No. 1 UCLA Advances to NCAA Semifinals
May 19, 2012
Athens, Ga. - Cal snapped UCLA's 20-match winning streak earlier in the season and the the top-seeded Bruins had revenge on their minds in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships on Saturday, taking a 4-1 victory over the Bears at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex. UCLA (25-2) now gets a chance to avenge its only other loss of the season in Monday's semifinals, where it will meet No. 5 USC at 1:00 p.m. (EST). The Women of Troy (24-3) were 4-2 winners over No. 4 Stanford in their quarterfinal encounter on Saturday.
"The team came out really ready to play, they were focused," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster, who has led the Bruins to the semifinals in each of the last two seasons. "We set the tone early in doubles and that got everyone to relax. The energy was really, really high. We knew their team and they knew our team. We made some adjustments and we executed really well today. I'm really proud of my team."
Fortunately for UCLA, Saturday's contest didn't play out anywhere near the showdown in Berkeley on April 13 when Cal swept all three doubles matches. While court No. 1 was fairly close, the Bruins moved out to early leads at the other two positions. UCLA's McCall Jones and Carling Seguso were the first to finish at court No. 3, as they downed Tayler Davis and Cecilia Estlander, 8-4. The Bruins would claim the point in a battle of top 10 teams at the No. 2 spot, where ninth-ranked Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez notched an 8-4 upset over fifth-ranked Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting. UCLA's Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton were actually trailing 5-7 at the No. 1 position when play was suspended.
UCLA kept up its intensity in singles, posting first-set wins on four of six courts. The Bruins even went ahead 2-0 when Morton downed Davis, 6-1, 6-4 at court No. 4. Cal, however, answered right back at the No. 2 spot, where Zsofi Susanyi beat Jones, 6-2, 6-1 to make it 2-1.
While Susanyi's victory put the Bears on the board, it didn't slow the Bruins' momentum one bit, as UCLA was nearing wins at three of the four remaining courts. Seguso, who has been filling the vacancy left by injured freshman Kaitlin Ray at court No. 6, gave UCLA its third point of the day with 6-2, 6-4 win over Alice Duranteau to make it 3-1.
"I didn't know if I was going to play," said Seguso. "I told Kaitlin Ray that I wish she were playing but since she couldn't, I tried extra hard for her. These are my last matches so really I'm just out there playing tennis for the last time at UCLA and doing the best I can."
The clinching victory then came from Montez at the No. 3 position, as she posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over Schutting to send UCLA into the semifinals. When play was suspended, UCLA's Chanelle Van Nguyen was two points away from victory at court No. 5, while Anderson was down a set and trailing Jana Juricova, 2-5 in the second at court No. 1.
"We just didn't have enough at the bottom three courts today," said Cal coach Amanda Augustus. "The girls all gave their best efforts, but UCLA really played to win today. I think it was a tough quarterfinal matchup. They were the better team today top to bottom."
Monday marks the fourth meeting between UCLA and USC this season. Although the Bruins beat the Women of Troy, 4-0 and 4-3 in the first two showdowns, USC posted a 6-1 win over UCLA at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on April 20.
UCLA reached last year's NCAA Semifinals at Stanford, falling to the eventual NCAA Champion Florida Gators, 4-0.
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