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Women's Tennis to Open Pac-12 Play at Colorado, Utah

Mar 2, 2022
Elise Wagle (Photo: Ross Turteltaub)

The 16th-ranked UCLA women's tennis team is set to start Pac-12 play, when it travels to Colorado and Utah. The Bruins (4-3) will first meet the Buffaloes (4-3) Friday at 12 p.m. PT. Head coach Stella Sampras Webster's team will then take on the No. 27 Utes (11-1) Sunday at 11 a.m. PT.

FOLLOW LIVE
The match at Colorado will be held outdoors, at the CU South Campus Tennis Complex, with live stats available HERE. Live video from Utah's matches at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center can be found HERE, while up-to-the-minute results will be displayed HERE.

LAST TIME OUT
UCLA beat crosstown rival USC, 4-1, in a non-conference contest Friday, Feb. 25 at Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins dropped just three total games in its two completed doubles matches and took a 2-0 lead before the Trojans broke through with their first win of the day. Abbey Forbes clinched the overall victory in straight sets, following up winning singles efforts by Ava Catanzarite and Kimmi Hance. Catanzarite, Forbes and Hance each won twice on the day. Snow Han turned in the lone victory of the day for USC.

UCLA VS. COLORADO, UTAH
UCLA women's tennis holds all-time records of 10-0 versus Colorado and 19-0 against Utah. The 2021 Bruins logged shutouts of the Utes and Buffaloes on back-to-back days. UCLA registered a 7-0 defeat of Utah (March 19), as Jada Hart recorded her 200th- and 201st-career victories. All nine completed matches were won by the Bruins, with the Utes unable to take a set. Vanessa Ong clinched the win. The next day, UCLA triumphed by a 4-0 score against Colorado. The Bruins surrendered just six total games in the finished singles matches, with Vivian Wolff proving to be the clincher for the first time in her UCLA career. Ong and Abbey Forbes were also victorious in singles play.

FORBES VOTED PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Abbey Forbes was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for Feb. 21-27, the conference announced Tuesday. She was a key contributor to the Bruins' home sweep of No. 7 California (Feb. 21) and No. 12 USC (Feb. 25), which were handed 6-1 and 4-1 losses, respectively. Forbes and UCLA bounced back from losing the doubles point in the opener, as the junior kick started a singles sweep with her 6-1, 6-1 defeat of the Golden Bears' Haley Giavara on Court 1. Against their crosstown rivals, Forbes had a hand in securing the first and last points for the Bruins. The 30th-ranked combination of Forbes and Ava Catanzarite recorded a 6-2 win against No. 19 Salma Ewing and Snow Han on Court 2 to give UCLA a lead it would not relinquish. Then, with her team leading by a 3-1 score, Forbes sealed the victory with a 6-4, 7-5 triumph over the fifth-ranked Eryn Cayetano.

IN THE RANKINGS
UCLA jumped from No. 56 to No. 16 in the ITA team rankings, released Wednesday. The team is No. 19 in the latest Tennis Channel/USTA College Tennis Top 25, also unveiled Wednesday. On Feb. 24, six Bruins were slotted in the ITA individual rankings. Sasha Vagramov leads the way on the singles list, at No. 102. Kimmi Hance moved up a spot to No. 111 and Abbey Forbes rounded out the trio at No. 115. The doubles combination of Elysia Bolton and Elise Wagle checked in at No. 28, while Forbes and Ava Catanzarite found themselves at No. 30. As a team, the Bruins completed the 2020-21 season slotted at No. 5 by the ITA.

FRESH TAKES
When freshmen Ava Catanzarite, Kimmi Hance and Elise Wagle registered singles wins in UCLA's 6-1 home win versus California Feb. 21, it represented the first time since April 14, 2012 that three first-year Bruins triumphed individually in a dual match. In that 2012 contest, a 5-2 UCLA victory against Stanford at Los Angeles Tennis Center, four freshmen – Robin Anderson, Skylar Morton, Kaitlin Ray and Chanelle Van Nguyen – were all victorious.

BOUNCING BACK
In its 6-1 non-conference win against visiting California Feb. 21 at Los Angeles Tennis Center, UCLA responded emphatically to losing the doubles point. The Bruins claimed each singles first set and ultimately five straight-set victories. Elise Wagle, who overcame a 1-5 first-set deficit, was forced into a 10-point tiebreaker, which she won to complete the sweep. The Golden Bears were ranked No. 7 at the time of the match. The last time UCLA was victorious in such a fashion was April 18, 2007, when the Bruins recovered versus Pepperdine at LATC.

FALL RECAP
Bruins made appearances at five events during the fall. Abbey Forbes took part in two national singles tournaments, notching wins against nationally-ranked opponents at the ITA All-American Championships and ITA National Fall Championships. The combination of Vanessa Ong and Elise Wagle posted the standout performance, capturing the doubles title at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships to earn a spot in the year-end national field. Sasha Vagramov led the team with seven singles victories, a total helped in large part by her run to the ITA Southwest Regionals quarterfinal round.

2020-21 IN REVIEW
The 2020-21 UCLA women's tennis team collected the first outright Pac-12 title in program history, going 10-0 in regular-season conference tilts. The Bruins outscored their league foes by a 53-6 margin during the regular season. The team went on to reach the NCAA Championships quarterfinal round before it was felled by eventual national runner-up Pepperdine in a 4-3 decision that dropped its final record to 22-5. Abbey Forbes was named the Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year and earned the conference's Doubles Team of the Year award alongside Jada Hart. Forbes, Hart and Elysia Bolton all received ITA All-America recognition.

WHO'S BACK?
Defending Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year and two-time ITA All-America selection Abbey Forbes is one of six UCLA returners. She was also part of the conference's Doubles Team of the Year in 2021, alongside Jada Hart. Forbes logged a singles record of 24-3 and a doubles mark of 13-2 as a sophomore. Also back is Elysia Bolton, who is looking to become just the 10th four-time All-American in program history. Bolton went 10-4 in singles matches and 14-5 in doubles play, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships doubles tournament with Jada Hart in 2021. The senior class is comprised of Bolton and Taylor Johnson, the latter of which won five straight-set singles results against just one loss and teamed with Bolton and Abi Altick on the doubles courts last year. Junior Sasha Vagramov, who went 5-1 in Pac-12 singles matches and 9-5 overall, is also back. Coming off a near-perfect debut, sophomore Vanessa Ong (5-1 singles, 4-0 doubles) is back, and junior Caroline Goldberg rounds out the quartet of second- and third-year Bruins on the roster.

WHO'S GONE?
The quartet of Abi Altick, Annette Goulak, Jada Hart and Vivian Wolff is gone from the 2021 Pac-12 regular-season champions. Altick was a consistent presence on the singles (65-26 career record) and doubles (64-20) courts and occupied the third doubles court with Elysia Bolton and Taylor Johnson in 2021. Goulak had a standout final year, posting 18-3 singles and doubles records. Four-time ITA All-America selection Hart won 217 total matches (94-41 singles, 123-40 doubles) during her five seasons at UCLA and was named half of the 2021 Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year with frequent partner Abbey Forbes. Wolff played exclusively with Goulak on the second doubles court and went 11-7 in singles matches during her only season with the Bruins, playing primarily on Court 4.

WHO'S NEW?
The trio of Ava Catanzarite, Kimmi Hance and Elise Wagle is new to the UCLA roster. Each student-athlete was a Blue Chip prospect coming out of high school, according to TennisRecruiting.net. Catanzarite, from Pittsburgh, Pa., won Girls' 16 doubles Gold Balls at the 2019 Easter Bowl in Indian Wells, Calif. and the 2018 National Winter Championships in Orlando, Fla. Torrance, Calif. native Hance captured the Girls' 18 doubles championship with partner Reese Brantmeier at the ITF JA Plantation (Orange Bowl) event in 2020. Wagle, out of Niskayuna, N.Y., took home the Girls' 16 doubles titles at the 2019 USTA Billie Jean King National Championships (with partner Katja Wiersholm) in San Diego, the 2018 Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships (with partner Carson Tanguilig) in Plantation, Fla. and the 2018 USTA Girls' 16 National Clay Court Championships (with partner Valenica Xu) in Memphis, Tenn.

HEAD COACH STELLA SAMPRAS WEBSTER
Head coach Stella Sampras Webster is in her 26th season at the helm of the UCLA women's tennis program, compiling an impressive overall record of 479-174 (.734). 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 21 of her 24 completed seasons and in the top five 15 times. Three doubles pairs have won NCAA titles under Sampras Webster's tutelage, most recently Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield in 2019.