The Bruins are the outright Pac-12 regular season champions.
No. 2 UCLA men’s tennis (23-2, 8-0 Pac-12) swept No. 38 Utah (19-7, 2-5) in the team’s final regular season match Friday.
The Bruins clinched their 42nd regular season conference title in program history and finished undefeated in league play for the third straight year.
“Going into the season, winning the regular season (title) was one of our goals,” said senior Austin Rapp. “It’s something we can be proud of, but at the same time, we have a lot of work that needs to be done.”
UCLA opened the match earning its second straight doubles point en route to an early 1-0 lead. No. 58 senior Martin Redlicki and sophomore Evan Zhu defeated their opponents 6-2 at court one. Junior Maxime Cressy and freshman Bryce Pereira followed suit at court three with a 6-2 win.
“Our most improved area has been our doubles,” said coach Billy Martin. “We have three good teams that are harmonious and have played well throughout the year.”
The Bruins maintained their fast start into singles play. At court one, No. 1 Redlicki won the quickest singles point of the match. After winning set one 6-4, the senior was up 2-1 in the second set when his opponent, No. 107 Dan Little, retired due to a thigh injury.
Following a 6-2, 6-2 victory by freshman Keegan Smith at court three, Rapp completed the sweep for the Bruins. Rapp replaced freshman Connor Hance at court six to play on Senior Day – his first singles dual match since March 27 against UC Irvine.
“(Rapp) has been such a great Bruin and a great team captain,” Martin said. “It was poetic justice to see him be able to win today.”
The senior swept his opponent 6-0, 6-4 at court six in the final home match of his career.
“I tried not to look at the scoreboard, but I saw that I could be the clincher,” Rapp said. “When (my opponent’s) ball sailed out, it was pretty emotional and really special – I’ll never forget that.”
With the victory, the Bruins finished undefeated at home for the third consecutive season.
“I know the courts from practicing here every day,” Smith said. “The crowd is always behind us, and I (feel) invincible at home.”
UCLA will now travel to Ojai to compete for the Pac-12 championship next week.
“We’re looking forward to (the championship),” Martin said. “We’re going to take it one at a time and just try to stay healthy.”