Florida Gets the Best of UCLA in NCAA Semis
May 23, 2011
Stanford, Calif. - The sixth-seeded UCLA women's tennis team saw its season come to an end in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships on Monday, as the Bruins suffered a 4-0 loss to Florida at Stanford's Taube South Courts. With the loss, UCLA ends its season with a 22-6 overall record. Florida moves on and will face top-seeded Stanford tomorrow in the national championship at 4:00 p.m.
Things got off to a rough start for the Bruins, who dropped the doubles point for the first time in five postseason matches. Although UCLA managed early breaks at court Nos. 1 and 2, the Gators battled back to take wins at the bottom two courts. After posting an 8-6 win at court No. 2, Florida closed out the point when Caroline Hitimana and Joanna Mather downed Maya Johansson and Pamela Montez, 8-4 at the No. 3 spot.
"We really expected to win that doubles point and when we didn't I think it was hard for our girls to get back into it," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. "I'm a little disappointed in how we didn't make adjustments. They made adjustments and that's how we lost a close No. 2 doubles and I think that could have made a difference."
The Bruins, who needed to win four singles matches to pull off its second upset in as many days, also got off to a slow start in singles play, dropping the first set on five of six courts. UCLA's lone set came at court No. 4, where Montez downed Mather, 6-4.
Before the Bruins could get back into the match, however, the Gators registered a pair of straight-set wins to take a 3-0 lead. Lauren Embree recorded a 6-2, 6-2 win over Hickey at court No. 2, and Alex Cercone notched a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Bruin freshman Courtney Dolehide at court No. 5.
UCLA's best chance for a win came at court No. 4, where Montez eventually worked her way to a 6-4, 5-0 advantage. With that match all but counted as a win for UCLA, Mather stormed back to take the next seven games and the set 7-5. It was a mental blow for the Bruins, who desperately needed a point to keep their hopes alive.
Florida's clinching win would come at court No. 1, where sophomore Allie Will downed McCall Jones, 7-6(7), 6-2 to give the Gators a 4-0 victory.
"Our goal was to make it to the Final Four and see what would happen there," added Sampras Webster. "Anything can happen in the Final Four and we did it. I'm glad they got to experience that. You can't take it for granted. There aren't a lot of teams that even get to the Final Four so we appreciate that. Obviously we would have loved to play for a national championship here, but we came across Florida who just played better and smarter tennis than we did.
(2) Florida 4, (6) UCLA 0
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