Sunday, 24 April 2016 12:02

Bruins Poke The Bears to Win the Pac-12 Tournament

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In the late match on Saturday night it was No. 2 UCLA gutting out a 4-1 win over No. 16 Cal to win the Pac-12 Championship. The Bruins played a sharp doubles point and picked up a 6-1 win from Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki at No. 1 and a 6-3 win from Austin Rapp and Max Cressy at No. 3.



Cal regained the momentum in singles and took four opening sets but closing them out in straight sets would prove to be a challenging task.

UCLA's Martin Redlicki was off the court rather quickly with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Andre Goransson at No. 2. The UCLA sophomore broke a 2-2 tie in the first set and won seven straight game to take the opening set and then went up 3-0 in the second. Goransson pulled to within 4-3 but Redlicki won the final two to close it out.


Despite Cal falling behind 2-0 they still had to feel good about their chances because in a five or so minute window they'd be serving for the match or have big leads on four of the remaining five courts.

Cal's J.T. Nishimura was the first Bear to have an opportunity to close out his match when he led Joseph Di Giulio 6-3, 6-6 (4-0). Di Giulio really stayed the course and his forehand and serve won him the next five points to put him ahead 5-4. Nishimura broke the streak and evened it at 5-5 after a two-handed forehand winner but a forehand error on the next point would give Di Giulio a set point with him serving at 6-5. Di Giulio would put a forehand into the net after a lengthy rally to make it 6-6 but he'd managed to win the next two points to take the tiebreak 8-6 and send the match to a third set.

Cal's Oskar Wikberg was serving for the match on the next court over with a 6-4, 5-4 lead on Logan Staggs at No. 5 singles. Wikberg fell behind 30-40 and would get broke by Staggs to make it 5-5. The set went to a tiebreak and Staggs won the tiebreak 7-0 to send it to a third set.

At the exact same time Cal's Billy Griffith was serving for the match at No. 3 with a 6-4, 5-4 lead on Gage Brymer. Griffith went up 30-15 but Brymer took the next three points to break for 5-5. Brymer would double fault the break back to Griffith but for a second time Griffith would be unable to serve it out and the set would go to a tiebreak. Brymer went up 5-4 in the tiebreak and then he won both points on Griffith's serve to close out the set 7-6(4).

At the exact same time Cal's Filip Bergevi had match points on Karue Sell's serve deep in the third set at No. 4. Sell fought off the first break/match point to bring up the deciding point but he'd send a forehand well long to give Bergevi a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.

Cal was on the board but the missed opportunities by Griffith, Wikberg, and Nishimura would come back to haunt them in the next 15 minutes.

Gage Brymer, Logan Staggs, and Joseph Di Giulio would each go up early breaks in the third set on their respective courts as would Mackenzie McDonald over at No. 1.

McDonald would one too many errors and dropped the first set to Florian Lakat 7-5 but he'd come back in the second and take it 6-4. McDonald went up 5-3 and he'd have a match point on Lakat's serve but Florian would fight it off with a service winner to hold for 4-5.

McDonald was serving for the match up 5-4 at No. 1, Brymer was receiving up 3-0 in the third at No. 3, Staggs was serving up 4-2 in the third at No. 5, and Di Giulio was receiving up 5-3 in the third at No. 6.

Both McDonald and Di Giulio would have match points at the same time and within a 10-second window they'd both win to give the Bruins the 4-1 win over Cal.


 


#2 UCLA 4, #16 California 1
Apr 23, 2016 at Ojai, Calif. (Libbey Park) 
Doubles competition
1. #5 McDonald/Redlicki (UCLA) def. #11 Lakat/Bergevi (CAL) 6-1
2. Sell/Di Giulio (UCLA) vs. Goransson/Wikberg (CAL) 4-5, unfinished
3. Rapp/Cressy (UCLA) def. Engsted/Nishimura (CAL) 6-3
Singles competition
1. #10 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) def. #27 Florian Lakat (CAL) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
2. #42 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. #28 Andre Goransson (CAL) 6-2, 6-3
3. #55 Gage Brymer (UCLA) vs. #82 Billy Griffith (CAL) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 3-0, unfinished
4. Filip Bergevi (CAL) def. #92 Karue Sell (UCLA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
5. Logan Staggs (UCLA) vs. #122 Oskar Wikberg (CAL) 4-6, 7-6 (7-0), 4-2, unfinished
6. Joseph Di Giulio (UCLA) def. J.T. Nishimura (CAL) 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3
Match Notes
California 17-6; National ranking #16
UCLA 22-2; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,4,6,1)
Pac-12 Championship Final


Post-Match Quotes from UCLA's recap
"This win is significant because I didn't expect this team to be as dominant as they have proved themselves to be so far, said UCLA head coach Billy Martin of the hard-fought win.  "These guys have really worked hard and we've had some great chemistry.  Today was just typical for our teamwe weren't going to be denied.  It looked bad for us for a while, but we found a way to come back.

"Our doubles play was so important today, said Martin of winning the point.  "It's hard enough to win three singles, much less four against a really good team like Cal.  The doubles point was really big.  Mackie and Marty really came out today and stepped up to win at No. 1.  Winning doubles gave us some good momentum.

"After yesterday, we knew we had to bring something special in order to win the tournament title, said McDonald of the Bruins' improved performance in doubles play.  "We brought a lot of intensity, and Marty and I stepped up like we needed to in order to get the win. 

"I started off really far back and I had a lot of unforced errors, said McDonald of struggling to find his rhythm early in the first set.  "I tried to stay closer to the net and make more balls, so that helped me later on.   

"The energy was really key for me toward the end of my match, said McDonald of the atmosphere on the courts.  "I was really happy that my teammates were right there by my side.  They really helped me through that long three setter. 

"We were resilient today, said Martin of the team's performance.  "And it wasn't just one or two guysit was three or four guys that really hung in there to keep us in the match.  That helps everybody because it keeps everyone's momentum going, and you start believing in the team more when you see the other guys fighting back.  I really give credit to the entire team.

Post-Match Quotes from Cal's recap
"We played a very tough match today, and I feel we were competitive on every court, Cal head coach Peter Wright said. "Credit UCLA for having a great team this year. We were a bit nervous in the doubles, and that put behind 1-0. Five out of the six matches split sets, and we were in a position to win every match. We gained valuable experience today, and this weekend's matches made us a better team.

"We are looking forward to the NCAAs in a couple of weeks, and our plan is to use what we learned in this weekend's matches to make our postseason an amazing experience.


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