Urbana, Ill. - In one of the latest completions to a match in NCAA tennis history, the seventh-seeded UCLA women's tennis team overcame No. 10 Michigan, 4-0 on Saturday morning in a round of 16 showdown at the University of Illinois Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. The good news for the Bruins (19-5) is that they have a day off before facing No. 2 North Carolina in the quarterfinals. That match is scheduled for Sunday at 4:00 p.m. (CST).
Several matches during Friday's day session took much longer to complete than expected and as a result, UCLA
and Michigan did not take the courts until 11:25 p.m. for a match that was originally scheduled to begin at 7:00. Despite the near four and a half hour delay, both teams looked strong from the start, and the fans who stayed for the late-night festivities were rewarded with three high-quality doubles matches. UCLA freshmen Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips, who were both playing in their first-ever match in the round of 16, played like seasoned veterans in their showdown with Kristen Dodge and Ronit Yurovsky at court No. 3, winning 8-2. Although the Bruins struck first, Michigan began to pull away at court No. 1, and it soon became evident that the doubles point would come down to court No. 2, where UCLA's Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez were in a tight match with Michigan's Sarah Lee and Mimi Nguyen. With UCLA leading 7-6, Dolehide served for the match and was broken for 7-7. Fortunately, the Bruins were able to break back in the very next game, setting up Montez to hold serve for the win. She did just that, clinching the point for UCLA with an inside out forehand on match point to give the Bruins a 1-0 advantage heading into singles play.
Although doubles was close, UCLA
thoroughly dominated singles action on Friday, getting out to a great start with first set wins on five of six courts. Dolehide, who grew up roughly 120 miles from the Illinois' campus in Hinsdale, followed up her fantastic doubles win by cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Dodge at court No. 6.
"We have really good team focus, and we pump each other up really well," said Dolehide. "It didn't matter what time of the day it was. I'm really happy with how we all competed. Doubles was a little shaky, but we fought through it. That's all you can ask at the NCAAs. You can't control how you're playing; you can just control your effort."
UCLA soon grew its lead to 3-0 when McPhillips, who is ranked 20th in the nation in singles, dispatched of the 58th-ranked Yurovsky, 6-1, 6-2 at court No. 2. It marked the 11th-straight win for McPhillips, who tallied her team-leading 31st victory of the year on Friday.
Less than a minute after McPhillips' win, third-ranked Robin Anderson clinched the victory for UCLA at court No. 1, where she downed 30th-ranked Emina Bektas, 6-3, 6-4 to give the Bruins a 4-0 victory.
When play was suspended, both Montez (court No. 3) and Harrison (court No. 5) were up at set at their respective courts. The only Michigan (23-6) advantage was at court No. 4, where Lee was up 6-3, 3-2 over Chanelle Van Nugyen.
"Our team did a good job," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. "Getting the doubles point relieved some of the stress and pressure from the girls. The team did a great job of being able to keep their energy up throughout the day and coming out and competing hard."
With the loss, the Wolverines end their season with a 23-6 overall record. Sunday's UCLA-UNC showdown is a re-match of this year's ITA National Team Indoor Final, where the Tar Heels won 4-3.
NCAA Round of 16
#7 UCLA 4, #10 Michigan 0
May 17, 2013 at Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex
1. #6 Bektas/Bolender (MICH) def. #25 Anderson/Skylar Morton (UCLA) 8-6
2. #38 Dolehide/Montez (UCLA) def. #90 Lee/Mimi Nguyen (MICH) 9-7
3. Harrison/McPhillips (UCLA) def. Dodge/Yurovsky (MICH) 8-2
UCLA Wins Doubles Point
1. #3 Robin Anderson (UCLA) def. #30 Emina Bektas (MICH) 6-3, 6-4
2. #20 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #58 Ronit Yurovsky (MICH) 6-1, 6-2
3. Pamela Montez (UCLA) vs. Brooke Bolender (MICH) 7-6(3), unfinished
4. Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) vs. #99 Sarah Lee (MICH) 3-6, 2-3, unfinished
5. #93 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) vs. Amy Zhu (MICH) 7-6(3), 2-1, unfinished
6. Courtney Dolehide (UCLA) def. Kristen Dodge (MICH) 6-1, 6-0
Michigan 23-6; National ranking #10
UCLA 19-5; National ranking #7
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,2,1)