UCLA Spotlight




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Men's tennis team wins NCAA title

  • By Danny Harrington, Wendy Soderburg
  • Published May 1, 2005 8:00 AM

Just a week ago, the Daily Bruin ran a story in which two of its sports reporters bravely predicted who they thought would win UCLA’s next NCAA title. One reporter voted for the women’s golf team; the other favored the softball team. No wonder they downplayed the men’s tennis team: the guys with rackets had reached the finals of the NCAA tournament only five times in the last 20 years (and had lost all five).

The seventh-seeded men’s tennis team, however, shocked the Daily Bruin and everyone else by beating top-seeded and undefeated Baylor University, 4-3, on May 24 at the NCAA finals at College Station, Texas. The exhilarating, come-from-behind victory allowed the Bruins to snap Baylor’s 57-match winning streak and avenge their loss in the NCAA finals to Baylor just one year ago.

“I’m still a little numb,” said UCLA Head Coach Billy Martin. “Once it gets down to those last few matches and it’s really, really tight, I think it’s important to have your seniors and those players who have been there before. I knew I could count on these guys when we got down.”

The NCAA title is the first for the Bruin men since 1984 and is No. 97 for UCLA — tops among all schools.

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Philipp Gruendler celebrates a winner against Baylor’s Vladimir Portnov.

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Strength coach Ryan Beckwith reacts following a Kris Kwinta winner.

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The victorious Bruins, wearing T-shirts that read “One Team, One Goal: Unfinished Business,” proudly display their NCAA trophy.

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ESPN’s Luke Jensen speaks with Head Coach Billy Martin (center) and Kwinta; the victorious Bruins.