The three matches remaining were all close and things began to get very interesting when both court Nos. 1 and 6 were headed to simultaneous third-set tiebreakers. Meanwhile, over at court No. 4, Bruin freshman Gage Brymer was on serve early in the third set against Andrew Harris.
Despite being down 5-2 in the third set against Sell at court No. 6, Ghilea fought back for 6-6 and would eventually win the tiebreaker 7-5 to give Oklahoma a 3-2 lead in the match. After that victory, fans began to immediately head over to court No. 1, where Thompson and Alcorta were on serve in their tiebreaker. Alcorta would take a 6-5 lead on an inside out forehand pass and then the match on the very next point when Thompson dumped a slice backhand approach shot into the net. Oklahoma players then stormed the court in celebration.
In Monday's other semifinal, top-seeded USC downed No. 4 Virginia, 5-1. The Trojans and Sooners will square off for the NCAA Title tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. (EST).
#2 Oklahoma 4, #5 UCLA 2
May 19, 2014 at Athens, GA (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
|1. Alvarez/Webb (OU) def. #10 Giron/McDonald (UCLA) 8-6|
|2. Puget/Sell (UCLA) def. Alcorta/Harris (OU) 8-5|
|3. Ghilea/Nick Papac (OU) def. Joseph Di Giulio/Thompson (UCLA) 8-7(5)|
|1. #5 Guillermo Alcorta (OU) def. #1 Clay Thompson (UCLA) 0-6, 6-2, 7-6(5)|
|2. #7 Axel Alvarez (OU) def. #2 Marcos Giron (UCLA) 6-4, 6-2|
|3. #35 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) def. #41 Dane Webb (OU) 6-4, 6-4|
|4. #53 Andrew Harris (OU) vs. #71 Gage Brymer (UCLA) 4-6, 6-3, 2-3, unfinished|
|5. Adrien Puget (UCLA) def. Austin Siegel (OU) 6-2, 6-3|
|6. Alex Ghilea (OU) def. #95 Karue Sell (UCLA) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5)|
|UCLA 26-4; National ranking #5|
|Oklahoma 28-3; National ranking #2|
|Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (5,2,3,6,1)|