The finish proved to be as intense as promised with No. 29 Stanford dropping a tough 4-2 decision to No. 2 UCLA on Friday night in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Championships in Tulsa.
Making its 37th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, Stanford (16-11) rallied from early setbacks to earn its way to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2012.
An area of strength all season long for the Cardinal was the doubles point, which they took for the fourth time against the Pac-12 Champion Bruins (25-2, 7-0 Pac-12) with Yale Goldberg and Sameer Kumar crushing Maxime Cressy and Austin Rapp 6-1 before Tom Fawcett and Maciek Romanowicz battled back to top No. 2 Mackie McDonald and Martin Redlicki 7-5 to jump out 1-0.
UCLA evened it with McDonald topping Fawcett in straight sets before taking the lead when Redlicki beat Michael Genender.
The Bruins drew within striking distance with a win at number three before Maciek Romanowicz fired back in his last collegiate match with a 6-3, 7-6 win over Joseph Di Guilio to make it 3-2.
Karue Sell finished the day for the Bruins in the No. 4 spot with a gritty match that saw Kumar fire off a tough first set win, only to fall 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0.