No. 1 Women's Tennis Downs No. 6 Stanford, 5-2
April 14, 2012
Stanford, Calif. - The top-ranked UCLA women's tennis team became the first team to beat Stanford in a regular-season home match in more than 13 years on Saturday afternoon, as the Bruins rolled to a 5-2 victory over the sixth-ranked Cardinal at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium in the Bay Area. Prior to Saturday, the Cardinal had not suffered a regular-season home loss since a 5-4 defeat at the hands of Cal on Feb. 27, 1999, snapping a streak of 157 consecutive wins.
"Overall the team just did a great job coming in with a lot of energy. We had belief that we could beat Stanford and the players played like it. The doubles point was huge for us. After yesterday's loss we had a meeting and we talked about it and I think the players understood just how tough this match would be. I knew (our players) would get up for it. They stayed calm and stayed focused and executed extremely well today."
After suffering its first loss of the year at Cal a day earlier, UCLA (21-1; 8-1 Pac-12) came out and snatched the doubles point on Saturday with wins at court Nos. 3 and 1. The match started with both teams exchanging wins, as Stanford notched an 8-2 victory at court No. 2, followed by an 8-4 Bruin win at the No. 2 spot. That meant that the doubles point would be decided at court No. 1, where UCLA's 11th-ranked Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton were battling third-ranked Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs. Anderson and Morton were able to hang on for the upset, posting an 8-6 win to give UCLA the 1-0 advantage heading into singles play.
UCLA's lead didn't last long after singles began, as Burdette avenged her loss in doubles by downing Bruin senior McCall Jones, 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 2 spot. Despite the early Stanford win, UCLA was in control in four of the other five singles matches. Freshman Kaitlin Ray put the Bruins up 2-1 when she notched a 6-0, 6-4 win over Natalie Dillon at court No. 6. It marked Ray's 26th consecutive win, as she is now 21-0 in dual match play and 29-2 on the year.
Playing next door to Ray at court No. 5, fellow freshman Chanelle Van Nguyen, who suffered a heart-breaking three-set loss at Cal a day earlier, gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead when she downed Veronica Li, 6-1, 6-3. Van Nguyen's victory meant that UCLA needed to win just one of the three remaining singles matches to pull off its first victory over the Cardinal since 2010.
The Bruins' match-clinching win came at court No. 1, where Anderson was a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Gibbs to give UCLA an insurmountable 4-1 advantage. The two players are ranked just one spot apart from each other, with Anderson checking in at No. 4 and Gibbs at No. 3 in the current ITA Singles Rankings.
"Robin has done a great job leading this team," added Sampras Webster. "Not only is she our No. 1 player, but just her attitude, her focus and her spirit is so important for us. You have to be extremely focused to beat a player like Nicole Gibbs. I think Robin truly believed that she could beat her and she did. For her to clinch it was a great moment for her and our program."
With the match already decided, Morton downed Ellen Tsay, 6-4, 6-3 at court No. 4, and Stanford picked up its second point of the afternoon when Stacey Tan downed Pamela Montez, 7-5, 7-5 at court No. 3.
With a win against No. 4 USC next Friday, UCLA is guaranteed at least a share of the 2012 Pac-12 title. Those two teams will square off at 3:00 p.m. at UCLA's Los Angeles Tennis Center.
"It's always a big match no matter if it's for a title or not," said Sampras Webster on next week's showdown with USC. "It's going to be very competitive. We are going to have to play well to beat them that's for sure. It's going to be exciting."
#1 UCLA 5, #6 Stanford 2
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