The Bruins finally got to face their rival for the first time this season – and they capitalized.
No. 14 UCLA women’s tennis (18-4, 9-1 Pac-12) swept USC (12-9, 5-5) at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Saturday. It was the teams’ first meeting this year after their scheduled match in March was canceled.
“Against ‘SC you never know what’s going to happen,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “(But) when we beat ‘SC, it’s a good day.”
UCLA came out quick in doubles with juniors Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield winning 6-1 on court two over USC’s Gabby Smith and Becca Weissmann.
The No. 7 duo of senior Terri Fleming and redshirt sophomore Jada Hart followed with a 6-4 victory against Angela Kulikov and Rianna Valdes on court one, taking home the Bruins’ fifth straight doubles point.
“Every match we just try to build on something,” Fleming said. “Once you get that rhythm and feeling of execution, it’s hard to stop.”
Heading into singles, the Bruins snagged five of the six first sets over the Trojans.
“After winning that doubles point, I think everyone just relaxed and played some great singles,” Sampras Webster said. “It looked like they were in control.”
Broomfield gave UCLA a 2-0 lead with a straight-set win on court five over Madison Westby by scores of 6-1, 6-2. Freshman Abi Altick and Hart quickly followed to clinch the victory, coming out on top on courts four and two over Kulikov and Valdes, respectively.
Altick only dropped two games in her 6-2, 6-0 win.
“I didn’t let it get close at all,” Altick said. “(I) stayed on top of it and didn’t let her get in the match.”
As the Bruins finished the regular season, Fleming, senior Kristin Wiley and redshirt senior Kelly Shaffer celebrated the final match on their home court.
Sampras Webster said the veterans’ guidance has been the group’s biggest asset to the program.
“(They have) built the team chemistry around just being a team,” Sampras Webster said. “And I think that’s what great leaders do. They can lead by example but also lead by what they say.”
This match marks UCLA’s ninth straight win and seventh sweep over the course of the nine-match streak.
With a 9-1 conference record, the Bruins earned the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 championships, which begin Wednesday in Ojai, California.
“(This match is) something that we can use to keep building from and continue this momentum and confidence going into the conference championship,” Sampras Webster said.