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UCLA women’s tennis advances to Sweet Sixteen behind sweeps in first 2 rounds

Senior Annette Goulak won both of her singles matches over the weekend for No. 4 seed UCLA women’s tennis, winning 6-1, 6-1 on Friday and 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday. (Esther Ma/Daily Bruin)

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Grand Canyon0
No. 4 seed UCLA4
Texas Tech0
No. 4 seed UCLA4

By Olivia Simons

May 9, 2021 12:43 p.m.

With a pair of regional sweeps, the Bruins have secured a ticket to Orlando, Florida.

No. 4 seed UCLA women’s tennis (21-4, 10-0 Pac-12) swept both Grand Canyon (12-9, 6-0 Western Athletic Conference) and Texas Tech (16-9, 6-3 Big 12) by scores of 4-0 in rounds one and two of the NCAA tournament over the weekend at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, advancing to its third-straight trip to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Bruins kicked off the NCAA tournament against the Antelopes when sophomore Abbey Forbes and graduate student Jada Hart took a 6-1 doubles win on court one, followed by a 6-2 victory from seniors Annette Goulak and Vivian Wolff to clinch the doubles point.

In singles play, junior Taylor Johnson won her match without conceding a single game for the second time in her career. This was only Johnson’s sixth singles match this season and her first since April 3.

“It’s great to have her out there,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “She’s been working really hard and she’s ready to play. I was really happy to give her the opportunity in singles and she showed that she’s ready to go because you just never know what’s going to come ahead. I’m really thankful she’s been keeping herself in great shape and staying motivated, ready to play if her name’s called.”

Following Johnson’s performance on court six, freshman Vanessa Ong took advantage of her opportunity to play on court four for the first time as a Bruin after eight matches on courts five or six this season. Ong delivered a 6-1, 6-0 win for the Bruins to bring the score to 3-0.

Coming back from a 6-0, 6-3 loss against California in the Pac-12 championship match, Goulak notched a 6-1, 6-1 win on court five to secure a first-round win for the Bruins.

“I think it was just a great opportunity to start off the tournament right and I played really well,” Goulak said. “I’m really excited because last year we didn’t get to play a national tournament and we had a really good team, and now the whole team’s back – plus a few others – so it’s just a great opportunity to get started and get the ball rolling.”

UCLA next faced off against Texas Tech, which had also taken a 4-0 win in its opening-round match, this one to San Diego (15-5, 7-1 West Coast Conference).

Johnson, paired with senior Abi Altick, took the first doubles match for the Bruins, blanking the Lady Raiders 6-0. Forbes and Hart clinched the doubles point with their sixth straight doubles win to bring their record to 11-1 this season.

“I think that Jada and I have such good chemistry on and off the court that it’s really helped us and translated into our matches,” Forbes said. “We’ve just been going out there and playing free. It’s her last season and I have many more seasons to go, but I don’t have many more seasons with her. We’re just really grateful for the opportunity to play with one another and our games bond really well together, and we were really happy to get the wins for the Bruins today.”

Kicking off the singles victories for the blue and gold, Goulak beat Bojana Marinkov 6-2, 6-2 to give UCLA a 2-0 lead. Coming in after her doubles partner, Wolff took a 6-1, 6-3 win to bring the Bruins within one point of a round two victory.

After not finishing her singles match for only the second time all season against Grand Canyon, Forbes clinched the win for the Bruins, defeating her Texas Tech foe 6-3, 6-2.

“Every single match is a privilege and a blessing to be able to go to Orlando and play the Sweet Sixteen,” Forbes said. “It’s my first NCAA tournament and I’m having a blast, I’m having a blast with my teammates – one last ride, fighting for that national championship is what we play the game for, what we play collegiate tennis for, and so I’m just really grateful that I was able to get the win today and send us to Orlando and also I’m grateful for the opportunities that lie before us.”

UCLA will meet No. 13 seed Georgia Tech (20-10, 8-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the Sweet Sixteen in Orlando on May 16 at 1 p.m.

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Olivia Simons | Assistant Sports editor
Simons is currently an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats. She was previously a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats.
Simons is currently an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats. She was previously a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats.
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