With No. 11 USC on the horizon, players on the No. 3 UCLA women’s tennis team said they have found themselves peeking past their upcoming match against Pepperdine, who has yet to attain a win.
Freshman Catherine Harrison, however, said she’s cautious about this attitude, as she feels that all college teams compete at a high level.
“Obviously we’re going to look ahead a little bit,” Harrison said, but added that no match can be overlooked.
Since college competition is a relatively level playing field, the Bruins approach each week focused on improvement. Regardless of the quality of the opponent, the team believes there is something to gain every time it plays.
“Our coaches and (we) as a team both do a really good job of having goals for each match. So I feel like I have to focus just as hard for Pepperdine as for ’SC because I might have a different goal,” said junior Courtney Dolehide.
Last week, after victories against St. Mary’s and Cal, UCLA returned home with specific improvements in mind.
The Bruins struggled in doubles, getting swept for the first time this season against the Golden Bears. Now, the team seeks to use the Pepperdine match as an opportunity to measure development in this area.
“I know (Pepperdine’s) doubles is really strong. I’m expecting to be challenged in doubles … I’m excited to see how they do (today). Our doubles were not good at all this weekend,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster.
Dolehide also said she is excited for the chance to see what progress they have achieved from practice this week. She did not linger on the negatives of the doubles matches, but instead displayed optimism that the struggles last week would result in progress for the team.
“I saw a lot of positives still coming from last week. And I think I was right in those thoughts, because yesterday we did a ton of doubles drills and really hammered out some of the weaknesses that we saw. I feel really good going into (today),” Dolehide said.
While the Bruins haven’t played at home since Feb. 1, Dolehide said the team doesn’t fret over its time away from the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
She insisted that traveling was not becoming exhausting, saying it allows the team to spend valuable time together.
“I love to travel personally, so I’m not (tired),” she said. “It’ll be a lot of traveling, but that could also benefit us because team chemistry is a big thing. The really good teams are the teams that are really close off the court.”