Thursday, May 28

Women’s tennis celebrates Senior Day with weekend sweeps of Utah, Colorado

Senior Gabby Andrews – who her teammates call "the GOAT" – won her first singles match against Utah while her match against Colorado went unfinished. UCLA women's tennis swept both teams in celebration of Senior Day. (Tanmay Shankar/Daily Bruin)

The seniors ended their home careers with back-to-back sweeps.

No. 8 UCLA women’s tennis (14-5, 6-1 Pac-12) emerged victorious against No. 39 Utah (11-7, 2-4) on Friday, defeating the Utes 4-0 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins recreated their success the next day, replicating a 4-0 sweep against Colorado (10-10, 3-4) in the last home game of the seniors’ careers.

The weekend’s two wins come on the heels of a drawn-out loss against a top-10 opponent in No. 9 Pepperdine (14-3, 5-0 WCC) on Wednesday. Coach Stella Sampras Webster said the team was not upset with its performance and instead focused on sending its seniors off on a high note.

“We didn’t play bad. They were a tough team,” Sampras Webster said. “I think everybody rebounded pretty quickly knowing that we didn’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves.”

Senior Ayan Broomfield improved on her singles loss against Pepperdine by defeating Utah’s Emily Dush 6-4, 6-1. Broomfield’s success, complemented by a doubles point victory and a singles win on court two, put the Bruins up 3-0 and left the clinching point to be decided by one of her graduating teammates.

Senior Gabby Andrews got the singles start on court six against Utah and beat Leah Heimuli 6-2, 6-2 to secure the Bruins’ 13th win of the season.

“I haven’t played singles in a month so that was a really exciting feeling,” Andrews said. “I was trying to rush it with (sophomore Abi Altick) because we were both neck and neck trying to clinch it.”

Sampras Webster fielded a similar lineup Saturday, as Broomfield teamed up with Andrews to defeat Colorado’s Annabelle Andrinopoulos and Monica Malinen 6-0.

The win from the senior pair contributed to a doubles point victory for the Bruins, but neither player finished their respective singles matches.

“I love my fellow players and I think (Andrews) is amazing, especially on the doubles court,” Broomfield said. “Realizing that this is our last time playing (at home), it was just about having fun and today it happened.”

Senior Alaina Miller capped her four-year career at the LATC by prevailing over Colorado’s Megan Forster 6-3, 6-1. Miller’s victory on court four gave UCLA a 3-0 lead following a win on court six by freshman Taylor Johnson.

“Coming into senior weekend, everyone’s a little bit looser,” Miller said. “That allows us to play freely. I love playing here and I’m so glad I finished on a good note.”

On a day dedicated to the team’s seniors, freshman Elysia Bolton defeated Colorado’s Sara Nayar 6-2, 6-1, to send her graduating teammates off on a high note by clinching the victory for the Bruins. Bolton later featured in a commemorative video for the team’s seniors and lauded her teammate Andrews as “the GOAT,” or greatest of all time.

“When I was younger, I won a lot,” Andrews said. “I think that’s what they’re referring to, or my dance moves. I think I’m a good dancer too.”

Sampras Webster said she could not concretely say what the team’s younger players were referring to, but said that Andrews’ energy has been crucial to the program’s dynamic this season.

“They do these little dances with themselves and I know she’s got some moves,” Sampras Webster said. “But she’s an amazing player and has done really well.”

Miller credited the team’s wins and overall season success to the chemistry that has developed between the players.

“We’re all a tight-knit group,” Miller said. “Obviously we’re going to have our ups and downs, but it’s not friends anymore. It’s family.”

UCLA now has three more conference matchups before heading to the Pac-12 championships.

“We’ll most likely have to play indoors this weekend,” Sampras Webster said. “But it shouldn’t be a disadvantage for us because we do play so aggressively.”

The Bruins will travel to Pullman, Washington, to face Washington State at the Hollingbery Fieldhouse on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Sports reporter

Papoutsis is currently a Sports reporter on the men's tennis beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis beat.

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