The Bruins claimed their first victory against a ranked opponent.
No. 8 UCLA women’s tennis (4-0) won both of its matchups this weekend, including a 4-1 victory over No. 9 Oklahoma State (4-2) and a 4-0 win over Tulsa (6-4). The Bruins have now won their last four matchups by a combined score of 16-1.
Senior Alaina Miller fell behind early against Oklahoma State’s Sofia Blanco on Saturday, conceding the first set 6-1. After rallying to win a pivotal second set, Miller forced a third set retirement from her opponent to top off a comeback victory.
“I definitely got help from my teammates who were supporting me,” Miller said. “I just wanted to try and get that one for the team.”
Miller, who said she has been looking to foster more team chemistry recently, said a win over a ranked opponent will pay dividends for the team for the rest of the season.
“I think this was a good test,” Miller said. “We need to come out knowing that we can beat teams like this and I think this is a confidence boost.”
Freshman Elysia Bolton continued her dominance this weekend, notching another two singles wins without conceding a single set, which included a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Oklahoma State’s Bunyawi Thamchaiwat and a 6-2, 6-3 win over Tulsa’s Martina Okalova. Each of Bolton’s victories were the clinching wins for the Bruins on both Saturday and Sunday.
“The crowd was really against us,” Bolton said. “But I knew that my teammates were always going to be behind me.”
Freshman Taylor Johnson conceded the Bruins’ only match loss of the season on Saturday, falling to Oklahoma State’s Catherine Gulihur in straight sets.
Coach Stella Sampras Webster said the loss was used as motivation for the Bruins, and Johnson came back the next day to defeat Tulsa’s Megan Hopton in a straight-set victory of her own.
“She was very determined to play better,” Sampras Webster said. “I really loved her mentality.”
Bolton’s win Sunday over Tulsa’s Okalova clinched the 4-0 victory for the Bruins, keeping UCLA undefeated before heading to the ITA indoor championships in Seattle.
“They were hard matches and it was a good challenge this weekend,” Sampras Webster said. “I know when we go to Seattle, we’re going to be challenged a lot.”
Sampras Webster said the undefeated start has boosted the confidence of the team, but emphasized the importance of remaining humble and focused.
“You see so many results of other top-ranked teams losing,” Sampras Webster said. “We have to expect every match to be tough.”