When the UCLA women’s tennis team faced California last month, the Golden Bears handed the Bruins their first loss of the season, snapping the team’s 20-game win streak.
The Bruins avenged their loss with a decisive 4-1 triumph against Cal at the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday to earn a spot in the Final Four.
“I don’t think that Cal performed poorly. It was definitely that we were ready to play, and it just happens that on this day we just outperformed them,” junior Pamela Montez said.
“I think we were just mentally prepared, ready for what was to come, and we came out on a mission, and somehow it worked. Everybody did what they had to do, everybody did their part, and the cards were in our favor today.”
Montez and other experienced players on the team displayed bold leadership this past weekend. For the second match in a row, Montez and sophomore Courtney Dolehide, and seniors McCall Jones and Carling Seguso, gave UCLA the lead going into singles by taking the doubles point.
Although she believes the doubles point played a pivotal role in shifting the momentum of the game, freshman Skylar Morton recognizes that winning the point did not decide the outcome of the match.
“The doubles point is never a decider,” Morton said. “I think it is very important, but anything can happen in the Final Four.”
The poise and execution the Bruins have displayed in the last two matches will be contested when the team undertakes another fervently anticipated appointment against the Trojans today.
This meeting could resemble their epic fight at USC in March, when freshman Chanelle Van Nguyen toppled USC’s Gabrielle DeSimone in a stirring three-set contest to secure the team’s win.
Coach Stella Sampras Webster says the team will have to come out strong in doubles and singles in order to beat the team standing between them and the final.
“I think that we have to come out with the same type of energy and focus that we did against Cal,” Sampras Webster said.
“If we win the doubles point we have a great shot at winning, (but) even if we don’t it’ll just have to be one more point somewhere ““ it doesn’t matter where, but somewhere.”