Thursday, September 21

UCLA men’s tennis to face tough competition

Matt Brooklyn and the No. 9 men's tennis team will take on Boise State at the Los Angeles Tennis Center before No. 17 Cal and No. 7 Stanford visit this weekend.

Matt Brooklyn and the No. 9 men's tennis team will take on Boise State at the Los Angeles Tennis Center before No. 17 Cal and No. 7 Stanford visit this weekend.

Morgan Glier

Despite spring break having ended, the UCLA men’s tennis team does not want its recent win streak to end in the same way as every college student’s favorite week of the school year.

While other UCLA students were on vacation, the No. 9 Bruins (10-4, 2-0) were occupied building an impressive three-match winning streak in which they defeated the Wichita State Shockers, the No. 21 Washington Huskies, and the Oregon Ducks, each by a final score of 7-0. And this afternoon, the Bruins will look to maintain their recent momentum when they take on the Boise State Broncos at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

Although the Bruins have dominated their last three opponents, their last loss having come at the hands of No. 8 Baylor on March 11, UCLA coach Billy Martin does not want his team getting complacent with their recent success, considering the level of competition the Bruins were up against.

“Certainly winning gives you confidence, but except for Washington, it was probably some weaker teams we played in Wichita State and Oregon,” Martin said after Tuesday’s practice. “But still, winning makes you feel pretty good and we’re feeling pretty good as far as our improvement.”

Prior to the Baylor match, UCLA had already lost three matches on the season, including two drubbings at the hands of USC. But when asked if these easier matches are sometimes good for a team in flux, Martin was not so sure that “easy” matches are what his team needs.

“It’s maybe a little bit of false confidence to play against somebody who’s not going to push you and then you play a really good team,” Martin said. “You just want to stay at a high level.”

However, after the loss to Baylor, some UCLA players set out to take their frustrations out on their next opponents, no matter who it may be. Unfortunately for the Shockers, Huskies and Ducks, the Bruins were successful.

“I think after the Baylor match, a lot of guys were annoyed by losing,” senior Matt Brooklyn said. “We lost to them last year as well. So we came back and tried to make a point in all six singles and all three doubles.”

One positive for the Bruins is that their recent win-streak has come without the presence of their No. 1 player, senior Haythem Abid, who is battling a recurring wrist injury.

“Obviously we miss Abid … but it gives an opportunity for everyone else to step up and be counted on,” Brooklyn said. “We realize you can’t rely on other guys, we have to take care of our court and then everything will take care of itself.”

Martin is hopeful that Abid will be able to return to the Bruins lineup by the time NCAA tournament play begins.

“He’s just having problems with his left wrist,” Martin said. “We’re hoping it will improve and he’ll be able to get back and help us in some way. But I don’t want to rush it. The main thing is to have him towards the end of the year.”

As far as Boise State goes, the Broncos come into today’s contest with a record of 13-6 and are No. 52 in the nation. “I know their coach very well … and his teams are always competitive,” Martin said. “I’m expecting them to come in here competitive and wanting to beat UCLA here. It would be a great win for them and help their ranking. So I’m expecting a tough match.”

“Boise (State) has always been known as a tough team with (Bronco) coach Patton,” Brooklyn added. “So although we’re favorites, it’s going to be a pretty tough match. They’re not just going to give it to us. We’ve got to show them who we are and what we’re here to do.”

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.