Stanford, Calif. – Sixth-seeded UCLA notched a 4-1 victory against 11th-seeded Virginia in the third round at the NCAA Championships on Friday at Stanford’s Taube South Courts. With the win, the Bruins (21-5) move on to the quarterfinals and will face third-seeded Duke on Sunday. The Blue Devils (25-4) edged out Georgia Tech, 4-3 on Friday.
“Virginia really pushed us,” said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster. “I’m really pleased with the way our team came out in the doubles. But I have to give credit to Virginia. They really made us work. We knew it was going to be hard and they fought very hard.”
The Bruins had perhaps their best doubles performance of the season on Friday, dominating play at all three positions. UCLA was especially strong at court No. 3, where Maya Johansson and Pamela Montez beat Maria Fuccillo and Caryssa Peretz 8-1. The Bruins followed that up with a point-clinching 8-2 victory by Noelle Hickey and McCall Jones at court No. 2 versus Emily Fraser and Hana Tomljanovic. UCLA’s Courtney Dolehide and Andrea Remynse were leading Lindsey Hardenbergh and Erin Vierra 7-5 at No. 1 when play was suspended.
“I think we have a very good doubles team, but we learned something today that I think will help us out in the future,” said Virginia head coach Mark Guilbeau. “I thought positionally they played extremely well. That was the closest to the net that I have ever seen teams play. That is fundamentally a big part of playing great doubles and I think that is something we are going to learn to do much better.”
With the doubles point in hand, things looked good for UCLA in singles as the Bruins registered first-set wins on four of six courts. Johansson gave the team a 2-0 lead when she downed Fuccillo 6-2, 6-3 at court No. 6.
Although Virginia cut the lead to 2-1 when Fraser upset Hickey 6-4, 6-3 at court No. 2, the Bruins were still in control on the four remaining courts. Dolehide, who split the first two sets with Peretz at court No. 5, was tremendous in the third and final set, cruising to a 6-0 win to give UCLA a 3-1 lead.
At the time of Dolehide’s victory, Montez was down 0-2 in the third set at court No. 4, and Remynse was up a set and trailing 4-5 in the second at court No. 3.
UCLA’s best chance to clinch came at the No. 1 spot, where Jones was in a second-set tiebreaker with 27th-ranked Hardenbergh. Already with a one-set lead, Jones played a tremendous tiebreaker, losing just one point to eventually win the match, 6-4, 7-6(1) to send UCLA into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008.
“McCall has been battling and she has been our No. 1 player and it’s great to see her get that win because it is a tough position to play,” added Sampras Webster on Jones. “Lindsey Hardenbergh has had a great season so for her to beat Lindsey, she had to play well and she did.”
UCLA is looking to avenge a 4-2 loss to Duke in the third round last season in Athens, Ga.