UCLA will travel to Arizona to open its Pac-12 slate this weekend.
No. 6 UCLA women’s tennis (7-2) will face Arizona State (5-4) and Arizona (8-3) on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
UCLA only played one match since their Feb. 23 win against California due to rain cancelling their match against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 28. In their most recent match, UCLA suffered a defeat to rival USC 4-1.
“Any loss you have, you learn a lot about your team,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “There were things we saw out there that we needed to work on. We’ve been working on shot tolerance, shot consistency, movement, shot selection, serves and returns.”
Sampras Webster said the coaching staff has been working individually with players to fine-tune their skills and keep their confidence levels up.
UCLA whitewashed both the Arizona teams on back-to-back days in the regular season last year. The Bruins also dropped only the doubles point against the Sun Devils in the 2018 Pac-12 championships to seal a berth in the finals.
The Sun Devils’ most recent wins against the Bruins have been 4-3 encounters in 2016 in Westwood and in 2017 at the Whiteman Tennis Center. The Bruins are undefeated against the Wildcats over the past 10 years.
UCLA maintains a 58-18 all-time record against Arizona State and a 65-8 record against Arizona.
“Hopefully by the end of the regular season, we’ve figured out a lineup that is best for us,” Sampras Webster said. “Regardless of where in the lineup people are playing, we find out a lot during the regular season.
UCLA is one of three schools, including Stanford and California, to feature three top 50-ranked doubles teams in the latest iteration of the ITA Division I rankings.
The Bruins’ third doubles team in their three most recent matches has been the No. 48 tandem of senior Alaina Miller and sophomore Abi Altick. The pair is 6-2 this season and 2-1 in dual matches.
“I think we are a much better doubles team than we were in the fall,” Miller said. “If one of us makes a mistake, it doesn’t seem as bad if we laugh it off. (Altick) and I are really good at that. That’s how I release pressure.”
This weekend will be the first conference games for freshmen Taylor Johnson and No. 10 Elysia Bolton.
“I know this is my first season,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how everything works but I’m really excited to start competing against all the Pac-12 schools.”
The Bruins only dropped one regular season conference match last season – a 4-3 loss to the Cardinal. UCLA lost to Stanford 4-2 in a rematch in the Pac-12 championships final.