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‘We can’t let our guard down’: UCLA men’s tennis to play Loyola Marymount at home

UCLA men’s tennis coach Billy Martin applauds his players during a match. The Bruins are returning to Westwood for an outdoor match against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday afternoon. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Men's Tennis

Loyola Marymount
Wednesday, 2 p.m.

Los Angeles Tennis Center
UCLA Live Stream

By Chloe Agas

Feb. 7, 2024 9:43 a.m.

The Bruins are readjusting to familiar territory amid Westwood’s acclimation to recent rainfall.

After traveling the midwest and east for nearly three weeks, UCLA men’s tennis (2-2) is returning to Westwood for an outdoor matchup against Loyola Marymount (2-0) at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. Wednesday’s contest comes on the backs of three indoor matches, where the Bruins managed two victories and one loss.

UCLA’s cross-country road trip gave it a chance to adjust to the indoor environment. The Bruins exposed themselves to various indoor courts, from Boston’s Murr Center to the Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater.

Coach Billy Martin said traveling and adjusting to new terrain in between back-to-back matches was challenging.

“We’ve had seven full days of indoor tennis, and now we’ve got to go the other way and readjust,” Martin said. “Trying to get everybody rested, three matches in four days, and not just traveling but having to get acclimated quickly.”

The readjustment to outdoor courts is not the only challenge on the horizon for the Bruins this week. UCLA holds a 7-0 all-time record against LMU that dates back to 2008.

Through the seven victories, the Bruins mustered 40 points while restricting the Lions to just four. The teams’ most recent encounter in 2021 featured UCLA recuperating from a lost doubles point to clinch a 4-1 victory in the season’s home opener. But every Bruin from that match has since departed Westwood.

Redshirt freshman Emon van Loben Sels said team chemistry will continue to be integral for the Bruins.

“Team chemistry is probably the most important thing for us,” van Loben Sels said. “Chemistry is very important for us to get through all the tough moments this season.”

After season-opening losses against Texas A&M and Harvard, van Loben Sels and freshman Spencer Johnson won both their doubles and singles matches against Ole Miss and Oklahoma State, contributing to points that led to overall wins in both matchups.

Martin said the Bruins must not allow the comfort of Westwood’s outdoor courts to breed complacency.

“Now we’ve got to reacclimate to the outdoor situation and get back home,” Martin said. “We can’t let our guard down by any means and get ready to play a well-coached and good LMU team.”

The Bruins will have the chance to maintain their seven-game win streak against the Lions on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

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Chloe Agas
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