Courtesy of the ITA: CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (Feb. 10) – The top seeded Bruins of UCLA and the sixth seeded Tar Heels of North Carolina will be playing for the 2013 ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship, hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, VA. UCLA will be eyeing their second consecutive ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship title while North Carolina will be making their second finals appearance in two years. Tomorrow’s championship match will start at 11:00 a.m. EST.
In today’s first semifinal match, top seeded UCLA took on fourth seeded Georgia. “I knew that today’s match was going to be tough” said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. “Georgia was really impressive against Cal so I knew it was going to be a really tough match.”
The Bulldogs got off to a fast start in the doubles matches, getting a big win from Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia as they defeated No. 16 Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton at first doubles, 8-4. UCLA would get a boost from Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez as the duo picked up an 8-5 win at second doubles. Then, all eyes turned to third doubles, where a tiebreak was needed to decide the outcome.
In the breaker, UCLA jumped out to a 6-3 lead but it faded almost as fast as it came as Georgia won three straight points to tie it at 6-6. However, UCLA’s Kyle McPhillips and Catherine Harrison would get the mini-break on the next point and would win the following point to give UCLA an early 1-0 lead. “We had two freshmen out there playing for the doubles point” said Sampras Webster. “They did a great job dealing with the pressure and all the noise and emotions so I was really impressed by the way they handled everything.”
UCLA went up 3-0 behind a pair of straight set victories from Harrison and Dolehide at fifth and sixth singles respectively. “Catherine and Courtney did a great job of winning the first sets; it was huge and to be able to dominate the second was even more impressive” stated Sampras Webster.
Georgia’s Silvia Garcia made it 3-1 with a 6-1, 6-4 win at the fourth position but shortly following her match, UCLA’s Pamela Montez clinched the victory for the Bruins with a 6-4, 6-3 win at third singles. “Georgia is very feisty and they have a lot of energy so I’m really pleased with the way our team was really mature about it, matching their energy and were able to quickly set the tone” said Sampras Webster. “I’m really pleased with them and just overall the way our team played in singles was really strong. We performed at a high level.”
Facing the Bruins in tomorrow’s championship match will be sixth seeded North Carolina, who, reached the finals by defeating a familiar ACC rival in second seeded Blue Devils of Duke. A day after conceding the doubles point to USC, the Tar Heels came out today firing on all cylinders as they dominated the doubles action. “Obviously there was a big difference in the doubles today, just executing and having amazing energy” said North Carolina head coach Brian Kalbas.
Tessa Lyons and Lauren McHale won at third doubles 8-2 and Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Zoe De Bruycker followed suit with an 8-3 victory at second doubles to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 edge entering the singles matches. “The difference between yesterday was night and day so I was just real excited to get that first point on the board” said Kalbas. “Obviously winning the doubles point makes everything a lot easier. Winning the doubles point is a factor and today I think it was a huge momentum boost for us.”
Carolina looked sharp early in the singles matches, winning the first sets at first through fourth singles, eventually picking up a quick win at the fourth spot from McHale to go up 2-0. “We started off strong in singles, putting four first sets on the board and Lauren clinching her match early-on gave us some momentum” stated Kalbas.
Duke would not go away easy as they fought back to make things interesting in the second sets of several matches. “I knew Duke was going to make a run” said Kalbas. “They are very good and very talented, so I’m just real proud of our team to get off to a good start and sustain that momentum.”
Last night’s hero, Whitney Kay, put North Carolina ahead 3-0 with a 6-4, 7-5 win at third singles against Duke’s Ester Goldfeld. The Tar Heels did not have much time to reflect on Kay’s win as De Bruycker clinched the Carolina victory shortly after with a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win at second singles.
Also on Sunday, consolation play wrapped up for the other 12 teams participating in the event. First time ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship participants, Nebraska and Alabama, finished with a 2-1 record over the weekend. Today, Nebraska took down Baylor 4-1while Alabama won another dramatic 4-3 match, this time against Texas.
After dropping their first round matches, the Wolverines of Michigan and the Aggies of Texas A&M both ended the tournament in good form, winning the final two matches of the tournament. Michigan picked a win today by taking down Vanderbilt 4-2 while Texas A&M beat host Virginia, 4-1. Northwestern and USC also ended on a high note, winning their final matches of the tournament. The Wildcats beat Miami 4-2 and the Trojans defeated Pac-12 foe Cal, 4-1.
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