Widgets Magazine

Women’s Tennis Squares Off Against Rival UCLA

After booking its ticket to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships, the No. 1 Stanford women’s tennis team (3-0) had a week of practice to prepare for a tough early-season test against No. 5 UCLA (4-0) this weekend.

“Last week we had three matches, so that was pretty strenuous,” said senior Carolyn McVeigh. “This week we’ve been working on our games and working on a lot of doubles play. It’s nice to get the group together. Last week we couldn’t work that much because we had to be prepared for the matches.”

The victory over No. 39 Oklahoma on Saturday after was a good learning experience for the freshmen on the team. Stanford bounced back after an early setback in doubles play and swept the singles points to earn a 6-1 victory.

Top ranked women's tennis team welcomes No. 5 UCLA for Pac-10 showdown. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

“Right after we lost the doubles point, all of us were just so focused,” said freshman Kristie Ahn. “[Head coach] Lele [Forood] likes to say, ‘as soon as doubles is over, forget about it. Go straight to singles.’ The upperclassmen did a really good job of preparing us, too.”

The young team’s promising mental fortitude is a good sign going into the match against a UCLA team that provided Stanford with its most one-sided loss of last year. After dropping the doubles point in that match, Stanford could only muster one victory to avoid the sweep. Current senior Hilary Barte defeated Yasmin Schnack, 7-5, 2-6, (10-7).

Stanford prevailed over the Bruins, 5-2, two months later, and the players maintain that this year’s UCLA squad is a different story.

“I don’t think we’ve talked a lot or at all about last year,” Barte said. “We’re just looking forward to playing them on Saturday. It’s a brand new challenge and a brand new squad they have.”

UCLA’s biggest change has come at the No. 1 spot. Last year, Schnack was a dominant singles and doubles player for the Bruins, and she paired up with Andrea Remynse to make a run to the NCAA national semifinals in doubles, ending the season with a 40-8 overall record.

This season, McCall Jones has taken over the No. 1 position. A transfer from Brigham Young University, Jones is a junior listed at No. 26 in the Preseason ITA Singles rankings.

“Yasmin was a really solid singles and doubles player,” McVeigh said. “So I think they’re definitely going to miss her a little bit.”

This year’s team appears to be particularly prepared for the challenge, even though several of the freshmen are facing their first big Pac-10 test.

“We’ve seen a lot of really great stuff from them [the freshmen] so far,” McVeigh said. “They’ve had really successful junior careers before Stanford so they know what it’s like to play in big situations. I know they’re going to battle and give it their all.”

Over the past several seasons, UCLA has become a big rival for the Cardinal in both Pac-10 and national competition, claiming their first NCAA Championship in 2008 as Stanford struggled. But since then, the Card is 2-1 against the Bruins with its own NCAA championship in 2010–the lone Stanford loss being the 6-1 blowout in Los Angeles last year.

“Losing to them last year was a wakeup call for the team,” McVeigh said. “We started working a lot harder. We knew that even though we were really good, we had to bring our best for every match. They won NCAAs two seasons ago and they’ve been one of our rivals ever since then.”

The match is scheduled for noon on Saturday at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.