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Women’s tennis makes winning pair with newcomers Goulak and Vagramov

UCLA women’s tennis coach Stella Sampras Webster welcomed four new players this season, three freshmen and a transfer, and guided two newcomers to a singles and doubles win this past weekend at the Jack Kramer Club Collegiate Tournament. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Jason Maikis

Nov. 5, 2019 12:24 a.m.

Two new Bruins are bonding in their first days in Westwood.

UCLA women’s tennis started the fall season with three freshmen and a junior transfer, all of whom have begun their career in blue and gold with fall tournaments. Most recently, junior Annette Goulak won the first two bracket-style tournaments of her college career at the Jack Kramer Club Collegiate Tournament on Thursday through Sunday.

The former Georgia Bulldog won the singles tournament without dropping a set in her five matches and earned the doubles title playing with freshman Sasha Vagramov. The duo had only played one match together before the Kramer Collegiate, but had each played with two other partners as well.

“I really enjoy playing with (Goulak),” Vagramov said. “Our strengths match up well to play with each other for doubles. Our energy has worked really well coming in as newcomers, and she has a lot of experience coming from a different school to pass on to the team.”

The pair lost only eight games in its four single-set wins to clinch the championship, defeating two duos from USC, as well as teams from Baylor and Arizona.

Goulak said besides their styles of play, it was chemistry between both players that elevated their play to win the tournament.

“I think (Vagramov) and I have gotten along really well on and off the court,” Goulak said. “We’re good to tell each other things the other has to do. It’s really comfortable and fun out there with her, which makes it enjoyable too.”

Goulak was 7-1 in doubles coming into the tournament, including a doubles title with partner freshman Abbey Forbes in the ITA Regional Championships. She also had a 5-2 singles record entering her five-match run this weekend.

Before going to Georgia, Goulak grew up in Oak Park, California. She said the coaching staff at UCLA played a part in her smooth transition back to her home state.

“(The coaches) have been so supportive of me,” Goulak said. “Even when I’m down, they’re there believing in me, telling me I can do this as a player and a person. It’s helped my results a lot, and made it an especially easy transition coming back to (Los Angeles).”

Coach Stella Sampras Webster said Goulak’s experience has helped the junior adjust to UCLA, but Vagramov’s growth as a freshman away from her home for the first time has also impressed the coaching staff.

“(Goulak), she’s been through this a couple years so you can tell she’s had some experience,” Sampras Webster said. “For (Vagramov), this is her first quarter here playing college tennis, and it’s an experience – but a learning experience. She’s really feeling like she can play against anyone, and it’s good for her confidence that she can really contribute to our team and play singles or doubles for us.”

Vagramov had compiled a 3-3 doubles and 2-4 singles record prior to last weekend. She exceeded her fall win total in singles at the Kramer, advancing to the semifinals before falling to Goulak 7-6, 6-4.

Vagramov – who grew up in Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada – said it has been a big transition being away at college, but her familiarity with California has helped.

“I’ve been to California a couple times, so it’s not too unfamiliar,” Vagramov said. “But it’s still an adjustment being far from home and having my own space.”

Vagramov will have more time to adjust off the tennis court, as the Bruins only have one more tournament this fall, and Vagramov won’t be traveling for it. Goulak will go with five other Bruins to the Oracle ITA Fall National Championships starting Wednesday.

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Jason Maikis | Alumnus
Maikis joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2018 and contributed until 2019. He was an assistant Sports editor in 2019 and contributed for the football, men's basketball, men's tennis, women's tennis and men's water polo beats.
Maikis joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2018 and contributed until 2019. He was an assistant Sports editor in 2019 and contributed for the football, men's basketball, men's tennis, women's tennis and men's water polo beats.
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