Survive and advance. For the softball team and the women's tennis team, so far, they've managed to do just that, with both teams taking another step toward bringing another national championship home to Westwood.
Yesterday, the #5-seeded women's tennis team took a huge step forward, dropping #4-seeded Duke, 4-2, avenging February's 4-3 loss to the Blue Devils in the ITA Indoor Champioinship final. UCLA opened up by (once again) grabbing the doubles point (8-3, 8-5) to take an early advantage, but the Blue Devils would respond by taking the first two singles points to put UCLA down 2-1. But three straight singles wins by Chanelle Van Nguyen (6-4, 7-5), Robin Anderson (7-6, 6-3), and Catherine Harrison (5-7, 6-1, 6-3) got the Bruins the points to advance to the national semifinal, where they will take on #8-seeded Florida on Monday at 10 a.m. PST at the University of Georgia. Don't worry UCLA fans, Ben Howland won't be there to squander a golden opportunity to beat the Gators.
As for their male counterparts, on Friday, the #6-seeded men's tennis team made short work of unseeded Tennessee in the Sweet Sixteen, winning 4-0. After opening the match by taking the doubles point (8-4, 8-7) before running off three straight singles victories through Gage Brymer (6-2, 6-2), Adrien Puget (6-4, 6-2), and Marcos Giron (6-3, 6-3). Today, weather permitting, they'll square off against #3-seeded Ohio State in the Elite Eight round at 1 p.m. PST in Athens, Georgia. 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.
For the #3-seeded softball team, the Lady Bruins are just one win away from advancing out of their hosted-regional bracket and to the super regional where they'd face either #14-seeded Kentucky or DePaul. First, they'll need to drop Notre Dame for the second time, after beating the Fighting Irish down yesterday in 7-0 victory for UCLA. The win, which marks UCLA's 50th on the year was a dominating effort on both sides of the ball, with Pac-12 Player of the Year Ally Carda (5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, 0 BB, 3 H) and Jessica Hall (2.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 0 H) shutting Notre Dame down at the plate. On the offensive side, the big bats came from LF Gabrielle Maurice (1-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR) and Hall (1-2, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 HR) who launched a huge grand slam in the bottom of the third. The Lady Bruins will take on the Irish today at noon PST at Easton Stadium, and if necessary (due to a UCLA loss in the first game of this double elimination tourney), again at 3 p.m. PST, also at Easton Stadium. 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 hopefully will continue marching toward a NCAA national championship.