UCLA men’s tennis not only defeated its rival at the end of its regular season, but also ascended to the No. 1 ranking heading into the Pac-12 tournament.
All of these are noteworthy accomplishments as a result of a strong finish to what has been a fantastic season for the Bruins. Yet they said they are not completely satisfied. They want more, with their eye on the postseason, beginning with the Pac-12 Championships this weekend.
“I’m really proud of the team. But I’m not satisfied with just winning a regular season tournament, and nobody on the team just now felt that way either,” said coach Billy Martin.
“We’re committed to go up and try to do the job up there (in Ojai, Calif.) both (today) and Saturday. We still want to win Ojai and go out to regionals, win those matches and hopefully come home from the NCAAs with a championship. That’s our ultimate goal.”
The team ended the regular season with a 22-1 record overall, a perfect 7-0 in conference play.
Last season, the Bruins defeated the Trojans 4-3 during the regular season finale at USC but subsequently lost to them 4-2 in the Pac-12 Championships. This time around, the Bruins are looking to reverse that trend and claim a victory in Ojai.
“It’s going to be tough, we’re definitely going to have two tough matches. Last year we won a rigorous match at the end of the season and then lost to ’SC at Ojai,” said junior Adrien Puget. “We don’t want that to happen again, so we are going to come out really strong again with a good mindset and it should work.”
The No. 1 Bruins have not lost a match since Feb. 17 when they fell to the Trojans at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships. Having won 13 consecutive matches, sophomore Marcos Giron said he thinks they need to use this momentum they have had to win at the Pac-12 Championships. This team has gained a lot of confidence, particularly with its last two victories, and is looking to continue to compete with the top teams in the nation at Ojai.
“I think the whole (team) is excited. We’re all pumped about this win (against USC) because it’s a big win, especially for winning the Pac-12s,” Giron said. “Hopefully we can keep this momentum going onto the Pac-12 tournament.”