The UCLA women’s tennis team got away from the abnormally cold Southern California weather last weekend, taking to the desert to heat up for their fast approaching season opener against San Diego.
The team split up to go to two different tournaments: the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. and the Freeman Invitational in Las Vegas. Sophomores Robin Anderson, Skylar Morton and Kaitlin Ray, and freshman Catherine Harrison attended the Palm Springs tournament, while sophomore Chanelle Van Nguyen, junior Courtney Dolehide, freshman Kyle McPhillips and senior Pamela Montez competed in the Freeman Invitational in Las Vegas.
The National Collegiate Tennis Classic saw the most Bruin success, with the Bruins sweeping the competition’s titles. Robin Anderson took home the singles title, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 then came back later to capture the doubles title with her partner Skylar Morton, 8-6.
Despite being a part of both titles, Anderson said she felt slightly rusty overall, adding that she wants to improve certain aspects of her game before the beginning of dual match play next week.
“We were missing a few volleys and weren’t serving as well as we usually do,” Anderson said.
“I definitively felt there were a lot of things that I found I could improve in my game. Hopefully (I) get better as the season goes.”
In both finals in Palm Springs, UCLA competed against USC and emerged victorious. Coach Stella Sampras Webster said she was extremely happy with the team’s performances and admitted that a win over the rival Trojans is always a little more special.
“USC is a really strong team, it always means a little more to beat them,” Sampras Webster said.
The other four Bruins headed to Las Vegas for the Freeman Invitational. Unlike the tournament in Palm Springs, UCLA’s players did not fare well. All of the Bruins were out of the singles competition before the semifinals and the pair of Montez and Dolehide, the defending champions, lost 8-4 to the 1st ranked doubles team, Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria of USC, in the semifinals.
Despite not having the same kind of success as the girls in Palm Springs, Associate coach Rance Brown was pleased with his players’ performances. He said he will use the tournament as a tool to judge where the players are at and what to work on with the season right around the corner.
“You can’t always see in practice where they’re at,” Brown said. “But putting that match-level intensity to it and seeing where the kids are at will really help us.”