---The #1 ranked Women's Tennis team had a light schedule last week, with a 7-0 trouncing of Loyola Marymount on Thursday. The Bruins are now 3-0, with a cumulative set score margin of 15-0.
The Bruins swept all three doubles matches in straight sets to win the doubles point. Senior Chanelle Van Nguyen blitzed her opponent at #2 singles with a double bagel (6-0,6-0) (FYI from Guerrero- why isn't this a donut?). Senior Kaitlin Ray beat her opponent at #5 singles 6-1,6-1. Sophomore Kelly Shaffer beat her opponent at #6 singles 6-2,6-1. At that point the match had been clinched. Junior Catherine Harrison (#4 singles), junior Kyle McPhillips (#3 singles) and senior Robin Anderson (#1 singles) completed their straight set victories, to close out the 7-0 win. The Bruins did not lose a set, and had only one set go to 6-4. Here is the recap from the UCLA Athletics website.
The road will be much harder starting next week, as the Bruins travel to Charlottesville for the ITA Indoors Championship. UCLA lost in the finals of this tournament last year to Duke 4-3. But the Bruins went on to win the one which counted the most- the NCAA's for #111. Next week will provide an opportunity to recalibrate after the easy wins so far.
---The Women's Water Polo rolled through three matches at the Stanford Invitational before taking on Stanford in the tournament finale. To show how the talent is concentrated at the top in this sport, the #2 Bruins opened with easy wins over #8 Hawaii (12-4) and #4 Berkeley (10-5) on Saturday, and #9 Indiana (11-4) on Sunday morning. I don't know why it is so satisfying to beat Indiana in any and every sport. Alford apparently knew the Hoosiers were doomed when he saw their roster- neither coach King nor coach Poland has a daughter on the team.
The tournament finale was a rematch of last year's NCAA title game, as #2 UCLA faced #1 Stanford. And the NCAA championships will be at Stanford this year, so this was a preview of the likely title game on many levels. Let's hope that if they meet again in the finals, the outcome is different. Because once again the Cardinal came out on top, this time by a score of 6-10. There was one encouraging sign for UCLA in this match, as the Bruins fought back from a 7-3 deficit to trail by only one goal entering the 4th period.
It was still a successful weekend, with three wins over top 10 teams. And the cumulative score for the four matches was 39-23. The leading scorer for UCLA in the Hawaii match was senior attacker Emily Donohoe with four goals. The leading scorer in the Berkeley match was junior attacker Kodi Hill, also with four goals. The leading scorer in the Indiana match was junior defender Alys Williams. The Bruins clearly have plenty of options when they are on offense.
---The #4 Men's Tennis Team headed to Georgia for two matches against SEC teams. On Saturday, the Bruins lost to #7 Georgia 2-4. UCLA lost at #3 doubles and won at #1 doubles, which set up the #2 doubles as the decider for the all-important (as it turned out) doubles point. And the Bruins fell 7-5 (close but no cigar).
Georgia won #2 singles easily to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Sophomore Mackenzie McDonald then notched the first point for the Bruins with a 7-6, 6-1 win at #1 singles. Freshman Martin Redlicki came through at #4 singles 7-6, 6-0 (another bagel, not a donut- sorry Dan) to make the team score 2-2. Georgia won at #3 singles to take the lead again 3-2. And the match was clinched with junior Karue Sell splitting the first two sets at #5 singles, but losing the third set for a final score of 4-2 Georgia. The match at #6 singles was abandoned with UCLA down a set.
On Sunday, the Bruins had another tough day, losing to #17 Florida 3-4. Needless to say, the Bruins won't be #4 when the next rankings come out. The Bruins again lost the all important doubles point. McDonald and Redlicki won easily at #1 doubles 6-1 after the Bruins were bagelled at #2 doubles. It came down to #3 doubles and the Bruins lost for the second day in a row, by the score of 6-4.
Mackenzie McDonald continued his stellar weekend (4 singles and doubles matches, 4 wins) with a 6-1, 6-1 win at #1 singles to even the team score at 1-1. Senior Dennis Mkrtchian won 6-4, 6-1 at #2 singles to put UCLA up 2-1. Florida won at #3 singles in straight sets to even the match at 2-2. So the match came down to #4, #5 and #6 singles, all of which went to three sets. It doesn't get much closer than that. Martin Redlicki lost the first set at #4 in a tiebreaker, won the second set 6-2 and lost the third set 6-3. Freshman Austin Rapp came through 6-3 in the third set at #6 singles to even the match again 3-3. Sophomore Joseph Di Giulio fought back after losing the first set 6-3 to take the second set by the same score, but lost the third set by the same score to finish off the match.
The Bruins reached the national semifinals last season. Based on this weekend, we have some work to do. But the team is in good hands with Coach Martin (who was already here when Guerrero arrived), and there are plenty of matches left in the season. Next up for the Bruins- two matches at home against unranked opponents- San Diego State on Saturday morning and St. Mary's on Sunday afternoon.
That is it for this edition. Fire away with your comments. And Go Bruins !!