With a consistent rain falling throughout the day in Athens, the NCAA made the decision to send two quarterfinal matches to Georgia Tech's indoor facility. Second-seeded Oklahoma, the highest seeded team in UCLA's half of the draw, was able to stay and play North Carolina indoors in Athens, while the Bruins and Buckeyes were forced to make the 75 minute drive to Atlanta for indoor courts.
"I'll tell you, I wasn't happy having to play (Ohio State) indoors," said UCLA head coach Billy Martin, whose Bruin teams have ousted the Buckeyes in the last three NCAA Tournaments. "If there was one team in the tournament that I didn't want to play indoors it was this team. I think these courts were a lot slower than the University of Georgia courts and that was one plus. We've been practicing indoors since we came here because I was aware of the forecast. I think that helped us."
Sunday's doubles point was as close as they come, with the point eventually coming down to a tiebreaker at court No. 2. The Bruins would notch early breaks at court Nos. 1 and 3 for 3-1 leads at both courts. UCLA's Joseph Di Giulio and Clay Thompson gave UCLA a boost early, as they got up another break against Hunter Callahan and Chris Diaz at the No. 3 spot, closing out the match on Di Giulio's serve to take an 8-3 victory. Things looked to be in UCLA's favor at court No. 2 as well, where the Bruins were serving up 6-4. The Bruins, however, were broken and Ohio State eventually tied the match at 6-6. Meanwhile, an 8-6 Ohio State win at court No. 1 turned all the attention back to court No. 2, where the match was headed to a tiebreaker. The Bruins got down early in the breaker and were never fully able to recover, as Ohio State took the match 8-7(3) to claim the doubles point.
"Gosh, it was so close in both single and doubles," added Martin. "I really felt we were going to win the doubles point. I was really disappointed. We let No. 1 doubles go after having a break late in the match and the same at No. 2. But we've had a lot of experience with losing the doubles point this year and I think that maybe helped us. The guys don't feel like we are going to lose the match after losing the doubles point."
Without the doubles point, UCLA needed to win four of six singles matches to pull off the victory. Even though the Bruins managed to take four first sets, the Buckeyes would take a 2-0 lead in the match when 11th-ranked Peter Kobelt upset the top-ranked Thompson, 7-5, 7-6(5) at court No. 1.
Fortunately, the Bruins were able to climb back in the match with a pair of straight-set wins of their own, as Puget and Sell notched huge victories at court Nos. 5 and 6, respectively to tie the score at 2-2.
At the time of Sell's win, Mackenzie McDonald was up 4-1 in the third set at court No. 3 and Gage Brymer was up 3-0 in the third set at court No. 4. In the only other match still on court, Marcos Giron was down a break early in the third set at the No. 2 spot.
McDonald managed to hold on to his break for the remainder of the third set, giving UCLA a 3-2 lead with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Ralf Steinbach. With Giron still early on in a third with OSU's Herkko Pollanen, Brymer's court was the next likely one to finish and most of the fans in attendance focused on court No. 4. Brymer worked his way to three match points with Diaz serving to stay in the match down 3-5. Brymer was unable to convert any of those match points and Diaz ultimately held to force Brymer to serve out the match. He did in the very next game, taking a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win to give the Bruins the thrilling 4-2 victory.
Just before Brymer's match-clinching victory, Giron had broken Pollanen to take a 4-2 lead in the final set.
#5 UCLA 4, #3 Ohio State 2
May 18, 2014 at Atlanta, GA (Ken Byers Tennis Complex)
|1. #24 Kobelt/Steinbach (OSU) def. #10 Giron/McDonald (UCLA) 8-6|
|2. Metka/Pollanen (OSU) def. Puget/Sell (UCLA) 8-7(3)|
|3. Joseph Di Giulio/Thompson (UCLA) def. Callahan/Diaz (OSU) 8-3|
|1. #11 Peter Kobelt (OSU) def. #1 Clay Thompson (UCLA) 7-5, 7-6(5)|
|2. #109 Herkko Pollanen (OSU) vs. #2 Marcos Giron (UCLA) 3-6, 6-4, 2-4, unfinished|
|3. #35 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) def. #101 Ralf Steinbach (OSU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3|
|4. #71 Gage Brymer (UCLA) def. Chris Diaz (OSU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4|
|5. Adrien Puget (UCLA) def. Hunter Callahan (OSU) 6-2, 7-6(3)|
|6. #95 Karue Sell (UCLA) def. Kevin Metka (OSU) 6-4, 6-4|
|UCLA 26-3; National ranking #5|
|Ohio State 33-4; National ranking #3|
|Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,5,6,3,4)|