For the sixth straight time, the Bruins found the Cardinal too much to handle.
“Today’s match was a lot like last year’s match,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “Winning the doubles point was really exciting, but we just had a really hard time winning those first sets.”
No. 9 UCLA women’s tennis (18-7, 8-2 Pac-12) whitewashed Arizona (12-12, 2-8) 4-0 and edged No. 11 Washington (19-4, 8-2) 4-3 to set up a repeat of last year’s Pac-12 finals. The Bruins were toppled by No. 5 Stanford (22-1, 10-0) 4-2 in the finals of the Pac-12 championship Saturday afternoon.
UCLA picked up only two of the six first sets in singles play. The Bruins lost to the Cardinal by an identical 4-2 margin last year after securing the doubles point.
UCLA opened the conference tournament with a sweep against Arizona in the quarterfinals and was on the verge of victory against Washington.
The Bruins were up 3-1 with No. 42 redshirt junior Jada Hart and No. 29 freshman Elysia Bolton both up a set and leading in the second set on the top-two singles courts.
Both second sets ended up going to tiebreakers that went against the Bruins, extending the match. Hart and Bolton ended up losing their third sets, knotting the score line at three apiece.
“We were all playing really well and had a couple of hiccups,” said sophomore Abi Altick. “(Senior Ayan Broomfield)’s effort and fight was incredible to watch, so I was really proud of her.”
Broomfield tweaked her right knee during her doubles matchup and had it wrapped up.
“We, as a group, decided that we were going to take (Broomfield) out at the third game of the second set because of her injury,” said senior Gabby Andrews. “But she said no and she fought through it. It was honestly the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”
After losing the first set, Broomfield fought back to win the second set in a tiebreaker. The Toronto native eventually clinched a spot in the finals for UCLA with a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1 victory.
“She was hurting but she pushed through and got the win for us,” said Andrews.
Andrews and Broomfield combine to form the Bruins’ top doubles pairing and the No. 4-ranked duo in the nation. The Bruins have obtained the doubles point in their last 13 matches.
“Before the streak, we were struggling in doubles a little bit,” Andrews said. “We really focused on doubles in practice. Me and (Broomfield) really set the tone in doubles. We have a lot of energy and when the other girls see that we’re hyped and doing well on the first court, it gives them confidence as well.”
UCLA will find out who it will face in the NCAA championships Monday at 3:30 p.m. through the NCAA.com selection show.