No. 3 UCLA Fends off Fifth-Ranked Cal, 4-3
Feb. 24, 2012
LOS ANGELES - On the verge of suffering its first loss of the season against No. 5 Cal, the third-ranked UCLA women's tennis team rebounded in a big way on Friday, fighting back to take a 4-3 victory over the Golden Bears in a non-conference showdown at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. With the win, the Bruins improve to 11-0 on the season, marking the program's best start in 20 years.
UCLA got off to a slow start in doubles on Friday, quickly falling behind 1-5 at court No. 1 and 1-4 at the No. 2 position. Although the Golden Bears would eventually win 8-2 at court No. 2, the Bruins evened things up when McCall Jones and Carling Seguso downed Alice Duranteau and Cecilia Estlander, 8-4 at court No. 3. Fortunately for UCLA, 12th-ranked Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton were able to get back into the match at court No. 1, winning seven of the final eight games to beat Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting, 8-6. That victory gave UCLA a 1-0 lead heading into singles play.
Similar to its fast start in doubles, Cal (6-2) had UCLA on the ropes early in singles, winning five of six first sets. The Golden Bears would actually come within a point of winning Friday's match following straight set wins at court Nos. 4, 1 and 2. Bruin freshman phenom Anderson, who is listed at No. 6 in the latest ITA Rankings, suffered a 6-3, 6-4 upset to 23rd-ranked Zsofi Susanyi at court No. 1. Morton didn't fare any better at court No. 4, falling to Goransson, 6-2, 6-1. It marked the first losses in dual-match play for both Bruin players.
Cal then took a 3-1 lead in the dual match when Tayler Davis downed Jones, 6-4, 6-2 at court No. 2.
With Cal just a point away from pulling off the upset, the momentum began to change, especially at the back courts where freshmen Chanelle Van Nguyen and Kaitlin Ray were beginning to take control. After dropping the first set to Estlander at court No. 5, Van Nguyen fought back to take a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory to cut the lead to 3-2. Van Nguyen is the only Bruin player to post a win in all 11 matches this season. Ray, who owns the longest winning streak on the team at 15 matches, then tied things up when she downed Duranteau, 6-2, 7-6(4).
With the dual match now tied at 3-3, the focus then turned to court No. 3, where UCLA's Pamela Montez and Schutting were just beginning a third set. Montez held to open the set and then immediately broke Schutting to go ahead 2-0. She would eventually take a 5-1 lead and serve for the match before Schutting broke to cut the lead to 5-2. Finally, on her ninth match point, Montez closed out the win for UCLA, registering a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory.
The last time UCLA started a season 11-0 was in 1992.
UCLA returns to action next Thursday, traveling across town to take on No. 7 USC at 1:30 p.m.
#3 UCLA 4, #5 California 3
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