Even for the No. 9 team in the nation, things must shaken up once in awhile.
After integrating some changes in the lineup over a week of practice, UCLA defeated both Arizona and Arizona State.
After struggling in the prior matches against Stanford and Cal in doubles, coach Stella Sampras Webster decided to alter some of the longtime doubles pairings.
“I just felt like we needed a change. I wanted to see something different and I wasn’t happy with the chemistry we were having,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster.
Senior Pamela Montez and junior Courtney Dolehide and sophomores Skylar Morton and Robin Anderson were matched with different partners. It was understood by the players’ passive voice that changes are simply a part of the sport.
“Everything was being switched around, and when playing with a different partner, you just have to get used to it — the whole team does,” Morton said.
The results of the changes appeared successful against Arizona, as UCLA pulled out a win in every match with its new doubles lineups of freshman Catherine Harrison and Montez, Anderson and Dolehide, and freshman Kyle McPhillips and Morton.
However, the next day against Arizona State, the team regressed once again, losing the doubles point. McPhillips emphasized the need for practice with their new partners.
“We might need more time to practice with our doubles partners. Clearly, we still need to improve. We all have potential, it’s just a matter of improving with our partner,” McPhillips said.
However, besides the doubles changes, Sampras Webster decided to make further changes to the lineup. Morton also had her first opportunity to play in singles in weeks, against Arizona. Anderson did not play in singles against Arizona because of a shoulder injury. However, Anderson returned again to action the following day, but lost her singles match. Sampras Webster understands that the changes in the lineup may take time to produce the best results.
“It’s definitely a work in progress. I like the team chemistry with the new partners, we just need to get everyone on the same page playing better tennis,” Sampras Webster said.
After struggling the last weekend against Cal and Stanford, and experiencing some closer matches than usual in prior weeks, the Bruins experienced some success with changes in the lineup. While the team still hopes to improve in coming matches, the coaches and players remain satisfied with two wins on the road.
“I can’t say we’re playing our best tennis, but I think we’re competing well as a team. Overall, it was a good team effort this weekend,” Sampras Webster said.