TULSA, Okla. — UCLA’s women’s tennis team finally got to contribute to the school’s record haul of NCAA titles, beating California 4-0 Tuesday for championship No. 102.
Riza Zalameda rallied to win the final two sets over Susie Babos of California 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, clinching it for the team that would have tied Florida’s record with six second-place finishes if it had lost.
"This is just our year. Our year to win it," Bruins coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "I think we were the favorite to win. It took a lot of hard work and some luck and we were able to pull it off. It’s great to get that win, that championship."
Georgia’s men’s team got over a different hurdle, winning the NCAA men’s title for the first time away from its home courts with a 4-2 victory against Texas.
The Bulldogs had won all five of their previous championships at home, including last year. Texas was making its first appearance in the finals.
Sampras Webster was a part of four of UCLA’s five second-place finishes. She coached the Bruins to the title match in 2004 and again last year, and played on runners-up in 1989 and 1991.
In her fifth try, she brought the title back to the state of California. Stanford has won 15 titles and Southern California won it twice.
"I feel for Cal because we’ve been there. It’s tough. You get all the way to the finals and you just can’t get that one more win," said Sampras Webster, who received a congratulatory text message from her younger brother, Pete Sampras. "It’s tough. It’s great to be in the national championship but once you’re there you want to win it."
Freshman Andrea Remynse won at No. 4 singles, Alex McGoodwin won in the No. 6 singles spot and seventh-seeded UCLA claimed the doubles point.
Zalameda clinched the team title with an overhead smash less than 2 minutes after Remynse finished off her 7-6, 6-2 defeat of Claire Ilcinkas.
"My first match point, I heard everyone just uproar and I double-faulted because I just go so scared," Zalameda said. "The next point, I just made that time my time. Time for UCLA. Time for history."
Georgia also wrapped up its championship with a win from its top player. Travis Helgeson took the final five games of a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Dimitar Kutrovsky and was swarmed by his teammates after Kutrovsky’s final shot landed out of bounds beyond the baseline.
Luis Flores completed a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 victory against Ed Corrie in the No. 4 singles slot a few minutes earlier, and Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg also won in straight sets for Georgia.
Texas earned the doubles point by winning the only two matches that were completed, and Miguel Reyes Varela won in straight sets at No. 6 singles for an early 2-0 Longhorns lead.
Cal earned its only match victory on the women’s side when Marina Cossou and Ilcinkas beat UCLA’s Elizabeth Lumpkin and Stephanie Wetmore 8-4.
The eighth-seeded Golden Bears, playing their first season since longtime coach Jan Brogan retired, upset top-seeded Northwestern in the quarterfinals. The Golden Bears made the NCAA bracket in all 27 years since the tournament began and reached the semifinals six times, but had never before played for the championship.
"Having a new coach at the start of this year, they all just responded amazingly. They’ve been so much fun for me to work with and guide them. I’m proud," Cal coach Amanda Augustus said. "We didn’t quite reach everything we wanted, but we were pretty darn close."