NCAA Tournament Second Round
#27 UCLA Women's Tennis (15-6)
Opponent: #4 Ohio State (29-2)
When: 1:00 PM PDT, Saturday, May 14, 2016
Where: Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center, Columbus, OH
Live Stats: OSU Live Stats
The Bruins made a strong start to their 2016 NCAA Tournament campaign yesterday with a 4-1 win over #43 Notre Dame. Repeating that success today will be a lot harder, though, as UCLA will gets #4 Ohio State (29-2) as its second round opponent. Ohio State destroyed Youngstown 4-0 in its opening round match.
Despite the 4-1 scoreline, UCLA's contest with Notre Dame was tight--aside from the top courts, that is. Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips--the Bruins' top two players--contributed to three of UCLA's four points. Harrison and McPhillips paired up to take blank the Fighting Irish on court 1 in doubles, and then each earned straight sets victories on the top two singles courts.
The Bruins claimed the double point when the duo of Terri Fleming and Alaina Miller best their Notre Dame counterparts 6-4. Kristin Wiley and Mia Magill lost their dual on court 3, 4-6. UCLA earned the fourth point of the contest when Alaina Miller fought back in singles on court 4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
It was not a good day for Wiley and Magill. After losing in doubles, Wiley lost in straight sets on court 5 (2-6, 0-6), and Magill was down a set on court 6 when UCLA clinched its fourth point.
Terri Fleming also struggled in singles. After winning the first set, she dropped the second and was trailing in the third before play was halted.
The Bruins will have to be at their best today to knock off the Buckeyes. Ohio State is playing at home and has a deep squad that features 5 players ranked in the ITA top-125. For the sake of comparison, UCLA has just one player ranked in the top-125.
The Buckeyes are led by Francesca Di Lorenzo, the third-ranked player in the nation. She'll undoubtedly be #17 Catherine Harrison's opponent on court 1. Kyle McPhillips will have her hands full with OSU's Sandy Niehaus, the ITA's 81st-ranked player, Terri Fleming will likely draw #89 Anna Sanford on court 3. and Alaina Miller will probably face #96 Gabriella De Santis on court 4.
Needless to say, a lot of Bruins will have to produce big performances today to pull off an upset. It's a lot to ask of a team in a rebuilding year, but the Bruins are undeniably talented. If UCLA manages to upset the Buckeyes, it will be a massive accomplishment for the players and a memorable victory for the program.
#2 UCLA Men's Tennis (23-2)
Opponent: #28 San Diego (24-7)
When: 1:00 PM PDT, Saturday, May 14, 2016
Where: Sunset Canyon Tennis Courts, Los Angeles, CA
Live Stats: UCLA Live Stats
Unlike the women's team, Coach Martin's squad has everything it needs for a strong title challenge. Talent. Experience. Depth. The Bruins have a good shot at bringing home #114. First, though, the Bruins have to get past the Toreros.
UCLA made quick work of Weber State in their opening round game. The Bruins notched 6-1 victories on the top 2 doubles courts to claim the first point of the match, and then dominated in every singles dual except on court 3.
UCLA's second point came courtesy of Karue Sell. Sell wasted little time in beating Hou-En Chen, 6-4, 6-0. Mackie McDonald then grabbed UCLA's third point with an efficient 6-0, 6-1 win on court 1, and Logan Staggs earned the deciding point when he knocked off Landon Barlow 6-2, 6-2.
When action was halted, Martin Redlicki was up a set on court 2 and Joseph Di Giulio was within a game of finishing off his opponent. Gage Brymer was the only Bruin to lose a set in singles.
#28 San Diego is UCLA's next opponent. The Bruins and Toreros have already played once this season. That match was over three months ago, and the Bruins won handily, 7-0.
The Toreros are a solid team, but they simply don't have the top-end talent to match the Bruins. They have two players ranked in the ITA top-125--#65 Uros Petronijevic and #71 Jordan Angus--but those two will be matched up against #6 Mackie McDonald and #38 Martin Redlicki. And after that, USD will have to find a way past #58 Gage Brymer and #101 Karue Sell. It's going to be an uphill battle for the Toreros.
If the Bruins don't get past the Toreros today, it will be a very disappointing end to an otherwise very successful season. Don't bet on that scenario, though. The Bruins have demonstrated sharpness of focus in the last three months while compiling a 16-game winning streak. Count on that streak reaching 17 games today.