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Women’s tennis to end regular season with matchup against crosstown rival USC

No. 15 UCLA women’s tennis freshman Ava Catanzarite readies to serve. Catanzarite will face crosstown rival No. 19 USC for the second time in her young career Friday, coming off singles and doubles wins over the Trojans earlier in the season. (Joseph Jimenez/Daily Bruin)

By Amy Ionescu

April 14, 2022 3:50 p.m.

The Bruins will be facing off against a familiar rival Friday.

No. 15 UCLA women’s tennis (11-4, 7-0 Pac-12) will end its regular season with a conference match against No. 19 USC (16-10, 6-3) at Marks Stadium. In the first meeting of the season for the two teams on Feb. 25, the Bruins managed a 4-1 upset over the then-No.12 Trojans.

Freshman Ava Catanzarite said her grit helped her achieve a three-set victory over her Trojan opponent.

“The game’s not over until it’s over,” Catanzarite said. “I had a pretty tough singles match where I lost the first set, then I came back and I won both.”

Catanzarite’s match-clinching doubles victory and subsequent singles win provided two of the blue and gold’s four points of the day’s victory.

Coach Stella Sampras Webster said being prepared was an individual and group focus for the team.

“We have to make sure that we’re ready for a tough match,” Sampras Webster said. “We have to make sure that everyone is staying fit and training. Some are finishing points, other players are working on serves and returns. It’s very individual.”

While the blue and gold started off the season with a 2-3 record, the Bruins have dropped a single match since then – a 3-4 decision against No. 5 Pepperdine.

Sampras Webster said she is proud of the improvement she’s seen from her team this season.

“From where we started in January to where we are now, I’ve seen so much growth, even as a team,” Sampras Webster said. “They are one unit. They are so excited to be playing on this team, they all have built a lot of trust in each other. It’s been really great to see the team gel well.”

With a win on Friday, the Bruins have the chance to end the regular season undefeated in conference play for the second year in a row with their eighth Pac-12 victory of the season.

Catanzarite said teamwork within the program has been important to UCLA’s growth throughout the season.

“You’re not only fighting for yourself, you’re fighting for your team – that’s something that I’ve learned that I want to keep progressing with throughout the season, and of course, in my next three years at UCLA,” Catanzarite said.

The Bruins will take the court against their crosstown rivals at 1:30 p.m.

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Amy Ionescu | Assistant Sports editor
Ionescu is currently an assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, swim and dive and rowing beats. She was previously a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
Ionescu is currently an assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, swim and dive and rowing beats. She was previously a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
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