Jared Tay, assistant Sports editor
The Bruins will see the nation’s top teams for the first time this season.
No. 4 UCLA women’s tennis (4-0) will head to Chicago to take part in the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships Friday through Monday. While the Bruins have swept each of their first four opponents of the dual match season, coach Stella Sampras Webster said the competition in Chicago will be some of the best in the country.
“(The team) might be a little nervous because they know that we haven’t been tested,” Sampras Webster said. “I think they’re excited to get tested and to see what the rest of the country has.”
All of the top-12 teams in the Oracle ITA rankings will be in attendance, and No. 14 Arizona State, No. 17 Princeton and No. 22 Georgia Tech and Illinois will make up the rest of the 16-team bracket. The only participating team not in the top 25 is host Illinois, which gained automatic qualification to the tournament.
The Bruins – who earned the No. 4 seed – will match up first against the Fighting Illini on Friday, and should they win, will have the chance to play No. 5 seed Texas. No. 1 seed Stanford is also in UCLA’s half of the draw – the two will meet in the semifinals should both teams advance to that point.
Though none of the Bruins have dropped a match in singles at this point in the season, Sampras Webster said her singles players will need to remain patient when they encounter better opponents this weekend.
“The biggest thing is, sometimes we get excited and overhit,” Sampras Webster said. “Sometimes we go for shots that are low-percentage. We need to play with bigger targets, keep building the point and then come in on the right ball. We just try and take big swings and finish off points too early.”
Women’s Water Polo
Kyle Boal, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins’ future opponents are uncertain.
No. 3 UCLA women’s water polo (10-1, 1-0 MPSF) will face Pomona-Pitzer (0-2) in the first game of the Triton Invitational before embarking on its bracketed tournament.
The Bruins will be guaranteed four games in La Jolla, California, despite the uncertainty of the three opponents that will come after the Sagehens.
Coach Adam Wright said the team is preparing for Pomona accordingly but is not losing sight of the weekend as a whole.
“We know we’re playing Pomona,” Wright said. “Beyond that, this is the first championship tournament format that we’ve played to this point in the year. With these things, we have discussions with the team about how we need to have the ability to prepare for multiple opponents because we don’t know who we’re going to see.”
Last season, then-No. 3 UCLA was undefeated through 13 games before suffering its first loss at the Triton Invitational to then-No. 1 USC in the championship game.
Wright said the Bruins will learn more about where they stand in the landscape of water polo, knowing they could theoretically play the top-ranked Trojans again after winning an exhibition match between the rivals on Feb. 1.
“We can see anywhere up to eight teams,” Wright said. “The reality is there is ramifications within this weekend depending on how you do. It’s going to be exciting to see where we’re at.”
The weekend will kick off Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Triton Pool.
Track and field
David Deng, Daily Bruin contributor
For the second consecutive weekend, the Bruins will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
UCLA track and field will compete in the New Mexico Collegiate Classic this weekend. Last week, only Bruin field athletes competed in the UNM Team Open in Albuquerque, with the runners heading to the UW Invitational instead. This week, UCLA’s runners and field athletes will be competing together.
Senior sprinter/jumper Harrison Schrage will make his third meet appearance in the indoor long jump this year, after finishing in first at Dr. Sander Columbia Challenge and second at the UW Indoor Preview.
Eight others will be competing alongside Schrage for the Bruin men’s team, including two athletes competing in three events – junior jumper Matthew DeRoos in the long jump, triple jump and 60-meter dash, and redshirt senior multi-event athlete Zack Bornstein in the long jump, shot put and 600-meter.
Junior thrower Alyssa Wilson will be competing for the fifth consecutive weekend as the lone female Bruin representative in the throws. Out of the seven events Wilson has competed in this season, she has finished in first five times but said she believes she could still be throwing farther.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m satisfied,” Wilson said. “In the sport of track and field you can never be (satisfied) if you want to keep getting better.”
During this same weekend last year, the Bruins also made a trip to Albuquerque to participate in the Don Kirby Elite Invitational. Wilson earned a personal record in the weight throw that weekend, recording a 22.23-meter throw that still stands as her personal record.
The Bruin women’s team will have 19 entries in the running events, including a 4×400 relay consisting of sophomore sprinter Kyrah Johnson, freshman sprinter Maddy Doane, freshman sprinter Saundria Martin and sophomore sprinter Jade Hinds.
Friday’s events will start at 3 p.m. and Saturday’s events will start at 9:30 a.m.
Daniel Lieber, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins will continue to focus on evaluating their roster in the second event of the 2020 campaign.
No. 15 UCLA women’s golf will travel to Palos Verdes, California this weekend to participate in the three-day Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge.
The Bruins will enter the tournament with two new additions to the starting lineup, as coach Carrie Forsyth said she wants to use the opening events as a gauge of her team’s strengths and weaknesses.
“We are using this event as a test to see where we really are as a team,” Forsyth said. “It is a strong field, and if we come out on top, we will know we are working in the right direction, but if we’re not then we are going to have to start working harder and making some more adjustments.”
Freshman Emma Spitz, who finished in fourth place at the Tri-Match in the Desert on Jan. 26, will be starting at the No. 1 position for UCLA.
Forsyth said Spitz has played well through the past week of practice, thanks to a new club.
“(Spitz) just got a new putter and she has been absolutely lights out this week,” Forsyth said. “It’s weighted a little differently, and she’s really rolling the ball well. I think that will really be a big boost for her.”
Freshmen Annabel Wilson and Emilie Paltrinieri will also remain in the starting lineup this week, along with new additions in sophomore Phoebe Yue and senior Mariel Galdiano – who will return to the starting lineup for the first time in 2020.
Freshman Yuki Yoshihara will not be included in the UCLA lineup but will participate as an individual.
Senior Clare Legaspi will not make a start this weekend, as she will be representing the Philippine national team at the upcoming Asian American Games.
UCLA will tee-off at the Palos Verdes Golf Club on Sunday.