Monday, March 30

Weekend wins help women’s tennis prepare for indoor play

Freshman Sasha Vagramov has spent time at both No. 5 and No. 6 singles for UCLA women's tennis, winning all but her first match against Minnesota, which was left unfinished. She led by one set at the time the first match was left unfinished. (Daanish Bhatti/Daily Bruin)

After sweeping the weekend competition, the Bruins are heading indoors.

“I think this team has a lot of confidence,” said UCLA women’s tennis coach Stella Sampras Webster. “(Sophomore Elysia Bolton) really settled in and she battled back in the first set and figured out a way to win and raise her level. She knew she wasn’t playing her best but she competed and stayed in there.”

After winning its third and fourth consecutive matches to start the dual meet season, No. 4 UCLA women’s tennis (4-0) has been trying to use its experience to gain confidence as it approaches the ITA national indoor championship held in Chicago.

Bolton – who is ranked No. 14 in singles – began her weekend with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 15-ranked Mariia Kozyreva of Saint Mary’s. The following day, Bolton found herself down 5-1 against UC Santa Barbara’s Elizaveta Volodko on court two, before storming back to take the lead and eventually come out with the win.

The sophomore’s 7-5, 6-1 comeback victory highlighted a 4-0 weekend for her in singles and doubles, as she also came away with two victories alongside her doubles partner redshirt senior Jada Hart.

Hart – who dropped only a total of four games over the entire weekend – said the weekend’s successes will serve them well as they head off to indoors.

“I think as a team we need to keep our cool,” Hart said. “I think we are a pretty talented team and we definitely have the game and capability of doing so. If we stay in it together and hold each other accountable, I think we have a great shot at winning it.”

Freshman Sasha Vagramov controlled most of her matches she played over the weekend, securing victories against the Gauchos’ Juliana Valero in a 6-2, 6-4 match. Vagramov said her coaching staff and teammates give her confidence to stay mentally strong.

“I want to be able to maintain a solid mindset, you know, not letting my emotions get in the way and just keeping a cool head,” Vagramov said.

Sampras Webster said she was proud of her players for their ability to battle back through adversity.

“It’s good to see our players kind of stepping up and performing well and (in) some of our matches, our players are winning pretty decisively, which is great,” Sampras Webster said. “This gives us confidence individually with those players, and, as a team, (I think) everyone is feeling really good and excited heading into indoors.”

The Bruins will be back in action Friday when they play in the ITA national team indoor championship in Chicago through Monday.

Sports contributor

Barnes is currently a Sports contributor on the women's tennis beat.

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  • Richard C

    The mental game in tennis may be the toughest of ’em all in collegiate sports. The Bruins will need every bit of that sharpness while bouncing from outdoors to the major indoor tourney.