The Bulldogs end the season with a 24-7 record after reaching the NCAA semifinals for the first time since 2009. UCLA (23-4) will face Vanderbilt in the final on Tuesday.
“UCLA has a great team and played a great match but I am really proud of our team,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “I’m proud of the run we’ve had and the year we’ve had. We’ve got a group of young ladies that are super close-knit and came here with high goals and expectations. We’ve worked hard all year to get to this point. It was a tough match out there today. I felt like we had some opportunities but UCLA played well in key situations. You’ve got to take your hat off to them.”
Georgia won the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead, but UCLA won four straight singles matches to advance to the team final for the third time in four years.
No. 85 Caroline Brinson and Hannah King were first to finish in doubles with an 8-2 win over Kristin Wiley and Chanelle Van Nguyen at No. 3. With Georgia two points away from clinching the doubles point at No. 1, play was halted due to a lightning delay. When the action was halted, the Bulldogs led 5-1 in the tiebreaker, while the 43rd-ranked tandem of Kennedy Shaffer and Silvia Garcia were receiving with a 7-6 lead at No. 2.
Play resumed approximately an hour and 10 minutes later, and it took just two points for the 11th-ranked pair of Lauren Herring and Ellen Perez to give Georgia the early 1-0 lead with their 8-7(1) victory over the ninth-ranked team of Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady. The Bulldog duo notched their third win in four days against a top-15 team.
UCLA responded in singles by winning four out of six first sets, including at No. 3 where the Bruins’ Jennifer Brady (47) tied the score with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Silvia Garcia (94). Shortly thereafter, UCLA took the lead as Catherine Harrison (33) topped Shaffer 6-1, 6-3.
The Bruins extended their lead to 3-1 when Van Nguyen (21) topped Perez (63), 6-3, 6-3, then the clincher came at No. 6 where Kaitlin Ray (109) beat Brinson (104), 7-6(3), 6-2.
Matches at Nos. 1 and 5 were in the third sets when UCLA clinched the win.
Herring, Shaffer and Perez will go on to compete in the individual portion of the NCAA Championships beginning Wednesday. The NCAA singles and doubles draws will be announced on Tuesday.
#6 UCLA (23-4) def. #7 GEORGIA (24-7), 4-1 – Hurd Tennis Center (Riverside Courts) – 5:30 p.m.
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,1)
- #11 Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (GEORGIA) def. #9 Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady (UCLA), 8-7(1) 2. #43 Kennedy Shaffer/Silvia Garcia (GEORGIA) vs. #3 Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips (UCLA), 7-6, unf.
- #85 Caroline Brinson/Hannah King (GEORGIA) def. Kristin Wiley/Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA), 8-2
Singles (Order of finish: 3,4,2,6)
- #5 Lauren Herring (GEORGIA) vs. #1 Robin Anderson (UCLA), 6-3, 3-6, unf.
- #21 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) def. #63 Ellen Perez (GEORGIA), 6-3, 6-3 3. #47 Jennifer Brady (UCLA) def. #94 Silvia Garcia (GEORGIA), 6-3, 6-0 4. #33 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) def. #59 Kennedy Shaffer (GEORGIA), 6-1, 6-3 5. #88 Hannah King (GEORGIA) vs. #35 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA), 6-3, 4-6, 1-0, unf.
- #109 Kaitlin Ray (UCLA) def. #104 Caroline Brinson (GEORGIA), 7-6(3), 6-2