It was a fairytale ending for two of UCLA’s seniors.
UCLA’s No. 3 seed senior duo of Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield defeated Michigan’s unseeded Kate Fahey and Brienne Minor 5-7, 7-6 (6), 11-9 in the finals of the NCAA doubles championship to finish their collegiate tennis careers.
“There’s so many emotions going back and forth,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “They really earned it. They’ve been great leader for the team. I’m really happy for them to go out as national champions.”
It was the second NCAA doubles championship for UCLA this season. The men’s tennis team’s senior Maxime Cressy and sophomore Keegan Smith won the men’s tournament earlier in the day.
Andrews and Broomfield were leading 5-1 in the first set but lost the next six games to drop the opening set, capped off by a double fault from Andrews. The second set was evenly contested with no pair going ahead by more than a game and featured eight straight breaks heading into the tiebreaker.
“(Andrews) and I kept saying to ourselves, ‘We’re never going to get this moment again. Let’s embrace it.’” Broomfield said.
The senior duo was down 6-5 in the tiebreaker – on the verge of bowing out – but won the next three points to force a 10-point, third-set tiebreaker for the championship.
“I was just trying to keep them calm,” Sampras Webster said. “They’re very feisty and have a lot of emotion. I just wanted them to have a clear head about what they wanted to do. They have so much experience that I really trust their instincts.”
The third-set tiebreaker was tied at 9-9 before the senior duo secured two straight points to win the title.
“Undescribable,” Andrews said. “Happiest moment of my life. We worked so hard for this and I think we deserve it.”
UCLA’s other entrant in the NCAA doubles championship – unseeded pair freshman Elysia Bolton and redshirt junior Jada Hart – were defeated in the round of 16 by Fahey and Minor 6-2, 7-6.
In the NCAA singles championship round of 16, Bolton fell to semifinalist Cameron Morra of North Carolina by a score of 6-7 (1), 7-6 (4), 6-2. Bolton was up 5-4 in the second set, serving for a spot in the quarterfinals but was broken and eventually lost the second set tiebreaker 7-4.
Unseeded Hart was overwhelmed in the singles quarterfinals 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 by eventual finalist No. 2 seed Katarina Jokic from Georgia.
The end of NCAA play marks the end of the season for UCLA women’s tennis.