It's a rite of passage for UCLA student-athletes - as the academic year comes near its end, the young men and women representing the Blue and Gold on the fields of friendly strife, will begin their challenge to bring home yet another NCAA national championship banner to Westwood. Yesterday, our nationally #5-seeded women's tennis team took another step toward that goal by sweeping #12-seeded Miami aside, 4-0. The Bruins opened the match by taking the doubles point (5-8, 8-3, 8-4) before running off three straight singles points through Catherine Harrison (6-2, 6-3), Jennifer Brady (6-4, 6-2), and Chanelle Van Nguyen (6-1, 6-3). With that win, the Lady Bruins will take tomorrow off before taking on #4-seeded Duke in the Elite Eight on Saturday.
Turning to today, two more squads, the nationally #5-seeded men's tennis team and the nationally #3-seeded softball team, begin their NCAA tournament action today. Beginning with men's tennis team, the Bruins advanced through NCAA Regional action with ease, dropping both Cal Poly (4-0) and San Diego (4-0) without conceding a single point. With their appearance in the NCAA tournament in Athens, it marks the 38th consecutive year the Bruins have made it to the Big Dance, with the squad looking to end their long trophy drought stretching back to 2005.
Tonight, they'll get to action against upset-minded unseeded Tennessee at 4 p.m. PST at the McWhorter Courts at the University of Georgia in Athens. For more information on the Bruins in the NCAA tournament, you can check out the official website's preview here. Since the tourney is on the far side of the country, for the majority of us unable to make it to the tourney live,fortunately the NCAA will live stream video online, available here. For all information pertaining to the NCAA tennis tournaments, including complete schedules and brackets, you can check out the NCAA's official site through the University of Georgia's athletic department.
Turning to the #3-seeded softball team, the Lady Bruins will host NCAA Regional action at Easton Stadium this weekend, with UCLA's first game getting underway this evening at 6 p.m. PST against Southern Utah. The Lady Bruins will rely heavily on the big arm (29-4, 1.74 ERA, 197.1 IP, 210 K) and big bat (.391 BA, 53 R, 13 HR, 54 RBI) of player-of-the-year contender Ally Carda.
First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. PST and if you're unable to make it to Easton Stadium, you can check out the game live on ESPN3.com. Or, if watching the stream isn't your style, you can listen into a live audio broadcast of the game at the official website.
Alright folks, we have some NCAA tournament action to keep an eye on. This is your NCAA non-revenue tournament open thread, so fire away in the comment thread with who you think is most likely to bring home NCAA national championship #111 to Westwood, what you're seeing as you watch/track the games, and any other bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse as we cheer on our UCLA squads who are marching toward another Blue and Gold NCAA national championship.