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Weekend in Preview: Jan. 25

Coach Billy Martin watches the match. Martin’s squad is set to meet Harvard for the first time in 24 years. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Rahaf Abumansour and Chloe Agas

Jan. 25, 2024 2:42 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 25 at 11:40 p.m.

Men’s tennis

Chloe Agas, Daily Bruin contributor

The Bruins are heading into uncharted territory just one match into their season.

In its second ranked matchup of the season, UCLA men’s tennis (0-1) is crossing the country to face No. 15 Harvard (2-1) at the Beren Tennis Center. Saturday’s match will present the Bruins with a chance to compete on indoor courts.

“Our biggest challenge is going to be getting used to indoor courts,” said coach Billy Martin. “People might not realize that there’s quite a big difference in outdoor play compared to indoor play. It’s a lot faster.”

Along with the newfound trial, the affair marks the first time the Bruins will meet the Crimson in 24 years.

The last encounter between the two teams was in February 2000, when UCLA soared to a 7-0 victory. The Bruins lead the Crimson 9-0 all-time from matchups spanning 18 years.

After the Bruins fell short to No. 19 Texas A&M, sophomore Gianluca Ballotta said the team’s health is critical this weekend.

“The main thing is that we have to be healthy,” Ballotta said. “We have a very solid team, and we had a little bit of bad luck with some injuries last week, but if we’re all healthy for Harvard, we’re going to have a good chance.”

Junior Giacomo Revelli, who secured a singles win after a tight doubles loss against the Aggies, said the team’s match style is still a work in progress.

“We’ve all been working on our aggressive game and not falling too far back behind the baseline,” Revelli said. “We’ve also been modifying our game styles to give us the best chance of winning.”

In what will be a game of firsts, the Bruins will serve off against the Crimson at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

(Daily Bruin file photo)
Senior pole vaulter Katerina Adamiec bends her pole and prepares to clear. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Track and field
Rahaf Abumansour, Daily Bruin reporter

The Bruins are dividing and conquering across the nation.

UCLA track and field is set to compete at the Washington Invitational in Seattle and the New Mexico Team Open in Albuquerque. The Bruins will divide into two groups and travel to the two meets Friday and Saturday.

The 2024 season marks the first time the Bruins have participated in these respective meetings, despite traveling to Washington and New Mexico for previous meets.

Many athletes are coming off new personal records and podium finishes from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational – their first indoor meet of the season.

The standout performers in the last meet were the pole vaulters, with seniors Ka’Leila Abrille and Katerina Adamiec and sophomore Hunter O’Brien clinching first, third and second place finishes, respectively.

The last time the Bruins were in New Mexico, redshirt junior sprinter Yanla Ndjip-Nyemeck qualified for the finals in the 60-meter hurdles preliminaries by running 8.18 seconds. After that, she set a personal best of 8.10 to finish fourth overall in the competition.

These preliminary meets are setting the foundation for the upcoming season as the Bruins gear up for the outdoor season.

(Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)
Sophomore Fangran Tian pumps her fist in celebration. (Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)

Women’s tennis
Chloe Agas, Daily Bruin contributor

The Bruins are in the midst of one of their toughest starts to a season in 23 years.

In its season opener, UCLA defeated then-No. 6 Texas in a 5-2 victory at home at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The conquest marked its first season opener against a top-10 opponent since 2001.

Sophomore Fangran Tian said despite the win, the team is preparing for the upcoming challenges by improving from the opener.

“The coaches saw a lot of stuff that we need to work on,” Tian said. “The last couple of days, we’ve been focused on these things, and I think it will improve us as individuals and as a team.”

With a win and more practice under its belt, No. 12 UCLA women’s tennis (1-0) is headed to the Southwest to face No. 3 Oklahoma State (2-0) – its second top-10 foe in just over a week. The Bruins will either face Iowa State or Old Dominion the following day.

The last time the Bruins faced the Cowgirls was at the 2022 NCAA tournament where the former fell to the latter 4-2 in the second round. The loss put the Cowgirls one step closer to splitting the 3-2 all-time advantage the Bruins have over them.

The two teams will face off on an indoor court in Ames, Iowa. While the Bruins are used to playing on outdoor courts, the Cowgirls have housed indoor courts since 2014.

Coach Stella Sampras Webster said her team will need to adapt its playing style to prepare for the newer conditions.

“It’s a different game when we’re going to go play indoors,” Sampras Webster said. “We had to make adjustments in practice to make sure they are ready for balls coming faster and harder.”

The first serve is set for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday in Ames, Iowa.

 

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