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UCLA Closes Regular Season Against Pepperdine, USC

Apr 13, 2021
Seniors Annette Goulak (right) and Vivian Wolff (Photo: UCLA Athletics)

Date/Time: Wednesday, April 14/1:30 PM PT
    Friday, April 16/1:30 PM PT
Live Stream/Live Stats:
Series vs. PEPP: UCLA leads, 57-19
Series vs. USC: UCLA leads, 56-51
Last Meeting vs. PEPP: Pepperdine won 4-3 on March 12
Last Meeting vs. USC: UCLA won 6-1 on Feb. 26

The No. 9/7 UCLA women's tennis team, fresh off seizing the first outright Pac-12 championship in program history, closes out the regular season with home contests against Los Angeles-area rivals Pepperdine and USC. The Bruins (15-3, 9-0 in Pac-12 play) welcome the No. 5/4 Waves (15-2) to Los Angeles Tennis Center for a rubber match Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., PT. UCLA captured a neutral-court decision between the teams in February before the Waves narrowly took the second meeting at home. The midweek clash also represents the Bruins' Vs. Cancer match. Then, on Friday, the Trojans (11-8, 5-4) visit LATC for another 1:30 p.m. start. UCLA will attempt to sweep the home-and-home season series and finish the conference campaign undefeated.

In compliance with state and county public health guidance, UCLA outdoor home sporting events will be open to a limited number of team guests, beginning April 16. Live streaming and live scoring for all home UCLA women's tennis matches will be available HERE.

UCLA women's tennis holds an all-time record of 57-19 versus Pepperdine. Each team has added to its win column in 2021, with the Bruins logging a 4-2 consolation-match victory at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Stillwater, Okla. (Feb. 7) and the Waves using two late three-set triumphs to capture a 4-3 decision at home (March 12). Elysia Bolton overcame 0-3 and 2-5 third-set deficits to collect the deciding point in the Indoors contest. UCLA is 56-51 against USC, most recently securing the first five points en route to a 6-1 win on the road (Feb. 26). Sasha Vagramov picked up her second decider in as many career rivalry matches. She backed up straight-set efforts by Abbey Forbes and Annette Goulak in singles play and was later supported by Bolton and Vivian Wolff.

UCLA earned 7-0 victories over Stanford and California, clinching the outright Pac-12 regular-season championship in the process. Vivian Wolff contributed the deciding point in each match. Against the Cardinal, the Bruins posted a pair of decisive doubles wins and never looked back, taking five first sets and a pair of three-set decisions. Dating back to 1986, UCLA had never posted a shutout of Stanford in which all matches were completed. The Bruins completed the sweep the next day, with the 1-2 combination of Abbey Forbes and Jada Hart finshing on the singles courts before Wolff. Just one match with the Golden Bears was extended to three sets.

With its April 10 win over California, the UCLA women's tennis team clinched the first outright Pac-12 regular-season championship in program history. The 2008 Bruins shared the conference title with Stanford. Since April 14, 2019, head coach Stella Sampras Webster's teams have gone 13-0 in Pac-12 play, outscoring opponents by a margin of 52 points (65-13). This year alone, UCLA has a 49-6 advantage over its conference foes. The Bruins are 41-5 in Pac-12 singles matches this season, with Abbey Forbes (8-0), Jada Hart (7-0), Annette Goulak (6-0), Vanessa Ong (3-0) and Elysia Bolton (2-0) all possessing unblemished records.

In a letter to the UCLA community April 23, 2020, Jada Hart announced she would take advantage of an additional year of eligibility provided by the NCAA after the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. Hart said, "Knowing I was going to get an extra year to end my UCLA career on my terms was an opportunity I could not pass up ... I'm very blessed to get one more year to wear the blue and gold and be surrounded by an amazing team that I get to call MY FAMILY." On March 19, she earned career win No. 200 alongside doubles partner Abbey Forbes. Hart holds a career singles record of 93-39 and currently sits in 11th place on the program's career wins list (since 1991). On the doubles side, she possesses a record of 116-38 and captured the 2019 Oracle ITA Fall National Championships doubles title with partner Elysia Bolton. Hart has a chance to become the ninth four-time All-American in UCLA women's tennis history.

In addition to Jada Hart, who was set to celebrate her Senior Day in 2020 before having it postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, Abi Altick, Sophie Bendetti, Annette Goulak and Vivian Wolff will be honored Friday.

One season removed from collecting five of eight Pac-12 Player of the Week awards, UCLA student-athletes have received four conference honors in 2021. Most recently, Abbey Forbes earned her third-career POTW — and second of the campaign — after going 4-0 across her singles and doubles matches to help the Bruins emphatically claim the first outright Pac-12 regular-season championship in program history with 7-0 wins against both Stanford and California. Elysia Bolton, who was on court for the first and final points of UCLA's ITA Kickoff Weekend win over Texas A&M, also received her third. Jada Hart brought in the sixth of her career after a trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships that included singles wins over then-No. 94 Lulu Sun of Texas and then-No. 45 Lexi Ryngler of Pepperdine. Forbes was also recognized after knocking off the nation's then-No. 1 player, Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine, in the Bruins' 4-3 loss to the Waves. UCLA women's tennis has garnered 34 Pac-12 Player of the Week awards in program history.

The UCLA women's tennis team remained slotted at No. 4 in the Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25, it was announced Wednesday. Oracle ITA also released its latest team rankings Wednesday, unveiling both its computerized rankings and the coaches poll. The Bruins are No. 9 in the computerized rankings and No. 7 in the coaches poll. The newest Oracle ITA player rankings, revealed Tuesday, March 30, include Elysia Bolton, Abbey Forbes and Jada Hart of UCLA. Forbes is the No. 11 singles player, while Bolton checks in at No. 113 and Hart sits in a tie at No. 121. Forbes and Hart also appear on the doubles list, making up the No. 79 combination.

Twelve of Abbey Forbes' 16 singles opponents in 2021 have been slotted in the top 100 of the Oracle ITA singles rankings when the meetings occurred. Eleven have been nationally ranked. Forbes, who is listed at No. 11 in the rankings, is 11-1 against top-100 opponents and 15-1 overall. She is 4-0 against top-20 foes, knocking off then-No. 1 Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine, then-No. 5 Anna Turati of Texas and then-No. 18 Haley Giavara of California on two occasions. All four of those matches, as well as 10 other Forbes wins, were finished in straight sets. Her only loss of the season came against then-No. 33 Jessica Failla of Pepperdine, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Stillwater, Okla.

A bevy of Bruins is active on the professional circuits, with Jennifer Brady (2014, 2015) and Ena Shibahara (2017, 2018) currently building off breakout 2020 campaigns. Brady climbed to a career-best No. 13 in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings on Feb. 22. That was achieved in large part due to her performances at the 2020 US Open and, most recently, the 2021 Australian Open. The ranking also represents the best-ever showing by a Bruin. Brady advanced to the singles final round at the Australian Open, surpassing her semifinal-round showing at the US Open just months earlier. Brady also captured the first WTA title of her career in the singles draw of the 2020 Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky. Shibahara, meanwhile, has attained much of her success in doubles play. Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama won the biggest title of their careers at the Miami Open earlier this month. The duo has also claimed the top spots at the Abu Dhabi Open and the Yarra Valley Classic events in 2021. Shibahara/Aoyama has now won six titles on the WTA Tour. Shibahara reached a career-high No. 13 in the WTA doubles rankings on April 5.

Head coach Stella Sampras Webster is in her 25th season at the helm of the UCLA women's tennis program, compiling an impressive overall record of 468-169 (.735). She is the second-longest-tenured active coach at UCLA, behind men's tennis head coach Billy Martin. Sampras Webster has guided her alma mater to NCAA championships in 2008 and 2014, the first two in program history. Her teams have finished top-10 nationally in 20 of her 23 completed seasons and in the top five 14 times. Three doubles pairs have won NCAA titles under Sampras Webster's tutelage, most recently Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield in 2019.