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Friday, February 7, 2014

USC, UCLA Win Close Openers to Advance to Quarterfinal Meeting at ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Charlottesville, VA--

One of Saturday's quarterfinals will feature ACC rivals North Carolina and Duke, another will find the Pac-12's UCLA and Southern California renew their rivalry after the Bruins and Women of Troy came through with close victories Friday afternoon.

UCLA, the No. 4 seed and 2012 champion, defeated Texas 4-2, while No. 5 seed USC recovered from a horrible start to survive Alabama 4-3.

UCLA appeared to be cruising, taking the doubles point with wins at 1 and 2, with 3 going unfinished.  Robin Anderson made short work of Breaunna Addison, giving UCLA a 2-0 lead with her 6-3, 6-1 victory, and the Bruins had won first sets on courts 2, 3, 5 and 6 as well.  It turned out that their third point was a long time coming however, as it was the only UCLA player who didn't win her first set, Kyle McPhillips at line 4, who gave the Bruins their third point, beating Neda Koprcina 2-6, 6-3, 10-5. Both Lina Padegimaite at line 6 and Liz Begley at line 3 fought their way into the match tiebreakers for Texas, with Padegmaite putting the Longhorns on the board with a 2-6, 6-3, 10-6 decision over Kaitlyn Ray and Begley making it 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-2, 10-7 win over Jennifer Brady. 

While Begley was out-steadying an error-prone Brady on court 5,  UCLA's Catherine Harrison was trying to clinch the match serving to Pippa Horn at 5-3 in the second set.  With two match points at 40-15, Harrison moved forward on each of them, attempting putaway volleys, but both went long.  Three more match points came and went, one on a double fault, but Harrison also saved two break points, both with winners--one an overhead and another a perfectly executed drop shot that Horn could not get before it bounced twice.  Harrison blasted a backhand winner to get match point No. 6, and she finally converted, with Horn's backhand going wide and long. 

Southern California has the reigning NCAA doubles champions, Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian, and two other doubles teams ranked in the Top 10, but Alabama had no trouble taking the first point, with Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen defeating Christian and Santamaria 6-3, after Emily Zabor and Luicelena Perez had cruised past Brynn Boren and Zoe Katz 6-2.

"We clearly were terrible in doubles," said USC head coach Richard Gallien, "and got off to an awful start in singles. Give them credit for that, and give us credit for not getting excited and panicking, for hanging in there."

Alabama won four first sets, leaving USC with a long uphill climb, but Brynn Boren provided a boost when she got USC on the board with a tough 1-6, 6-2, 10-8 win over Danielle Spielmann at line 2.  Emily Zabor made it 2-1 Alabama with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Gabriella DeSimone at line 5, and Mary Anne Daines made it 3-1 Alabama with a 6-4, 4-6, 10-5 decision over Santamaria at line 1.  At No. 3, Zoe Scandalis closed the gap for USC with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Maya Jansen, and then Guiliana Olmos won the second set to force a match tiebreaker with Erin Routliffe at No. 4.  Routliffe was just a few points from delivering the Alabama victory leading 8-7 in the tiebreaker, but Olmos took advantage of an untimely double fault, winning the last three points in a 6-7(6), 6-3, 10-8 victory.

That meant the match would decided at No. 6, with Ellie Yates leading Natalia Maynetto 6-3, 5-3.  Maynetto saved one match point serving at 3-5, forcing Maynetto to serve it out.  Neither player was interested in first strike tennis, with many of their rallies lasting at least 30 strokes, with the majority of them high looping moon balls.  Maynetto missed late in the rallies in the last game, giving Yates a 40-15 lead.  The first match point, which was 48 strokes, ended with Yates missing, but the second, a mere 26 strokes, went in her favor, when Maynetto approached the net to finish and missed the volley.

"No one missed," said Gallien. "One of them was going to get panicky and do something out of character. Fortunately for Ellie, she outlasted her, did a great job. That was Ellie's first big moment."

Yates was a called on to play for USC, when Christian, who was No. 6 in the submitted lineup, was pulled prior to the match.

"It was a tough one," Gallien said of the decision to move Yates into the No. 6 spot. "Kaitlyn, bless her heart, hasn't been playing so great. Ellie hasn't been given a big moment and we thought, she's been doing great, we'll just give her a chance."
UCLA 4, Texas 2
Feb 07, 2014 at Charlottesville, VA (Boar's Head Sports Club)

1. #1 Robin Anderson (UCLA) def. #22 Breaunna Addison (TEX) 6-3, 6-1
2. #9 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) vs. #77 Ratnika Batra (TEX) 7-5, 4-3, unfinished
3. Elizabeth Begley (TEX) def. #24 Jennifer Brady (UCLA) 4-6, 6-2, 10-7
4. #36 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. Neda Koprcina (TEX) 2-6, 6-3, 10-5
5. Catherine Harrison (UCLA) def. Pippa Horn (TEX) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
6. Lina Padegimaite (TEX) def. Kaitlin Ray (UCLA) 2-6, 6-3, 10-6

1. #1 Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady (UCLA) def. #21 Pippa Horn/Breaunna Addison (TEX) 6-4
2. #13 Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. Neda Koprcina/Elizabeth Begley (TEX) 6-3
3. Chanelle Van Nguyen/Courtney Dolehide (UCLA) vs. Ratnika Batra/Lina Padegimaite (TEX) 5-5, unfinished

Match Notes
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (1,4,6,3,5)

USC 4, Alabama 3
Feb 07, 2014 at Charlottesville, VA (Boar's Head Sports Club)

1. Mary Anne Daines (UA) def. Sabrina Santamaria (USC) 6-4, 4-6, 10-5
2. #96 Brynn Boren (USC) def. Danielle Spielmann (UA) 1-6, 6-2, 10-8
3. Zoe Scandalis (USC) def. Maya Jansen (UA) 6-4, 6-3
4. #60 Giuliana Olmos (USC) def. #68 Erin Routliffe (UA) 6-7 (8-6), 6-3, 10-8
5. #69 Emily Zabor (UA) def. #80 Gabriella DeSimone (USC) 6-2, 6-1
6. Ellie Yates (USC) def. Natalia Maynetto (UA) 6-3, 6-4

1. Erin Routliffe/Maya Jansen (UA) def. #33 Kaitlyn Christian/Sabrina Santamaria (USC) 6-3
2. #7 Giuliana Olmos/Zoe Scandalis (USC) vs. Mary Anne Daines/Danielle Spielmann (UA) 5-6, unfinished
3. Emily Zabor/Luicelena Perez (UA) def. #3 Brynn Boren/Zoe Katz (USC) 6-2

Match Notes
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (2,5,1,3,4,6)