May 17, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -
Top-ranked UCLA deflected an early challenge by Rice and then rode a consistent effort throughout its talented lineup to down the Owls 4-0, ending Rice's magical run through the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship on Thursday in Athens, Georgia.
Facing a lineup heavy with nationally ranked opponents, the Owls were decided underdog in their first appearance in the Sweet 16. UCLA's top two doubles teams are both ranked in the top 10, but in the early going, the Owls battled the Bruins evenly.
The Owls early surge on Courts 2 and 3 was thwarted, but on Court 1, where Natalie Beazant and Domnique Harmath found themselves quickly down 4-0 to the Bruins' sixth-ranked pair of Robin Anderson/Skylar Morton, the Owls 26th ranked tandem staged a rally of their own, storming back to take a 7-6 lead. UCLA clichéd the doubles point with a win at No. 2 and 3, leaving the match on Court 1 unfinished with UCLA up 8-7.
UCLA made sure that an early challenge would not be mounted in singles, storming to first set wins on all six courts, including wins of 6-0 on both Courts 1 and 2. They wrapped up the day's action with a win at No. 6 and then closed out the matches on the first two courts to end Rice's season at 18-9.