Top-Seeded UCLA Suffers 4-3 Upset to North Carolina
Charlottesville, Va. - The top-seeded UCLA women's tennis team came up just short in its bid to claim back-to-back titles at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors on Monday in Virginia, suffering a 4-3 loss to sixth-seeded North Carolina in the championship match at the Boar's Head Sports Club. The loss, the Bruins' first of the season, brings UCLA's record to 6-1 on the year. With the win, the Tar Heels remain undefeated at 9-0.
UCLA dominated doubles play on Monday, taking wins at court Nos. 1 and 3 to claim the point. The Bruins clinched the point with an upset at the top position, as 16th-ranked Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton downed eighth-ranked Ashley Dai and Whitney Kay, 8-6. UCLA had already posted an 8-4 win at court No. 3. The Bruins were also within a game of winning at court No. 2, leading that match 7-3 when play was suspended.
Following doubles, UCLA took a 2-0 lead in the match when sophomore Chanelle Van Nguyen posted a 6-4, 6-0 win over 111th-ranked Lauren McHale at court No. 4. Unfortunately for the Bruins, four of the next five matches would go in North Carolina's favor.
After winning four of six first sets, the Tar Heels eventually were able to take three consecutive wins for a 3-2 lead in the match. One of the wins came at court No. 1, where 11th-ranked Gina Suarez-Malaguti was able to do what no other player has been able to do this season and that's beat Anderson. She won 6-3, 6-4 to give North Carolina its first point of the afternoon. Anderson, who is ranked No. 6 nationally, was 18-0 on the year heading into Monday. The Tar Heels' other wins came from Tessa Lyons at court No. 6 and Caroline Price at court No. 5.
Down 3-2, UCLA needed wins from Kyle McPhillips and Pamela Montez for any chance at a victory. McPhillips made things interesting, as she moved out to a big third-set lead over Zoe De Bruycker at court No. 2, eventually posting a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 victory to tie the dual match at 3-3.
At the point of Phillips' victory, all attention then turned to court No. 3, where Montez and Kay were on serve in the third. The set would go to a tiebreaker, with Kay moving out to a 6-3 lead and earning three match points. Montez was able to fight off two of those match points, however Kay pulled it out in the end, notching a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory to give North Carolina its first National Team Indoor title.
UCLA is off the remainder of the week and won't return to action until a dual match at Cal on Feb. 22.
USTA/ITA National Team Indoors (Championship Match)
#8 North Carolina 4, #2 UCLA 3
Feb 11, 2013 at Charlottesville, VA (Boar's Head Sports Club)
1. #16 Anderson/Skylar Morton (UCLA) def. #8 Ashley Dai/Kay (UNC) 8-6
2. Dolehide/Montez (UCLA) vs. De Bruycker/Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) 7-3, unfinished
3. Harrison/McPhillips (UCLA) def. #51 Lyons/McHale (UNC) 8-4
UCLA Wins Doubles Point
1. #11 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. #6 Robin Anderson (UCLA) 6-3, 6-4
2. #47 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #28 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC) 6-3, 2-6, 6-2
3. #21 Whitney Kay (UNC) def. #96 Pamela Montez (UCLA) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5)
4. Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) def. #111 Lauren McHale (UNC) 6-4, 6-0
5. #36 Caroline Price (UNC) def. Catherine Harrison (UCLA) 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
6. #101 Tessa Lyons (UNC) def. Courtney Dolehide (UCLA) 6-1, 6-4
North Carolina 9-0; National ranking #8
UCLA 6-1; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (4,1,6,5,2,3)