Bruins Reach Semifinals at NCAA Championships
May 22, 2005
College Station, TX - The seventh-seeded UCLA men's tennis team (25-3) reached the final four of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships Sunday, knocking off second-seeded Virginia, 4-1 in a quarterfinal match at Texas A&M's George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. Next up for the Bruins will be a meeting with third-seeded Mississippi (25-3) on Monday at 3:00 p.m. (CST). The Rebels advanced following a 4-2 victory over sixth-seeded Georgia.
Similar to its meeting with Virginia (27-3) at the National Team Indoors in February, UCLA took a 1-0 lead into singles play after winning a hard-fought battle for the doubles point. First to finish was court No. 3, where seniors Chris Lam and Luben Pampoulov improved their record to 11-0 on the year with an 8-1 victory over Darrin Cohen and Doug Stewart. Virginia battled back however, taking an 8-6 win at court No. 2. That put the pressure on the Bruins' No. 1 team of Alberto Francis and Kris Kwinta to secure the point. The duo responded, posting a 9-7 win, giving UCLA the momentum heading into singles action.
Once singles began, play was tight at every court except the No. 1 position, where Pampoulov was cruising against Stewart, who is ranked No. 12 in the country. The Bruin senior, who is ranked seventh, turned in one of his best performances of the season, registering a 6-1, 6-2 victory. The Bruins then took a 3-0 lead in the match when Francis defeated Marko Miklo, 6-3, 6-4 at court No. 6.
Virginia managed to win the next match when Treat Huey posted a 7-5, 1-6, 6-1 decision over Lam at court No. 4. At that point, Philipp Gruendler (court No. 6), Benjamin Kohlloeffel (court No. 2) and Kwinta (court No. 3) were all in third sets. Kohlloeffel ended up clinching the match for the Bruins, rallying from a set down to come back and beat Somdev Devvarman, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
'It was a great college tennis match,' said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. 'UCLA is a great team. Billy (Martin) does a great job with the program. The doubles point got away from us. But there are no excuses, UCLA just beat us.'
UCLA lost to Virginia, 4-2 at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors earlier in the year, however Pampoulov did not play singles in that match. The last time UCLA played Mississippi was at the National Team Indoors in 2004. The Bruins won that match 4-3 and lead the all-time series 2-1.
UCLA is the only team other than top-seeded Baylor to defeat Virginia this season.