Urbana, Ill. - After suffering a heartbreaking, 4-3 loss to North Carolina in the final of the ITA National Team Indoors earlier this year, the seventh-seeded UCLA women's tennis team exacted some revenge on the No. 2 Tar Heels on Sunday afternoon, registering a 4-1 upset in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships at the University of Illinois' Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. With the victory, UCLA (20-5) earns a spot in Monday's semifinals and will take on No. 3 Texas A&M (25-3) at 5:00 p.m. (CST). The Aggies beat Miami, 4-0 in their quarterfinal on Sunday.
The Bruins lost the doubles point for the first time in its four NCAA Tournament matches on Sunday, as the Tar Heels took a 1-0 lead following a pair of wins at court Nos. 1 and 3. Although it didn't matter in the end, UCLA had a strong showing at No. 2 doubles, where 38th-ranked Courtney Dolehide
and Pamela Montez were 8-1 winners over Ashley Dai and Lauren McHale.
UCLA, which had won the doubles point against the Tar Heels in the earlier meeting this year, suddenly found itself needing to win four singles matches for any chance at moving on in the tournament. Fortunately, the Bruins' top three singles players of Robin Anderson, Kyle McPhillips and Montez were all able to win in straight sets to give UCLA a 3-1 lead.
McPhillips, who is ranked 20th in the country in singles, was the first to finish her match at court No. 2, dispatching of 49th-ranked Zoe De Bruycker, 6-4, 6-1. Next off was the third-ranked Anderson at court No. 2, as she beat seventh-ranked Gina Suarez-Malaguti, 7-5, 6-1. Montez, who is unranked in singles, pulled off the upset at court No. 3, where she downed 39th-ranked Whitney Kay, 6-4, 6-4. It was a sweet win for Montez, who lost to Kay in a third-set tiebreaker in the deciding match in the finals of the National Team Indoors.
Following the win by Montez, UCLA
looked like it was going to close things out, as both Dolehide and Chanelle Van Nguyen were within a few games of winning their matches at court Nos. 6 and 4, respectively. The Tar Heels bounced back, forcing third sets on both courts.
UCLA, however, began to take control at court No. 5, where 93rd-ranked Catherine Harrison was beginning to pull away from McHale. Harrison, who lost the first set, stormed back to take a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 win to put the Bruins in the semifinals for the third year in a row.
""It was very humid out here today," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. "All day and all week we've been on them about hydrating. We don't want to put ourselves in a situation where the players are going to cramp up. That's the only thing I was concerned about. We wanted them to be able to finish these matches. I wanted us to finish them in two sets, but we just fought hard. We did a good job preparing for today, and we were able to finish it."
The UCLA men's tennis team is also in the semifinals and will take on No. 5 Ohio State on Monday at 1:00 p.m. (CST). UCLA is the only school with two teams still alive in the tournament.
Notes: UCLA improved to 20-5 on Sunday, marking the team's fourth-straight 20-win season ... The Bruins are in the semifinals for the third year in a row, following a runner-up finish in 2012 and a third-place showing in 2011 ... UCLA is 1-0 all-time against Texas A&M
... The Aggies are making their first-ever trip to the NCAA Semifinals ... With her singles win on Sunday, Kyle McPhillips extended her winning streak to 12 ... She has not lost since a three-set loss to Cal's Klara Fabikova on March 30.
#7 UCLA 4, #2 North Carolina 1
May 19, 2013 at Urbana, IL (Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex)
1. #58 Kay/Price (UNC) def. #25 Anderson/Skylar Morton (UCLA) 8-4
2. #38 Dolehide/Montez (UCLA) def. Ashley Dai/McHale (UNC) 8-1
3. Lyons/Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. Harrison/McPhillips (UCLA) 8-1
North Carolina Wins Doubles Point
1. #3 Robin Anderson (UCLA) def. #7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) 7-5, 6-1
2. #20 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #49 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC) 6-4, 6-1
3. Pamela Montez (UCLA) def. #39 Whitney Kay (UNC) 6-4, 6-4
4. #46 Caroline Price (UNC) vs. Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) 5-7, 7-5, 2-3, unfinished
5. #93 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) def. Lauren McHale (UNC) 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
6. Tessa Lyons (UNC) vs. Courtney Dolehide (UCLA) 4-6, 6-4, 2-3, unfinished
UCLA 20-5; National ranking #7
North Carolina 28-4; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,1,3,5)