#16 Lady Vols Overcome #8 Bruins 4-3, Advance to First Final Four Since 2002 - University of Tennessee Athletics (2024)

#16 Lady Vols Overcome #8 Bruins 4-3, Advance to First Final Four Since 2002 - University of Tennessee Athletics (1)

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WinnerTennesseeTENN(21-7)

#16 Lady Vols Overcome #8 Bruins 4-3, Advance to First Final Four Since 2002 - University of Tennessee Athletics (2)

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UCLAUCLA(21-5)

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Match Recap: Women's Tennis |

STILLWATER, Okla. – The 16th-seeded Tennessee women's tennis team excelled in the NCAA quarterfinals, knocking off No. 8-seeded UCLA in a 4-3 victory Friday night at Greenwood Tennis Center. Tennessee is the lowest seed to ever reach the semifinals since the berth of the 64-team era in 1999.

The Lady Volunteers are headed to the Final Four for the second time in program history, mirroring the success of the 2002 squad. The 2002 team acquired a stellar 4-3 triumph against VCU on May 17, 2002, at Stanford.

"I'm so incredibly happy and proud," head coach Alison Ojeda said. "We have said for this entire year that there is just something really special about this group. Not only are they good, but they have this togetherness that allows them to elevate each other's performance. That's what you guys saw tonight from start to finish. I couldn't be more excited for these guys."

Tennessee (22-7, 9-4 SEC) dropped the doubles point, unable to conquer UCLA (21-6, 9-1 Pac-12). The pair of Lauren Anzalotta and Catherine Aulia were the only pair to etch a doubles victory, downing Ahmani Guichard and Sasha Vagramov, 6-4. Esther Adeshina and Alana Wolfberg fought to uphold a double-break lead at 3-0 but ultimately fell 6-7 (2) against No. 42 Kimmi Hance and Anne-Christine Lutkemeyer. The doubles finale came down to a tiebreak, the No. 11-ranked tandem of Sofia Cabezas and Elza Tomase lost in a 6-7 (3) contest versus the No. 13-ranked pair of Tian Fangran and Elise Wagle.

After falling to a 1-0 deficit, the Big Orange showed off perseverance and posted four singles wins to secure the match. Wolfberg was the first to post a win, she overcame four break points up 4-3 in the second set to hold serve. The senior fired off a 6-0, 6-3 final line against No. 73 Bianca Fernandez. Tomase added a triumph against No. 27 Kimmi Hance in 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 fashion. Aulia collected a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory versus Elise Wagler. After losing the first set, Aulia won 12 of her final 15 games.

The match came down to No. 14 Cabezas in a three-set monster contest against No. 32 Tian Fangram. The senior lost the battle in the first set but bounced back to beat the reigning NCAA Singles Champion, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. The first five games of the third set on court one were all breaks, the first of those three went to deuce points.

"I'm just so proud of my team," senior Cabezas said. "I won the last point, but this was a team effort. I did it for them. I love playing for them. This is huge. I love the team effort. It's special. I just want to keep playing longer. I want to keep playing with my teammates. I want to keep playing and having fun. I just can't wait to compete again tomorrow (Saturday).

Two Lady Vols yielded losses in singles play. Anzalotta fell in a 2-6, 2-6 battle against Ahamni Guichard. Adeshina dropped her match to Ahamanu Guichard 2-6, 6-4, 2-6.

NEXT UP:

Tennessee advances to the Semifinals, playing No. 13-seeded Texas A&M in Stillwater, Okla. The match will be played on Saturday at 6:30 CT, 7:30 ET p.m.

Match Notables:

  • The Lady Vols will advance to the Final Four for the second time in program history. (2002)

  • The win marked the 787th victory for the Tennessee women's tennis program.

  • Head coach Alison Ojeda now owns 143 victories during her tenure, the third-highest winning coach in program history.

  • Friday's victory marked the first victory in program history against UCLA, including the first in the Ojeda era.

  • Friday's win marked the second time the Lady Vols have beaten a PAC 12 opponent in the NCAA Tournament, since sweeping Washington State 4-0 in the Second Round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament.

  • The triumph signified the 22nd victory of the season, marking the most wins attained during the Ojeda era. It also marked the first instance since the 2003 season that a squad has secured 22 wins.

  • The victory marked the fourth occasion in program history where a team achieved 22 or more wins in a single season. (2024,1982, 2001, 2003)

  • The Lady Vols failed to produce the doubles point, dropping it for the sixth time this season.

  • With the victory, the Lady Vols improved to 5-1 when losing the doubles point this season.

  • It is the 12th time in NCAA history that a double-digit seed has reached the Final Four.

  • UT's win marks the fifthtime a team seeded No. 13 or lower has reached the Final Four, including the second time in Tennessee history. (No. 13 seed, 2002)

  • The Lady Vols and Texas A&M (No. 13-seed) arethe first double-digit seeds to reach the Final Four since No. 15 Stanford in 2018

  • The victory marked the 12th time Tennessee has defeated a ranked opponent this season and the seventh time they have downed a top-25 team.

  • The win marked the first time the Bruins faced and lost to an SEC foe during their season.

  • Graduate student Alana Wolfberg earned her 50th career singles victory.

Results:

Doubles

1 #13 Tian Fangran and Elise Wagle (UCLA) def. #11 Sofia Cabezas and Elza Tomase (TENN) 7-6 [7-3]

2 #42 A. Lutkemeyer and Kimmi Hance (UCLA) def. Esther Adeshina and Alana Wolfberg (TENN) 7-6 [7-2]

3 Lauren Anzalotta and Catherine Aulia (TENN) def. Ahmani Guichard and Sasha Vagramov (UCLA) 6-4

Singles

1 #14 Sofia Cabezas (TENN) def. #32 Tian Fangran (UCLA) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3

2 Elza Tomase (TENN) def. #27 Kimmi Hance (UCLA) 6-2 1-6 7-5

3 Alana Wolfberg (TENN) def. #73 Bianca Fernandez (UCLA) 6-0 6-3

4 Catherine Aulia (TENN) def. Elise Wagle (UCLA) 4-6 6-0 6-3

5 A. Lutkemeyer (UCLA) def. Lauren Anzalotta (TENN) 6-2 6-2

6 Ahmani Guichard (UCLA) def. Esther Adeshina (TENN) 6-2 4-6 6-2

#16 Lady Vols Overcome #8 Bruins 4-3, Advance to First Final Four Since 2002 - University of Tennessee Athletics (2024)
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