WOW! What a day….BRUINS moving on to Quarterfinals!

UPDATE: You can read a great and much more “official” recap by Colette Lewis at the the ZooTennis.com blog. And also, a great from Matt Brooklyn: “Especially indoor where the courts are a little faster, I wanted to make sure I took the game into my hands,” Brooklyn said. “I wanted no regrets, whether I won it or lost it.” Read the rest here: http://tenniskalamazoo.blogspot.com/2010/05/ucla-starts-outside-finishes-4-2-win.html

Well, well, well, what a day? All the anticipation, emotions, excitement, anxiety, you name, it FINALLY happened and boy, was it worth it! As mentioned the last few days, you literally work the entire year for this moment and this Round of 16 match to first compete in the NCAA’s. Well, it was the worth the wait.

Going into the match, everyone was really, really feeling good. I felt confident and was “looking forward to the challenge” as Coach Martin always says. However, Stanford is a talented team that we knew well and everyone was WELL aware of the battle that was in front of us. Anyway, doubles started off tight and stayed tight. Nick and Amit at #1 was tight at 3-3 until Klahn/Thacher pulled away for an 8-3 win. And at #2, Abid and Matt were up a break the entire set and despite it staying close, were in control. And then at #3 doubles, Alex and Holden started off down 0-3 and battled back to make it 3-3. Doubles was nerve-wracking–of course–but wasn’t too intense until it came down to #3 doubles after Matt and Abid fought off break points a few games before and won 8-6. So at 5-5, it came down to Holden and Alex and it was INSANE! Let me repeat, it was INSANE! Each game was back and forth and no one could win as it was really up for grabs. Down 7-8 was nervewracking of course, as Alex stepped up at served 4 big serves and forced a tiebreak. The tiebreak was back and forth to make it 3-3 until the Bruins pulled away and clinched the doubles point for UCLA.

And as it happened with Cal, the momentum carried on. The guys were pumped, my throat was already burning, and things were good. And that seemed to be true; I mean, the guys came out firing and going down the line, were really dominating early on. Nick led Klahn 4-2, Abid was on serve at #2, Matt crushed Clayton 6-1 in the first set, Amit was I mean absolutely steam-rolling, winning the first set and up two breaks or something in the second, Holden had just won the first and Max squeezed out a 7-5 first set as well. It seemed like we would escape this without too much damage; you never want to say you have the match won, but it sure felt like it…

….and then the rain came. And it came all of a sudden. I mean, an absolute DOWNFALL! We all rushed to our little tent area and within minutes, the rain pretty much stopped even though the courts were soaked. With no one knowing if we were going indoors or not, we played the always-fun waiting game. Eventually around 4pm, we got word that we would go indoors as it started to rain again.

We KNEW that this would hurt us as we had the momentum on our side as this would give Stanford a “second chance” to regroup and come out firing. Plus, I think they are a little better indoor team. Regardless, our fears came to life. Especially, since Georgia only has 4 indoor courts so we could only play 4 singles matches at a time. Still, things looked positive at first; Amit resumed his match up a set and serving at 5-2. Picking up where he left off, he really led the team out there and kept the energy going by winning his match giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead.

However, on the opposite end, Nick was struggling a bit against Bradley Klahn and got broken to succumb to Stanford 6-2 in the second set to put Stanford on the board 2-1. With Holden and Max’s matches going on, Abid had incredibly won the 2nd set and Max led 3-1 in the 2nd set and Matt Brooklyn and Alex Clayton were about to go into a tiebreak. And then the tide turned….

Abid lost the 3rd set, Matt lost the 2nd set tiebreak, and Max had a bloody nose at 3-1 and ended up losing that set too. From that doubles energy way over 4 hours later, it felt like a different life. It was EXTREMELY hot in that little indoor facility, and EXTREMELY packed; and I felt like crying after seeing how there was a good possibility we lose this match.

I mean, my throat has never felt this much pain, well, since last year’s NCAA’s! Thankfully, with Max having trouble at #6 singles, our Senior Matt Brooklyn played the match of his life; down double break point twice in the set and being broken in the first game, this guy fought, and fought, and frickin’ played his HEART OUT! With things looking very grim (Max losing 3-0 in the third set and Abid having just lost), Matt was the hero and won this match for us. Stanford did NOT lose it but Matt rose to the occasion and led us all our there, breaking Clayton at 4-3 and serving it out like a champion.

SOOO after a much-harder-than-I-would-of-thought victory at around 2:30pm, we are through. And the mood is great. We won, the guys worked hard, and earned it against an extremely tough Stanford team. We had a great, relaxing dinner at Coach Martin’s favorite restaurant (yes, Outback Steakhouse of course) as a few of the guys are at the Georgia-Florida match watching those crazy Bulldog fans in the hallowed (and much talked about) Georgia stadium.

THANKS to everyone for your support, your texts, for watching online, and flat out supporting the Bruins out there today; it does not go unnoticed to all the players when they know they not only have their teammates yelling like madmen for them at the match, but people cheering for them at home.

Kallim is going to provide another guest blog tonight talking about his perspective as a student-athlete that I will get up tonight. We play the #1 team in the country on Sunday, Virginia, who routed Duke today 4-0. It will no doubt be a tough match–they are #1 for a reason! But we will save that for tomorrow my friends. Bruins win 4-2, move onto the Quarterfinals as we get the day off tomorrow. Stay tuned Bruin fans…LET’S GO UCLA!!!

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2 Comments on “WOW! What a day….BRUINS moving on to Quarterfinals!”

  1. Emily Says:

    Great win, guys! So proud of you all! 🙂 Keep fighting out there!

    GO BRUINS!


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