Nicholas Yekikian, assistant Sports editor
UCLA softball is headed to its final five-game weekend of the year.
The No. 3 Bruins (19-0) will face two ranked opponents at the Louisville Slugger Invitational – No. 16 Ohio State (11-1) and No. 21 Long Beach State (18-5) – along with Michigan State (9-10), San Jose State (14-7) and Boston University (7-10).
“Some teams (this weekend) have some reputable pitchers and some teams are a little more aggressive,” said coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “Ohio State (is) … known for having a very complete offense and pitching staff.”
Ohio State has a season ERA of 1.31, just undercutting UCLA’s 1.38. The Buckeyes’ arms are complemented by an offense that has driven in a total of 69 runs so far this year.
Inouye-Perez said though the Bruins have not seen the Buckeyes in a long time, she expects to see a different brand of softball from the Midwestern team.
A team UCLA does have experience with is San Jose State. In 2017, the Bruins faced the Spartans in the NCAA regionals and won 10-2.
“(The Spartans) were coached very well,” Perez said. “They’re a very scrappy team.”
With two ranked opponents and San Jose State – who has seen the Bruins recently – on the docket, Inouye-Perez said she’s looking forward to seeing the way each different opponent plays this weekend.
Katie Sered, Daily Bruin contributor
UCLA men’s volleyball will face its first nonconference matchup since it lost to Long Beach State 16 days ago.
The No. 5 Bruins (16-5, 5-2 MPSF) will play the George Mason Patriots (10-7, 6-0 Atlantic 10) in the second match of five consecutive games at home.
The Patriots hold a six-game winning streak, including a sweep of No. 11 Penn State.
“We know (the Patriots are) a tough team and they’re going to be hard to beat, so I think it’s going to be really important for us to come out and focus and get ready for a good match,” said senior outside hitter Jake Arnitz.
Arnitz said the Bruins need to focus on their serve and pass battles.
“I think that’s the most important thing for us,” Arnitz said. “If we can serve tough and pass well, I think we’re going to be hard to stop.”
George Mason is set to play No. 12 CSUN just a day prior to facing UCLA.
The Bruins will have had a two-day break from competition to hone in on techniques to take the victory.
“It’s just about our consistency – our consistent emotion, focus, competitiveness is something we really need to continue to improve on,” said coach John Speraw.
UCLA will have a chance to win its second home game in a row after besting No. 7 Pepperdine 3-1 on Wednesday.
“All the nonconference games are super important for the at-large bid, so it’s going to be a good game for us,” said junior outside hitter Dylan Missry.
Nicholas Yekikian, assistant Sports editor
UCLA rowing will take to Marina del Rey, California, for its second meet of the year – but, this weekend, the meet won’t count for or against the Bruins’ record.
This weekend against Loyola Marymount will be a scrimmage meet, but that does not mean it isn’t a good opportunity for UCLA.
“Our opportunity this weekend is a little more unique,” said coach Amy Fuller Kearny. “As a scrimmage, we’re able to do multiple pieces. I’m able to move some lineups around and look at different combinations of athletes in the boat.”
Last weekend, the Bruins started off the year with wins in two races, one over Stanford and the other over San Diego State.
Fuller Kearny said that while she expects to use this weekend as a chance to tinker with her combinations of positions among the various boats, the personnel racing will start largely the same as last week.
Margaret Rae, Daily Bruin contributor
After only dropping two matches in its nonconference season, UCLA men’s tennis will travel to the Pacific Northwest to start Pac-12 play.
No. 4 UCLA (13-2) will compete against No. 40 Oregon (9-4) on Friday and then Washington (8-5) on Sunday.
“Both Oregon and Washington look like they’re good teams,” said coach Billy Martin. “I’m really trying to get my team to respect that and to be really ready for a tough competition.”
UCLA is coming off a strong doubles showing this past weekend, advancing to the finals of the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship for the first time in at least two years. Senior Austin Rapp and freshman Keegan Smith jumped in the Oracle/ITA rankings from No. 39 to No. 24 after their run to the final match.
Even though the Bruins have beaten both the Ducks and the Huskies for the past 11 years, Martin said he want to avoid complacency on his team.
“I always tell the guys that there’s no guarantee,” Martin said. “You just have to go for it and put yourself on the line for some possible bitter disappointment.”
No. 3 senior Martin Redlicki, who is 15-4 in singles this year, is expected to return after sitting out of the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship with minor injuries.
Dylan D’Souza, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins will travel up north to commence Pac-12 play.
No. 13 UCLA women’s tennis (8-2) will take on No. 46 Stanford (4-3) and California (4-4) on Friday and Saturday, respectively. This will be the Bruins’ first games in 13 days after their match against the Trojans (7-2) on March 2 got postponed due to rain.
The Bruins beat the Bears 5-2 in February, but coach Stella Sampras Webster said the team’s 6-1 loss last season against California is still on the team’s mind.
“We’ve had some great battles against those two teams,” Sampras Webster said. “(We’ve) just been preparing to play at their place and expecting them to have a lot of fans and deal with some adversity.”
In their only meeting last season, UCLA also fell 4-3 to Stanford at home.
Since their encounters against the two teams last year, UCLA has bolstered its lineup with the addition of freshman No. 46 Abi Altick, who is 20-5 and 6-1 in dual matches, and junior transfer Ayan Broomfield, who is 11-7 and 6-3 in dual matches.
UCLA went 7-3 in 2017’s conference play and lost in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament to Oregon.