Men’s tennis sweeps UCLA on the road
No. 8 men’s tennis took down UCLA Wednesday afternoon in Westwood, extending the Trojans’ win streak against their crosstown rival to seven consecutive duals and improving to 8-3 on the season.
“It’s always just fun playing UCLA. At ours, theirs, wherever we can play them,” said graduate student Bradley Frye. “This is the last time I will be here playing, so that is always really fun.”
Wednesday’s victory marks the second time this season that the Trojans have swept the Bruins 4-0 with their first victory coming during a home match back on Jan. 29 during ITA Kickoff Weekend.
“Any time you get to play and beat the Bruins is a good day,” said Head Coach Brett Masi. “Our guys came ready to play and we took care of business, so we’re just happy with that.”
Despite playing in the wind and the cold, the Trojans started out the match with a swift victory at the doubles point. They got wins on court one from No. 17 pair senior Stefan Dostanic and Frye and on court three from sophomore Wojtek Marek and senior Samuel Rubell. The victory was the first time the Trojans had won the doubles point since their previous match against UCLA, snapping a six-game losing streak.
“Our guys just came out and they did the things that we can do well, which for doubles is making a lot of first shots and I felt like we did that pretty well,” Masi said. “Especially at one and three doubles, we took care of our serves and made a lot of good first serves, and when we had the chance to break we did.”
With the doubles point under their belt, the Trojans made quick work in their singles matches. The Trojans scored points on straight-set victories from junior Lodewijk Weststrate on court six and Frye on court five before sophomore Peter Makk clinched in straight sets on court two.
“We haven’t been able to play a lot of points, just because the last two weeks the weather has been really crummy. We just talked about playing a little bit more basic, playing a little bit more aggressively,” Masi said. “We played pretty well in doubles and had three steady singles matches, so I am happy with that.”
Wednesday’s match marked the first action the Trojans had seen since they returned from the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago earlier this month, where the Trojans made it to the quarterfinals before falling to No. 2 Kentucky. The Trojans paired their defeat with a loss to No. 11 Georgia in the tournament’s consolation round.
“I’m looking forward to just competing with the guys during practice and growing from here,” Frye said. “We had a tough one the last two matches before this, so I think ending this with the dub is exciting, and hopefully we can keep this going.”
The ITA Championship capped off a long road trip for the Trojans, who had lost at Michigan before heading to the tournament.
“It was definitely really weird because we were gone for maybe nine or 10 days, so I think coming back and kind of getting into the grind of outdoor tennis [was important],” Frye said. “It was good for everyone to just get their school done and get everything situated and get ready for today, and I think we did a great job and the result shows.”
Going into the rest of the season, the Trojans are hoping to capitalize on this victory to keep their momentum strong.
“Honestly, we have just got to start gearing up for the rest of the season, with the matches that are coming up, and then what’s lying ahead later in March,” Masi said. “Each day we are trying to get one percent better, and honestly, today is awesome and we are going to feel good about that, but we are just trying to inch and inch and inch to get better every day.
The Trojans’ next match will be at home against Baylor on March 10 at 5 p.m.