This weekend, the UCLA women’s tennis team starts the single elimination NCAA regionals, which means that from here on out, it’s win or go home.
UCLA, the No. 7 seed in the tournament, will open the tournament against the Patriot League champion Army Black Knights Saturday.
For the Bruins to advance to the NCAA team championships they will have to get wins on both Saturday against the Black Knights and Sunday against either the Oklahoma State Cowboys or Long Beach State 49ers.
Coach Stella Sampras Webster said she was pleased with UCLA’s seed in the tournament, especially because there are no Pac-12 teams in its draw.
“It’s nice not to have to play another Pac-12 team,” Webster said.
“These teams that we play are not going to know us as much.”
A perk of their seeding is that the Bruins will host the regionals at home rather than having to travel.
“It’s a definite advantage,” said Webster. “It’s nice for our players to be able to walk from campus and get themselves ready to play.”
While many players on UCLA’s roster were a part of last year’s team, which made it to the NCAA final match before losing to Florida, some freshmen who have made a big impact this season will experience the tournament for the first time.
Freshman Kyle McPhillips, who has been playing exceptionally well as of late, winning the singles championship draw at the Pac-12 Championships last month, will have her first experience in the college tennis postseason of her young career.
“I am going to treat it just like any other tournament,” said McPhillips.
“I don’t feel like there is pressure for me to win, it’s just fun for me.”
Senior Pamela Montez is embarking on her final chance to play college tennis, and while the nostalgia is beginning to hit, she knows she can’t focus on the past.
“I’m starting to be a little sad about it, but it will not be a distraction,” said Montez. “The team is all that matters at this point.”