UCLA was edged out by Duke, 4-3 in the championship of the ITA National Indoor Tourney, for the Bruins first loss of the 2014 season.
The #2 doubles team of Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips got the Bruins off on the right foot with a 6-1 win. When the #1 doubles team of Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady followed suit with a 6-2 win, the Bruins had what turned out to be the crucial doubles point. The #3 doubles team of Courtney Dolehide and Chanelle Van Nguyen was tied 4-4 when the match was abandoned.
Kaitlin Ray won at #6 singles, 6-1, 6-1, and the Bruins were off to a 2-0 lead.
Catherine Harrison won at #5 singles, 6-3, 6-4, and the Bruins were ahead 3-0, only needing one more win for the championship.
But Duke stormed back. Alyssa Smith won at #4 singles in an upset (at least according to the ITA singles rankings), winning the tiebreaker 10-8 over Kyle McPhillips, after McPhillips had won the first set 6-3, and dropped the second set 6-1.
Duke's next point was at #2 singles in another upset (again, per the rankings). Ester Goldfeld won in straight sets over UCLA's Chanelle Van Nguyen 6-4, 7-5.
Duke tied the match with a win at #1 singles, as 3rd ranked Beatrice Capra beat UCLA's Robin Anderson (ranked #1 in the ITA singles rankings). Anderson won the 1st set 6-1, dropped the 2nd 6-3, and lost the 10 point tiebreaker 10-7.
This put the match on the shoulders of Jennifer Brady (ranked 24) for UCLA, and Hanna Mar (ranked 49) for Duke. Brady had won the 1st set 6-3, and served for the match and the championship up 5-4 in the 2nd. But Mar broke, and won the 2nd set 7-6, winning the 2nd set tiebreaker 7-3. It was apparently all downhill from there, as Brady lost the 10 point tiebreaker 10-3, reportedly on missed shots (as opposed to Mar winners).
Not exactly the result we were hoping for. It is never fair to pin a 4-3 loss on the person who lost the last point. There were 3 other players who would have made the last point irrelevant with a win. This was not a moral victory.
Hopefully, however, this will be a good learning experience for the next time the chips are down.
By the way, the official UCLA website, true to form, still shows the latest news as "Women's Tennis vs. Duke, 8:00 AM".