Top-Ranked UCLA Taken Down on Day Two of ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship
Georgia scores sole upset; four seeded teams to vie for championship berth
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (Feb. 7) - Defending NCAA Champion and No. 1 seed UCLA became the second 2014 finalist in as many days to fall, as the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Bruins 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar's Head Sports Club.
(3) North Carolina 4, Miami (FL) 0
Third-seeded North Carolina recorded the only shutout win of the quarterfinals, but it didn't come easy. After splitting the top two doubles matches, the No. 3 Tar Heels faced three match points in a tie-break at third doubles. Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay saved all three and claimed the doubles point against the No. 37 freshmen duo of Sinead Lohan and Wendy Zhang.
"I think that everybody was doing their part in putting pressure on," North Carolina head coach Brian Kalbas said. "You have to do that against Miami because they're very relentless in the way they play and their spirit."
Kate Vialle clinched for the Tar Heels
The middle of the singles lineup was key for the Tar Heels, with juniors Caroline Price (No. 22) and Whitney Kay picking up straight-set wins to give North Carolina a 3-0 lead. Fellow junior Kate Vialle closed the deal for UNC, picking up her second win at No. 6 singles in as many days. All three were members of the 2013 ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship squad.
"No one took a loss," Kalbas said. "When you're moving on, you want to have everybody feeling confident that they're contributing. Today, I think everyone did. That was definitely a team victory. We're excited to get to the semis. Last year we lost in the quarters, so for this group it's a step forward."
(8) Georgia 4, (1) UCLA 2
Georgia stole the early headlines on day two by upsetting the top-ranked UCLA Bruins 4-2. The Bulldogs' fast start began with wins at second doubles (6-3) and third doubles (6-2) to claim the doubles point, the first time in 34-consecutive matches that UCLA failed to win the doubles point. Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace was not surprised his Bulldogs broke the Bruins' streak, which dated back to the 2013 NCAA Team Championships quarterfinals against North Carolina. "We don't lose many doubles points either," Wallace said. The Bulldogs would not concede the lead back to UCLA.
Hannah King clinched Georgia's 4-2 upset of UCLA
Caroline Brinson struck next for Georgia at sixth singles, winning 6-0, 6-2 to hand the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Kaitlin Ray won a point for UCLA with a 7-5, 6-2 victory at fourth singles, but Georgia restored its two-point lead when freshman Ellen Perez won a 6-3 third set on court two. Perez won the match on a sudden-death deuce point. When UCLA's Kyle McPhillips won a straight-setter at third singles to bring the match to 3-2, Georgia was ready to sink its teeth in the victory and held leads on the two remaining courts. Georgia's Lauren Herring took Robin Anderson to a 4-3 third set score on court one, but the match there would be left unfinished when a second freshman got in the win column for the Bulldogs at fifth singles. Hannah King defeated Charlotte Fleming 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the match in Georgia's favor.
"UCLA is a great program, they're defending [NCAA] champs and it's just a great win for this young team," said Wallace. "We've been tested and I think that's helped us. Hannah King coming back after losing a pretty one-sided first set and doing what she did showed a lot. Lauren continues to play great tennis, she's playing unbelievable. Ellen Perez again loses a first set and comes back and gets a win, that's huge too. And then Caroline Brinson down there just cruising the whole way and Kennedy [Shaffer] stayed on the court a long time against one of the best players in the country in team tennis. I'm really proud of all these guys and what they did today."
(5) California 4, TCU 1
California marched through TCU 4-1 in their quarterfinal matchup. The margin of victory had to give the Golden Bears a measure of relief after having to fight back in yesterday's opening round, when they were down 3-0 to Vanderbilt before winning 4-3. The difference today started with doubles when California claimed the point on court two after splitting courts one and three with TCU. "We definitely played better in the doubles today," said California head coach Amanda Augustus. "When you have that doubles point under your belt you always feel a little bit better."
California's Zsofi Susanyi
The feeling was short-lived though as TCU earned the first singles point of the match in straight sets on court two. TCU's Simona Parajova defeated Cal's Klara Fabikova, 6-3, 6-1 there, but the Horned Frogs were done scoring after that. Cal won matches in straight sets on courts one, five and three, with the clincher coming off the racket of Zsofi Susanyi, who won 6-3, 6-4 over Sofiko Kadzhaya. TCU led on court six and was in a third set on court four when the match was clinched.
"TCU's going to have a good season," said Augustus. "They went for it, they went for their shots." After a narrow first-round escape yesterday, California showed up ready to play today. "TCU pushed us but I think we were really ready today. They played a little bit different style in doubles than we're used to seeing, so that allowed us to be really ready for anything when the singles started."
(2) Florida 4, (7) Virginia 1
In front of the biggest crowd of the tournament, second-seeded Florida needed nearly four hours to get the best of host Virginia, 4-1. The Gators came out victorious on all three doubles courts, with tie-breaks at first and third doubles finishing simultaneously. Head coach Roland Thornqvist saw improvement from the night before.
"I was particularly pleased with how we started the match because we did not play well in doubles yesterday, but it was completely different today," he said. "I thought we had great energy and great courage, which ultimately won us the doubles point."
However, it was Virginia who started red hot in the singles matches. The Cavaliers won first sets on five courts and Julia Elbaba, the No. 1 ranked player in the ITA Division I National Women's Singles Rankings, looked poised to complete the first-set sweep. She held a 6-2 lead in the tie-break before Florida's Brooke Austin (No. 6) rattled off six straight points to capture the first set.
Brianna Morgan clinched for the Gators
Trailing 2-1 and 3-1 at second and third singles, respectively, No. 9 Josie Kuhlman and No. 11 Brianna Morgan fired off five games apiece to claim second sets and turned the match around for the Gators. Morgan grabbed a 3-0 lead in third set en route to a 7-5 win, while Kuhlman finished off her opponent and No. 43 Belinda Woolcock won at fourth singles to earn Florida's place in the semifinals.
"In singles, Virginia was on fire early," Thornqvist said. "We didn't play badly, they just crushed us in the beginning. Mark had them fired up after losing the doubles point. We always talk about the Florida way being 'the longer it goes, the stronger we get.' I thought that was exactly what happened today. We were able to turn that initial Virginia momentum on most courts. I thought our players showed tremendous resiliency."
In consolation matchplay, Vanderbilt upset Duke 4-1, Alabama beat Oklahoma State 4-0, USC defeated Kentucky 4-0 and Michigan beat Clemson 4-2.
For complete coverage of the 2015 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship, including access to draws, live scores and more, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, or like the ITA Facebook page for updates and news from Charlottesville. Use the hashtag #ITAIndoors for all tweets about the event, and search the term "ITAIndoors" to find others who are tweeting about the event.
About the ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship
The ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championships is held annually each February and has been held since 1988. The tournament features 16 participating teams: the 15 schools who won both of their matches during the 2015 ITA Kick-Off Weekend and the host school. The tournament is held over four days, and begins on Friday with first round play, followed by quarterfinals on Saturday, semifinals on Sunday and the final on Monday. This year's championship will be hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Virginia from February 6-9. The defending women's champion is Duke University.
About the Boar's Head Sports Club
The 2015 ITA Women's National Team Indoor Championship will be held at the sports facility of The Boar's Head, recognized as a top 50 tennis resort in the United Stated by Tennis Magazine. The Boar's Head was also named the 2008 Private Facility of the Year by Racquet Sports Industry Magazine, while also receiving recognition from TennisResorts.com as one of the top 75 tennis resorts in the world. The facility contains a total of 26 courts: 10 Har-Tru outdoor courts, four outdoor hard courts, and 12 state-of-the-art DecoTurf indoor courts.