Stella Sampras [Archive] -

Stella Sampras

05-17-2005, 11:26 PM

Stella Sampras Webster enters her ninth season as the head coach of the UCLA women's tennis program with a career record of 133-77 (.633). Sampras Webster became only the third head coach in UCLA women's tennis history when she was named the successor to longtime head coach Bill Zaima, who announced his retirement effective the end of the 1996 season.

In her first eight seasons at UCLA, Sampras Webster guided the Bruins to seven top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including five top-5 showings (1997, 2000 2002, 2003 and 2004). Just last season, UCLA reached the NCAA Finals for the first time since 1991. It was also marked the first time since 1991 that the Bruins surpassed the 20-win mark, finishing 21-8 overall. Sampras Webster has recruited and coached some of the top players in collegiate tennis as, under her tutelage, 11 Bruins have achieved All-America status. In 2000, she was named the ITA West Region Coach of the Year.

A 1991 graduate of UCLA with a degree in Psychology, Sampras Webster enjoyed a successful four-year career as a Bruin player from 1987-91 and competed on the pro circuit for a season prior to joining Zaima's staff. An NCAA Doubles Champion as a freshman in 1988 with Allyson Cooper, Sampras Webster was also the NCAA doubles runner-up as a senior in 1991 with Kimberly Po. A four-time All-American, Sampras Webster was only the second player in UCLA history to obtain this status. She also won the 1989 and '91 Pac-10 doubles championship and the 1990 Rolex Regional doubles title. Sampras Webster completed her UCLA career ranked No. 3 nationally in doubles and No. 42 in singles. Team accomplishments were most important to Sampras Webster, who helped lead the Bruins to four straight NCAA Top-3 finishes.

As a professional, Sampras Webster's highest international singles ranking was No. 250, and her best in doubles was No. 130. Her professional highlights include competing in both singles and doubles at the U.S. Open and Lipton Championships. She advanced to the U.S. Open second round in doubles and also competed in doubles at Wimbledon. She also won three satellite tournament titles and competed in Team Tennis for the Wichita Advantage in 1992.

Born in Potomac, Md., Sampras Webster moved to the Los Angeles area as a child and graduated from Palos Verdes High School. A top-three player in Southern California and among the top-10 in the country as a junior, Sampras Webster claimed the CIF doubles title as a freshman and the singles title as a senior in 1987. She capped her high school career by being named her school's Athlete of the Year.

The second-oldest of four children of Sam and Georgia Sampras, Stella considers the support of her entire family most significant. Younger brother Pete demonstrated his level of support for Stella and the Bruin program when he personally endowed a scholarship and assisted with the important fund-raising effort in Stella's first fall at the helm. Pete has won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, including seven of the last nine at Wimbledon.

Sampras Webster and her husband Steve were married on Jan. 3, 2002 in Dana Point, Calif.

05-17-2005, 11:34 PM

Making a name for herself
Stella Sampras webster has escaped brother’s shadow to find place in tennis world

By Andrew Finley

On Stella Sampras Webster's resume is an impressive list of accolades. She was the best player in her division as a junior, a four-time All-American in college, and is currently the head coach of an elite women's tennis program at UCLA.

Yet the first thing that jumps out at people is her last name.

As the older sister of 14-time grand slam champion Pete Sampras, she has heard the questions asked and the similarities drawn.

"What's your brother up to?" reporters would ask when she was on the professional tour.

"You look so much alike," they'd comment.

At times, Sampras Webster struggled with the spotlight she lost in juniors and the shadow she stepped into as a professional. During her time in Westwood, she watched from afar as her brother rose to the top of the tennis world. Yet never before has she felt more comfortable and proud of her own accomplishments. And this pride is the result of the legacy she has established on her own.

"When I'm at UCLA, I feel like I'm my own person, just because I've gone through this. I've earned a lot from being on the team, being an assistant coach and now head coach.

"It's my own place. Pete was never here. He didn't help me get this job. This is my home. It's what I've earned, and I feel really proud of that."

Battles on the court

With her Bruins gearing up for another NCAA Tournament run and her brother in retirement, Sampras Webster now has the tennis spotlight in the family all to herself. Yet growing up in Southern California as a junior player, the competition between her and Pete was intense.

"We definitely had our battles when we played each other," Sampras Webster said. "I did not want to lose to him, and he did not want to lose to me. There were times when our parents would have to watch and make sure we weren't cheating – I mean, make sure he wasn't cheating."

Although the siblings started playing tennis at the same time, when Sampras Webster was eight and Pete was six, the matches would usually go the older sister's way. She thinks it was eight years before Pete finally beat her, though she noted that he probably thinks it happened earlier. Although the bitterness of defeat never carried over into the home, family members still sensed the sibling rivalry.

"They'd get into heated matches, where each thought they got robbed and cheated," said Gus, the oldest of four Sampras siblings. "It was very competitive."

Competing against each other in practice allowed each to excel in their junior tournaments. Yet while Sampras Webster was capturing trophies in her own age division, Pete was picking up quality wins in higher age groups. Sampras Webster may have boasted a more impressive record, but Pete was attracting more outside attention because of his raw talent and endless potential.

"Pete was a natural talent and Stella was a hard worker," Gus said. "Stella's drive and dedication was going to take her so far, but Pete had the natural talent."

The hype Pete received stirred some feelings of jealousy and resentment in Sampras Webster, largely because she saw Pete more as her little brother rather than a tennis phenom.

"When you're younger, you just want that attention from parents or people, and when you have a sibling that's getting a lot of it, you start wanting it," Sampras Webster said. "It's a natural feeling."

Along with the attention, the match results between the siblings also began to shift Pete's way. Everyone in the family, including Sampras Webster, understood it was only a matter of time before Pete began regularly winning the contests. By the time she was 17, losses were no longer blows to Sampras Webster's ego, and instead became a part of reality.

"I wanted to prove that I was just as good and a great player," Sampras Webster said. "I was. I did really well, but I couldn't compare myself to him."

Taking a separate path

For Sampras Webster, the feelings of jealousy subsided as Pete moved to the professional ranks and she enrolled at UCLA in 1987. College wasn't a disappointing alternative to the pros; it was her ultimate goal.

"When I first came, I didn't want to go on the tour," said Sampras Webster, who is expecting twins in August. "I just wanted to get my education, enjoy college and do well with my tennis. I wanted to be a teacher, get married, have kids, and all that."

While her brother was driven to become the best player in the world, Sampras Webster was motivated by what she could accomplish in school. Earning a scholarship and having a social life were always more important to her than traveling every week and becoming a top-20 player in the world. By taking a different path than her brother, Sampras Webster no longer felt the bitterness she had a few years earlier.

"When I went to college, I kind of had my own identity then," Sampras Webster said. "It wasn't so much about Pete or anyone else. I was able to be on my own, and that was my goal."

She forged her own identity on the court very quickly at UCLA. As a freshman, she captured the NCAA doubles championship. By the time Pete won his first major, the 1990 U.S. Open, Sampras Webster had already led her team to the Final Four three times and was a three-time All-American.

"Instead of sharing the spotlight, she was able to make a name for herself at UCLA and on the team," Gus said.

Having dedicated so much of her life to tennis and having enjoyed tremendous levels of success, Sampras Webster decided to follow in her brother's footsteps and give the professional ranks a try after all. But for the most part, she was following as a shadow figure.

"Once they found out I was his sister, papers would want to interview me in every town I went to," Sampras Webster said. "They'd ask questions about him, not about me."

She'd get abnormally large crowds for a player who wasn't ranked in the top 100, and she realized the reason fans came was because of who she was, not what she did.

"They all knew me as Pete's sister," Sampras Webster said. "It was a lot of attention, and I'm not one to want and seek attention. It's not the most comfortable thing for me.

"I'd rather them come out and watch me for my tennis."

During Sampras Webster's one year on the tour, her brother captured more than half a dozen singles titles. Competing in the same realm as Pete, she felt the weighty expectations and lost what she had gained during college.

"On tour, I did feel the pressure," Sampras Webster said. "I didn't have much of an identity."

Building her own legacy

Sampras Webster insists it was the demanding lifestyle, not the pressure, that drove her away from the tour. When then-UCLA head coach Bill Zaima called to offer her a position on his coaching staff in 1993, it made leaving that much more of an appealing option.

Returning to UCLA enabled Sampras Webster to move back into the comfort zone she had fallen out of while on the tour. In 1996, Zaima retired and handed the reins to his former player. For the past nine seasons, Sampras Webster has headed the program that made her feel so unique in the first place.

"I have done a lot, and the people I work with know what I've done and what I've earned," she said. "They don't know me as Pete's sister. They know me as Stella, the head coach at UCLA."

Though her brother's status wasn't involved in any hiring decisions, it has been a nice boon for Sampras Webster since taking over. In her first year at the helm, Pete endowed a scholarship and helped raise an additional $100,000 for the program.

Additionally, Sampras Webster acknowledges that her last name, no longer a source of pressure or jealousy, may instead be a recruiting tool. Players on the team have said that when they were considering schools, UCLA was a particularly intriguing option because of the Sampras affiliation.

"If people are interested, it's a nice advantage because they already know something about me," Sampras Webster said. "At other schools, they might not know the background of the coach, but they know what Pete's like on the court and hopefully what kind of person he is. It's a reflection of our family.

"They know that we're a close family and have character. It could make a difference."

The closeness has been particularly apparent since Pete retired in 2002. Over the past few years, he has been a familiar face at many of the Bruins' home matches, and last season, he attended the team's banquet.

"At first, the freshmen will be a little starstruck," Sampras Webster said. "The rest have seen him around so much that it's not such a big event. He's talked to some of my players. They see that he's just another normal guy with unbelievable talent."

Pete's talent is now a source of pride for Sampras Webster. Her heated battles with him are a childhood memory. Her stint on the professional tour is a footnote and her career at UCLA is at the forefront. Because this is where she's never been in the shadow.

05-17-2005, 11:52 PM

The right stuff
UCLA alumna Stella Sampras knows what it’s like to be a part of the team

By Hannah Gordon
Daily Bruin Contributor

The choice was simple.

When Women's Tennis Head Coach Bill Zaima was looking for someone to groom as his successor in 1992, he had two people in mind. One was already his assistant coach and had been No. 9 in the world. The other, Stella Sampras, was No. 250 in the world and just graduated college.

The choice was simply Sampras.

Although she had just started her professional career after graduating from UCLA only a year before, Zaima knew he wanted Sampras.

"I was thinking of her when she was still a player. Stella was as good a captain and team leader as we've ever had in the program," said Zaima, who was head coach for 16 seasons.

As a student, Sampras had the respect of all of her teammates as well as that of the coaching staff.

Zaima felt it was time for someone to lead who had come through the program and had the same college experience as the team.

"Stella went through the program at its height, due in large part to her efforts as a player," he added.

Sampras' years at UCLA were some of the best the program has seen, as she helped lead the team to four-straight NCAA top-three finishes. She was only the second player in UCLA history to be a four-time NCAA All American.

Over lunch, Zaima told Sampras that he was looking for an assistant coach to groom to take over the program.

"I had no idea I would become a coach," Sampras said. "It is a huge honor to be coaching at UCLA."

Sampras was so excited about the opportunity that she quit the WTA tour, where she had appeared in Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, to take the job.

After three years as an assistant coach, she took over the program.

Zaima's intuition was correct: Sampras makes an excellent coach because she has been in the same shoes as the young women she coaches.

"Stella has been in your exact situation so she understands your social or academic problems as well as tennis problems," said senior Jennifer Donahue.

"But that means you can't put anything by her. She knows if you're tired at practice that you went out last night," she added with a laugh.

Sampras does not like to discipline her team, but she expects it to be classy, hard-working and committed. In return, her players have nothing but the highest regard for her.

"You have to work hard, but Stella makes tennis a lot of fun," said freshman Mariko Fritz-Krockow.

She also has no problems with her players.

"You can trust her, tell her any problem, and she will listen to whatever you have to say," Fritz-Krockow said.

Sampras' players trust her on the court as well.

"When we play doubles and we don't know what to do, we look at her for an answer and she always knows," said junior Petya Marinova.

Sampras once thought she would be an elementary school teacher. The qualities that would have made Sampras a great teacher make her a great coach.

"Her motivation style is different: everything is based on caring," said Assistant Coach Jon Reeves. "She has a huge heart, she's not one to raise a voice or be tough on kids in that sense."

Taking care of her players comes naturally to Sampras, but that doesn't mean she takes the job lightly.

"Sometimes I feel kind of like their mom. I'll get calls at six or seven o'clock at night. I like that responsibility," she said.

The attention that Sampras gives her players on and off the court pays off. Sampras took the Bruins to three top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and these accomplishments were recognized by her colleagues when she was named ITA West Region Coach of the year in 2000. This season has been a challenging one, but her positive energy helped the team win the Pac-10 Tournament on April 29.

Nine years after approaching Sampras with the opportunity to coach, the choice is still clear to Zaima.

"I've seen her grow to be one of the best coaches in the country," he said. "And I knew she would."

05-19-2005, 03:23 PM
How come such things always comes to Angiel's notice??

05-23-2005, 07:37 PM
How come such things always comes to Angiel's notice??

I am you guardian angel - and I love all thing Pete & family - plus tennis. :wavey: :wavey: :D

05-27-2005, 08:37 PM
UCLA Tennis doubles solid for third round

By David Garcia Daily Bruin

Los Angeles, CA (U-WIRE) -- When the season began, UCLA women's tennis coach Stella Sampras Webster knew her team's success would hinge upon whether the Bruins could field a reliable doubles lineup.

So far, so good. Heading into their match against USC in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, the Bruins' doubles play has become the backbone of their attack.

"We've made some changes throughout the season," Sampras Webster said. "Now that they know who they're playing with, they are working better together. They know their partners better now."

For Sampras Webster, the team's No. 1 doubles spot was never in question, as Riza Zalameda and Daniela Bercek were ranked as high as second in the nation during the season and are currently ranked fourth.

But the second and third doubles teams were an area of concern early in the season. Over their first five matches, Sampras Webster used three different doubles lineups, partly to figure out which teams worked out best and partly because of injuries.

Now, however, the doubles lineup looks to be set in stone with Alex McGoodwin and Laura Gordon in the No. 2 slot, while Sarah Gregg and Tracy Lin hold down the third position.

The results are undeniable: The Bruins have won 10 of 11 matches and have won the doubles point in all but one of those victories.

"I think at this point, we have found the right teams," said McGoodwin, who has seen action in both the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles courts.

"We're all pretty comfortable with each other. We worked up to this point all year, now we just have to go out and execute."

McGoodwin teamed with Gordon midway through the season and the pair have not split since, compiling a respectable 9-3 record.

"We were kind of up-and-down at first," McGoodwin said. "We had a couple of bad matches and a couple really good matches, but right now we both feel that we are playing really well."

As for the third doubles team, after being shuffled around during the season due to injuries, Gregg and Lin have solidified the back end of the lineup.

The stability of the doubles teams has been vital to the Bruins' second-half run, allowing the team to carry a great deal of momentum to Athens, Ga., for their match with the Trojans.

"We know what we need to do," Sampras Webster said. "I think we know our strengths and weaknesses now, and we are working together more as a team than individuals out there."

(C) 2004 Daily Bruin via U-WIRE

06-02-2005, 07:34 PM

06-06-2005, 10:30 PM

W. tennis: Women’s tennis sweeps weekend, headed to Georgia despite playing below expectations

No. 10 ucla confident in upcoming NCAA tournament round of 16 match with USC

By David Garcia

While the Bruins were on their home courts over the weekend, their minds were already on Georgia.

The tenth-seeded UCLA women's tennis team cruised through the first two rounds of the NCAA Regionals, effortlessly blanking Illinois State on Friday 4-0 before defeating Pac-10 counterpart Washington by the same score on Saturday.

With the weekend sweep, the Bruins punched their ticket to Athens, Ga., for the NCAA Round of 16 next week.

"We just wanted to beat Washington and get it over with," freshman Riza Zalameda said.

"We knew we were going to Athens. It wasn't really a question of if we were going to go or not."

Despite not surrendering a point all weekend, UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster still believes her team can perform better.

"I wouldn't say we played great in singles," Sampras Webster said of the match against the Huskies.

"But we played pretty well. I knew that Washington was going to come out fired up for the singles and weren't going to give up, but we handled the pressure."

After dominating the doubles point against Washington, UCLA (17-5) ran into trouble in singles play, as Washington battled to keep their postseason hopes alive.

"Everyone was not playing their best tennis today," said Zalameda, who clinched the win with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dinka Hadzic.

"In my match, I was really frustrated because I'm expected to win and I know my game is better than hers."

Even if the Bruins weren't at their best, their efforts were more than good enough to polish off the Huskies. Sophomore Daniela Bercek had little difficulty defeating Dea Sumantri 6-1, 6-3 on Court 1 to put the Bruins up 2-0.

"It wasn't easy," Bercek said. "But I was feeling very confident so I finished my match fast."

After Bercek knocked off Sumantri, junior Laura Gordon dispatched Stephanie Svanfeldt 7-5, 6-4 on Court 6 to put the Bruins one win away from clinching. Zalameda then closed the door on Washington's season on Court 2, securing UCLA's spot in the NCAA Championships.

"We know that if we have a bad day, we could be done," Sampras Webster said. "We're looking pretty good, but we're prepared to take it one match at a time."

With the two victories, UCLA has now compiled an impressive 10 wins in their last 11 matches, losing only to No. 1 Stanford in that span.

Awaiting UCLA on Thursday will be crosstown rival USC, who the Bruins beat 5-2 in their regular-season finale.

Last season, the Bruins beat the Trojans in the Round of 16 during their run to the finals.

This year, UCLA knows it's not going to be sneaking up on any teams. And that doesn't bother the players one bit.

"I don't feel any pressure," Bercek said. "Last year, nobody expected us to get into the finals, so this year there are expectations, but we don't think about it."

06-11-2005, 08:44 PM

UCLA Women's Tennis Signs Jackie Carleton to Letter of Intent
Top U.S. junior will join Bruins in 2002.

Nov. 30, 2001

Los Angeles - UCLA head women's tennis coach Stella Sampras announced the signing of Jackie Carleton to a letter of intent Friday. She will be a freshman in the 2002-03 season.

Carleton, who is from of Jenkintown, Pa., but currently trains at the John Newcombe Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Tex., is ranked No. 16 in the USTA Girls' 18s singles rankings. This past August, she won the doubles and reached the singles final at the USTA International Grass Courts in Philadelphia.

"We are very excited that Jackie is going to be a Bruin next year," said coach Sampras. "She is one of the top junior players in the country and will help us in both singles and doubles. She is the type of player that can help us win a national championship

06-14-2005, 11:07 PM

Playing College Tennis Before Turning Pro

by Emma Peetz.

With any big dream comes obstacles -- the tennis world is no exception

For many talented junior players around the world today, breaking into the professional ranks can be overwhelming. It takes a whole lot more than just hitting a good ball to make the transition into pro tennis and, of course, if any of these young players do have holes in their games, you can bet that the bigger tennis sharks out there are going to find them.

In other words, even a solid career in junior tennis -- no matter how great the results -- is not always enough to make it on the pro circuit. Tournament schedules, travel itineraries, cutting costs, and deep second serves, are only a handful of the things that must be considered.

In an attempt to solve these transitional problems, graduating junior players have been turning in increasing numbers to the collegiate system to find professional success -- and it's working. In fact, the majority of today's top-ranked collegiate players, and their coaches, will all tell you that it's one of the smartest decisions any young player can make.

"It was an easy choice for me," said Stanford's No. 1 player, Geoff Salzenstein. "I was not physically, mentally, or emotionally ready to play pro tennis."

Salzenstein, was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally in the 18s age group. However, compared to other top-ranked junior players like him, he didn't have a lot of overseas playing experience. International junior events -- like Wimbledon or the French Open -- he hadn't played.

For this 22-year-old from Englewood, Colo., now ranked No. 5 on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Rolex Collegiate Rankings poll in singles, college has been an opportunity to mature, and to prepare for a life on the circuit.

"I've been able to grow up a lot in college," Salzenstein said. "I haven't had to worry about growing up so fast because I was on the pro tour."

In fact, Salzenstein has the best of both worlds.

At the beginning of the 1995-96 season he took time off from the collegiate calendar to play in a number of USTA Satellite events as an amateur. Upon his return to collegiate tennis in the spring, he won the 1996 Rolex Intercollegiate Indoor Singles Championship, the third leg of the ITA's Collegiate Grand Slam.

Obviously, because collegiate players are offered a test run on the professional circuit, college seems to be a sensible option for young players who don't want to turn pro right away.

In other words, players at the collegiate level can afford a few losses at the pro level. They've got more tennis matches and coaching waiting for them back at the college courts -- and should they decide that pro tennis is not for them -- these student-athletes can look to their academic credentials for new direction.

In regard to turning professional, UCLA's head women's tennis coach Stella Sampras said, "So many young players think that the circuit is so glamorous, but once they're there, there's no turning back -- you can't go back to college and play."

Sampras knows what she's talking about.

Before coming to the UCLA program four years ago, she played on the circuit for a year. However, her own struggle with the world rankings -- 240 in singles and 150 in doubles -- hasn't stopped her from encouraging her players to go out there and try it.

Under her wing are top players Keri Phebus and Jane Chi, ranked No. 4 and No. 27 respectively on the Rolex Collegiate Rankings poll. To help them make the transition into pro tennis, Sampras monitors their progress daily.

However, when it comes to competition in the collegiate arena, Sampras says that even at this level it's tough to get a win.

"In college," she said, "players are really good. They can't just go out there and hit ground strokes. We concentrate on developing a transition game to make them more aggressive."

Thus, while junior players need to have fairly developed games to earn themselves a full tennis scholarship, there's always more to work on.

"A college coach," Sampras said, "is someone to help them work on their game. Jane and Keri always want extra hours on the court -- you can always tell the one's who are more serious."

According to Stanford's Salzenstein, his head coach Dick Gould also promotes an aggressive style of play.

"He teaches us to serve and volley right from the start as freshman, " Salzenstein said. "This intensive work on serve and volley has helped a lot players to make the transition into the pros."

And often, it's for reasons related to Gould's coaching ability that top junior players decide to enter his program.

Freshman Ryan Wolters, also Salzenstein's doubles partner, arrived at Stanford with an impressive record. He was a representative on the U.S. Junior National Team, a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open Junior Singles Championship, and a finalist at the French Open Juniors.

However, in spite of his world junior singles ranking of No. 20, and No. 4 in doubles, Wolters felt that his game still needed work.

"Before I came to college I wanted to go pro," Wolters said, "but I knew that there were some holes in my game -- I knew that I could get good coaching and good matches in college."

He's right. Aside from the coaching court, collegiate tennis can schedule up to 50 matches in any given season.

For Wolters, his approach to college is kept simple. "As long as I'm getting better -- I'll keep coming back," he said.

Georgia's No. 1 player Stephen Baldas, a 21-year-old sophomore from Australia, is another player who entered the collegiate ranks with an impressive international junior record. As a former Junior Wimbledon Doubles winner (1992), he offers good insight into the pros and cons of the professional circuit.

"When you're just out of high school, it's very difficult to leave home and start traveling by yourself," Baldas said. "In college there's a lot of supervision and freedom at the same time."

More importantly, Baldas believes that college gives players a realistic view of life.

"When I was only playing tennis, I could feel myself getting very stale," Baldas said, "The advantage of college tennis is that you have a full-time coach, you get good matches, and an education.

"Getting another view of things is really important and education gives that to you."

In three years, Baldas expects to graduate with an economics degree but, for now, he plans to turn professional upon leaving the Georgia program.

In a lot of cases; however, players come to college without any exceptional results in the junior ranks. Kylie Hunt, for example, now ranked No. 2 in the nation in singles, hoped that her collegiate coaches could build her game up to professional standards.

Since she began her collegiate career in the 1993-94 academic year, Hunt has transferred from N.C. State University to Kansas, played a handful of satellites as an amateur in Mexico, and won the 1996 Rolex Intercollegiate Indoor Singles Championship.

"I was hoping that my game would mature, and it has," said Hunt, another native of Australia. "I was only an average player in the juniors -- I did nothing great."

Like Salzenstein, Wolters, and Baldas, Hunt also didn't feel ready to handle the pro circuit.

"I'd only played a few satellites at home and I knew that I wasn't ready -- I also didn't have the money," Hunt added.

As an international recruit, Hunt points out that the opportunities to play tennis in the United States has been the main reason behind her collegiate success.

"My coach has given me a different perspective," Hunt said. "I also have a lot more people to hit with now. At home, back in Australia, I had no one to hit with. I had to travel two hours from my town to practice."

Her Kansas coach, Chuck Merzbacher, believes that she still has a lot to learn before turning professional after the NCAA Championships next year.

"Kylie is a serve and volley, chip and charge type of player," Merzbacher said. "I'm so familiar with her game because our playing styles are very similar - she's like a female Chuck Merzbacher. I know what she needs to work on."

Like Baldas, Hunt also looks beyond a career in professional tennis. After she has played on the pro tour, she plans to return to university for an M.A. in sports psychology.

"I'd like to put something back into tennis since it has been so good to me," Hunt said.

Head coach for the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, University of Florida's Andy Brandi, also believes that college is a great training ground for the professional ranks. For seven years, Brandi traveled on the pro tour as a full-time coach, and he draws on this experience to help his collegiate players find international success. The most notable examples of players who have turned professional under his guidance are Nicole Arendt and Lisa Raymond.

Arendt was a mixed doubles finalist in the 1996 Ford Australian Open with Luke Jenson (another former collegiate player -- from UCLA in the late 1980s). And Raymond, who entered the pro circuit at the end of her sophomore year in 1993, is currently ranked No. 20 on the Corel WTA Rankings poll.

"College stresses independence, responsibility, and discipline," Brandi said. "These things are very important for the pros.

"When Lisa won the NCAAs in 1993, she was 99.9 percent ready to turn pro, but I still said 'no.' She was not ready emotionally or mentally to handle it."

Here, Brandi is refering to the added responsibilities that come with being a top player. Pro tennis asks its players to cope with a lot more than just tournament schedules. Media, interviews, contracts, and sponsors all have to be considered.

"We give the girls a total package," Brandi said. "We develop their games, do a lot of physical training, and teach them to handle the media, and interviews. Basically we tutor them to cope with the pro circuit."

With a college career record of over 300 team wins -- the best winning percentage (.900) of any Division 1 women's tennis coach ever -- and several NCAA titles (1992 and 1993 back-to-back) under his belt, with another one anticipated in Florida this May, Brandi finds that most of his players are used to winning all of the time.

Thus, to his players who want to make a living out of tennis, he says that the plan has to be long-term. He stresses that everyone is good at the pro level and only one player can win every week.

However, perhaps the best comment to bring justice to the college arena comes from Salzenstein, a young player who's about to turn professional after the upcoming NCAA Championships in May.

"College is a unique experience because tennis is an individual sport," he said. "I get the opportunity to play for a team, I enjoy it, and it's something to look back on."

06-22-2005, 09:12 PM

06-22-2005, 09:21 PM
W. tennis: Tennis defeats Texas, extends winning streak

HANG LEE/daily bruin

UCLA’s Daniela Bercek led the Bruins to a 6-1 victory over No. 13 Texas on Tuesday afternoon. The win extended the Bruins’ undefeated streak to three.While the Los Angeles Tennis Center event staff was busy giving away free T-shirts to the fans in the stands, the UCLA women's tennis team was busy giving free lessons to its opponents on the court.
The No. 12 Bruins demolished visiting No. 13 Texas 6-1 on Tuesday. The victory gave UCLA a three-game winning streak and also improved its home record to a spotless 5-0.

"I was really impressed with our team today," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "We really came out and dominated a lot of the matches against a very tough Texas team. We're just playing better and better."

Like the previous weekend in Washington, the Bruins (9-4) swept the doubles point from the Longhorns (8-3), led by the nation's No. 3 tandem of freshman Riza Zalameda and sophomore Daniela Bercek, who dispatched of Texas' No. 28 Knedar Strohm and Katie Ruckert 8-6.

"We expect them to win every match; they are that good," Sampras Webster said. "They've got the pressure of every other team going after them. ... We depend on them a lot to win."

Despite the final score, Zalameda and Bercek struggled early, finding themselves down 3-5. But the duo quickly found its form, reeling off five of the next six games to put away its Texas opponents for good.
"We just started to concentrate better," Bercek said. "Every game we lost was close, but we just didn't execute."

But being down early is nothing new to Bercek and Zalameda.

The two have been in similar situations in the past, but are almost always able to overcome the challenge of playing with their backs against the wall.

"Today was not our best day," Zalameda said. "But we have been through those situations before, coming back and eventually winning the match. We knew that it was only a matter of time before we would start playing better. We just try not to get down on ourselves because we know we are the better team."

Once UCLA was done grinding out the doubles-point victory, the Bruins took the singles courts by storm as they finished the day by taking five out of six matches.

Bercek and Zalameda's momentum from doubles clearly carried over into singles as No. 38 Bercek overwhelmed Petra Dizdar 6-0, 6-2, while No. 19 Zalameda trounced Strohm 6-1, 6-1 to take the Bruins to a quick 3-0 lead.
The match was clinched when redshirt freshman Alex McGoodwin, playing on Court 3, defeated Ruckert 6-4, 6-4.

After an exhausting schedule of four matches in three cities in the span of just one week, the Bruins will now take a 10-day hiatus before heading out on another road trip, this time to face the Arizona schools.

"We're feeling confident," Sampras Webster said.

"Hopefully, we can find a way to keep that up and stay focused over break."

06-29-2005, 10:20 PM
Tennis star leaves for Duke


Women's tennis player.

By Andrew Finley

In a year that ended with a heartbreaking loss, the start to the offseason hasn't been any better for the UCLA women's tennis team.

Junior All-American Daniela Bercek, who anchored the Bruins at the top singles position her first two years, decided earlier this month that she will transfer to Duke.

Bercek, who had contacted Blue Devils coach Jamie Ashworth back in January, is now waiting through an appeals process to determine whether she will have to sit out a year once she arrives in Durham.

Some of her teammates were surprised that she had even considered transferring. "She didn't tell us too much, so I don't know what to say," freshman Riza Zalameda said earlier this month. "It's just between her and the coaches. It's hard to imagine."

Neither Bercek nor UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster returned phone calls for this article.

Bercek, who won the NCAA Doubles Championships as a freshman, posted a 14-5 record in dual singles matches this year. Ranked tenth at the end of the year, she provided numerous clutch wins during her two seasons in Westwood. In 2004, she did not drop a match during the Bruins' run to the NCAA finals, scoring the most memorable win in a three-set victory over Miami's Megan Bradley – a win that moved UCLA into the semifinals.

In doubles, Bercek teamed with Zalameda, finishing this past year with a 15-3 record at the top spot and a No. 4 ranking.

"She's a very good partner," Zalameda said. "She's very compatible. It's going to be hard to make up for."

Losing a player of Bercek's caliber is not entirely a new phenomenon to the program. Three years ago, Bradley left UCLA after her All-American freshman year to be closer to her personal coach in Miami.

Bercek, in fact, becomes the sixth starter in the last four years to leave the program early, and though the reasons have all seemed to vary, it's nevertheless a trend that has forced Sampras Webster to bring new players into the mix every year.

Two years ago, Susi Wild, a freshman who played No. 3 singles, quit tennis and returned to her native Germany according to the Bruin coach. Last year, the Bruins lost a trio of starters. Sophomores Jackie Carleton and Feriel Esseghir both had their scholarships revoked because of attitude-related problems, while redshirt junior Lauren Fisher opted to graduate with a year of eligibility left.

Bercek will now join Carleton at Duke, which lost to North Carolina in the NCAA Regionals this past year. According to Ashworth, Bercek had expressed some interest in attending Duke coming out of Novi Sad, Serbia in January 2004, but the school does not accept incoming students in the middle of the school year.

If she is eligible to play next year, she will likely be the highest-ranked player on a Duke squad that loses just one senior from the 2005 season.

Greg-Pete fan
08-12-2005, 02:00 PM
One more photo of Stella Sampras (probably), when she was young.

ella andry
08-12-2005, 02:20 PM
Angiel and Greg what do you know abaut Marion Sampras? Me not much; that's whay I would like to know something more. :) I know she is younger than Pete, she is a school teacher and she is married. At least I think so. :confused:

08-13-2005, 05:53 PM
Angiel and Greg what do you know abaut Marion Sampras? Me not much; that's whay I would like to know something more. :) I know she is younger than Pete, she is a school teacher and she is married. At least I think so. :confused:

Not a lot, and yes she is married and has a son - and i just read that Stella sampras is expecting twins. :worship: :worship:

08-13-2005, 05:59 PM
Sampras clan is about to double

By Matthew Cronin,

BOW tournament director Gus Sampras has two girls; his sister, UCLA coach Stella is pregnant with twins; and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, wife of legend Pete, will deliver their second child any day now. That should double the number of their children.

Greg-Pete fan
08-13-2005, 07:42 PM
It`s a great news ;)

08-13-2005, 07:52 PM
It`s a great news ;)

Yes it is :angel: :D lots of babies for pete and his family. :wavey: :wavey:

ella andry
08-13-2005, 07:56 PM
Sampras clan is about to double

By Matthew Cronin,

BOW tournament director Gus Sampras has two girls; his sister, UCLA coach Stella is pregnant with twins; and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, wife of legend Pete, will deliver their second child any day now. That should double the number of their children.

Wow, what a baby boom in Sampras family!! :)

08-13-2005, 08:02 PM
Wow, what a baby boom in Sampras family!! :)

You can say that again my dear, babies everywhere. :baby: :baby: :baby: :baby: :baby: :baby: :baby: :baby: :baby:

09-24-2005, 08:04 PM
his sister Stella.

ella andry
09-25-2005, 10:30 AM
:) Did she give birth of her twins? :) Tnx! :)

09-26-2005, 09:13 PM
:) Did she give birth of her twins? :) Tnx! :)

I dont think so, I haven't seen it on the news, I will check to find out though. :wavey: :wavey:

01-13-2006, 09:23 PM
Women's tennis lineup will depend largely on this weekend

By Ajaybir Behniwal

This weekend will be one of many challenges to come for the UCLA women's tennis team as they travel to Nevada to compete in the Las Vegas Classic.

The Bruins will have a lineup that varies tremendously from the one they became familiar with last season.

After the Bruins lost to crosstown rival USC in the third-round of last year's national championships, they were stricken with the news that their No. 1 player, Daniela Bercek, would be transferring to Duke to play for the Blue Devils.

The departure leaves sophomore Riza Zalameda with the responsibility of taking over the top spot after making a surprising run in last year's NCAA Singles Championships, in which she reached the semifinals.

"Being a second-year is very good for my position, because playing as a freshman, playing at the top rank was very hard," Zalameda said. 'This year, I'm really excited to be playing at the top."

After the No. 1 position, though, nothing is set in stone. In fact, nothing is quite set at all.

"I think it's going to be really open this year, especially on the bottom," Zalameda said. "As far as 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 we're not sure yet. I think Vegas will determine that."

Fortunately, the gaps in the lineup are not due to a lack of talent, but rather to high competition amongst the remainder of the team.

"We're just a really deep team," coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "There's no superstar or anything like that. Everyone can play.

All the Bruins will be looking to do just that this weekend, in hopes of making a lasting impression on Sampras Webster.

"Everyone's so good that it's just going to be one of my hardest decisions - to figure out the lineup," said Sampras Webster, who is entering her 10th year as the Bruins' coach. "Hopefully, this weekend someone will stand out and step up and it will be easier."

And when it comes to doubles, the Bruins find themselves in the same predicament with the loss of Sarah Gregg to graduation and the transfer of Bercek. In their places are two freshmen, Ashley Joelson and Anna Victoria Lind, who hope to make an impact on the young Bruin team.

Joelson was the No. 1 ranked player in the USTA Girls' 18s Singles Rankings, and Lind comes from Sweden, where she had much experience playing in junior tournaments.

"Hopefully, we'll see something that will stand out which will help us find the right combinations, but right now it's up in the air," Sampras Webster said.

"We may struggle at the beginning of our season a little, but I think once we find our set teams, we've got a lot of talented doubles players that will do well," she added.

This weekend's main objective for the Bruins will be to gain more match experience against several top-tier teams, similar to those they will be matched-up against in the Pac-10.

“We are a young team and we don't have all the experience compared to Stanford and USC, but we're going to just try to stay positive the whole time," Zalameda said. "We want to get as many matches as we can."

"Hopefully, we'll have a lot of luck this year."

01-16-2006, 01:11 PM
isnt Gus a tournament director as well ?

01-17-2006, 10:06 PM
isnt Gus a tournament director as well ?

Yes he is. :worship: :worship: :wavey: :D :)

01-17-2006, 11:14 PM
Women’s tennis gets early season experience

By Ajaybir Behniwal

Things are slowly starting to come together for the youthful UCLA women's tennis team as they wrapped up a weekend in which all players gained some early season experience that will prove to be valuable as the year progresses.

Freshmen Ashley Joelson and Anna-Viktoria Lind competed under the direction of coach Stella Sampras Webster while last year's returners traveled with assistant coach Rance Brown to Las Vegas to compete in the Freeman Memorial Championships.

"We got to compete this weekend and that's what we needed," Sampras Webster said.

All the competion led to a somewhat better understanding for what this season's lineup will look like for Sampras Webster and her coaching staff, as much of the starting lineup was up in the air prior to this weekend's tournaments.

However, nothing will be set in stone just yet as there is still the possibility that some players will step up or down during the course of the season.

"I'm sure (the ladder) will be moved around a lot during the season," the ten-year coach said. "The coaches will be talking a lot to see who'll be playing at what position."

At the moment, though, senior Laura Gordon seems to be the best candidate to play the number two position after coming off one of her most solid individual performances as a Bruin.

The senior, who began her career as a walk-on freshman, finished as the runner-up to Stanford's Celia Durkin, who ranks 69th in the NCAA.

"Laura has definitely stepped up and I think she'll be playing really high for us," Sampras Webster said.

Ahead of Gordon will be sophomore Riza Zalameda, who's showing at this weekend's Freeman Memorial Championships was below what was expected of her coach.

"Riza unfortunately lost in the first round, but stepped up and won a couple of big matches in the consolation rounds," Sampras Webster said.

Fellow sophomore Tracy Lin has wrapped up the third seed on the squad for the moment with an impressive showing this weekend — one in which she has established a name for herself.

"Tracy played really well this weekend and she showed everyone that she can play at a high level with success," Sampras Webster said.

From the third seed on, however, there remains much ambiguity as several teammates are considered to be virtually equal with one another talent-wise, still leaving many questions unanswered.

Adding to the burdensome questions will be the chemistry of the doubles partners and the ability to capture crucial matches in doubles play.

"As far as doubles," Sampras Webster said, "I think we definitely played well, but we still have to find out which combinations will give us the best results."

The Bruins are hoping to do so as soon as possible, with their season starting this Thursday at Loyola Marymount.

The match will be the first team match for both Lind and Joelson, who have also been trying to secure a spot in the top six as freshmen.

Sampras Webster expects Lind to play in the top six, but is not completely sure where she will fit in best for the team.

01-20-2006, 08:55 PM
Season’s first match a clean sweep for tennis

Winning every set, UCLA takes down LMU despite players adjusting to new positions

By Ajaybir Behniwal

As students walked in and out of the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Thursday, they were able to catch a glimpse of this year's new-look women's tennis team.

However, very few, if any, stayed through the entirety of the 7-0 blowout victory over Loyola Marymount, as the match appeared to be over just minutes after singles play began.

"Not losing a match is always good, and for the first match of the season I think our team looked pretty good," coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

And although the No. 12 Bruins clinched the victory after senior Laura Gordon's 6-2, 6-1 win over the Lions' Robyn Baker, the final match did not finish until UCLA's Riza Zalameda won a second-set tiebreaker through a 6-4, 7-6 (5) showing against Pavla Mesterova.

"It was good for Riza to get that match under her belt after struggling a little bit last week," Sampras Webster said of the sophomore, who struggled in the Freeman Memorial Championships, losing in the first round.

Getting big victories was just as important for the Bruins as gaining experience in newfound roles.

Zalameda, Gordon and freshmen Ashley Joelson and Anna-Viktoria Lind all found themselves in positions they had never been in before. Joelson and Lind both made their debuts in doubles competition.

Lind joined veteran Alex McGoodwin to form the Bruins' No. 2 doubles team, while Joelson played alongside sophomore Tracy Lin at the No. 3 spot.

"I know how it feels to be the freshman because last year I was playing with a senior," Lin said. "Ashley did a great job. She knows what she's doing, and we get along pretty well."

Having been in similar position to Joelson, Lin helped guide her freshman partner to an 8-4 victory.

"She helped out a lot," Joelson said. "She pretty much quarterbacked the match and called the plays."

After the duo clinched the doubles point, the freshman experienced yet another novel situation as she took the court for singles.

Joelson was stretched to 6-3 in the first set against LMU's Maja Sundac but cruised to victory in the second set, winning 6-1.

Sampras Webster was impressed by the composure and confidence Joelson displayed.

"I think she handled (the situation) really well," Sampras Webster said. "She might have been a little bit nervous, but she looked like a veteran out there in both singles and doubles."

On the opposite end of the tennis center, Gordon was also playing in foreign territory, never before having competed in the top three.

"It was really good seeing Laura coming out and feeling comfortable playing No. 2 for us," Sampras Webster said. "It was the first time she played on the front courts."

The experienced senior was just as nervous as rookies Joelson and Lind, but by the way Gordon executed points, it would be hard to believe she just started playing at such a high position on the Bruin ladder.

"I was a little nervous playing at No. 2 for the first time, but overall I think it was a good match," Gordon said.

Nervous or not, all the Bruins came out with the intention of putting the match away as soon as possible, without letting LMU get any opportunities to pull off the upset.

"I think today we all played pretty well and we stepped it up," Lin said. "We didn't really give them any leeway."

After beating LMU for the 14th consecutive time Thursday, the Bruins are looking to improve and become a competitive force in the Pac-10.

"It was a good start to our season," Lin said of the match. "It can only get better from here."

01-20-2006, 09:41 PM
Stella Sampras Webster

Head Coach

10th Season (UCLA ' 91)

Stella Sampras Webster enters her 10th season as the head coach of the UCLA women's tennis program with a career record of 150-83 (.644). Sampras Webster became only the third head coach in UCLA women's tennis history when she was named the successor to longtime head coach Bill Zaima, who announced his retirement effective the end of the 1996 season.

In her first nine seasons at UCLA, Sampras Webster guided the Bruins to eight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including five top-5 showings (1997, 2000 2002, 2003 and 2004). In 2004, she led UCLA to the NCAA Finals for the first time since 1991. It also marked the first time since 1991 that the Bruins surpassed the 20-win mark, finishing with a 21-8 overall record.

Sampras Webster has recruited and coached some of the top players in collegiate tennis. Under her tutelage, 12 Bruins have achieved All-America status. In 2000, she was named the ITA West Region Coach of the Year. A 1991 graduate of UCLA with a degree in Psychology, Sampras Webster enjoyed a successful four-year career as a Bruin player from 1987-91 and competed on the pro circuit for a season prior to joining Zaima's staff. An NCAA Doubles Champion as a freshman in 1988 with Allyson Cooper, Sampras Webster was also the NCAA doubles runner-up as a senior in 1991 with Kimberly Po.

A four-time All-American, Sampras Webster was only the second player in UCLA history to obtain this status. She also won the 1989 and '91 Pac-10 doubles championship and the 1990 Rolex Regional doubles title. Sampras Webster completed her UCLA career ranked No. 3 nationally in doubles and No. 42 in singles. Team accomplishments were most important to Sampras Webster, who helped lead the Bruins to four straight NCAA Top-3 finishes.

As a professional, Sampras Webster's highest international singles ranking was No. 248, and her best in doubles was No. 142. Her professional highlights include competing in both singles and doubles at the U.S. Open and Lipton Championships. She advanced to the U.S. Open second round in doubles and also competed in doubles at Wimbledon. She also won three satellite tournament titles and competed in Team Tennis for the Wichita Advantage in 1992.

Born in Potomac, Md., Sampras Webster moved to the Los Angeles area as a child and graduated from Palos Verdes High School. A top-three player in Southern California and among the top-10 in the country as a junior, Sampras Webster claimed the CIF doubles title as a freshman and the singles title as a senior in 1987. She capped her high school career by being named her school's Athlete of the Year.

The second-oldest of four children of Sam and Georgia Sampras, Stella considers the support of her entire family most significant. Younger brother Pete demonstrated his level of support for Stella and the Bruin program when he personally endowed a scholarship and assisted with the important fund-raising effort in Stella's first fall at the helm. Pete won a record 14 Grand Slam singles titles during his playing days, including seven Wimbledon championships.

Sampras Webster and her husband Steve were married on Jan. 3, 2003 in Dana Point, Calif. They welcomed two new members to their family this past September when Stella gave birth to twin girls Sophia and Savannah.

01-25-2006, 09:44 PM
No. 12 Bruins slowly run off Gauchos

By Muriel Cantryn

Looking at the 7-0 UCLA women's tennis team's win over UC Santa Barbara on the scoreboard, it might seem like the Bruins spent an easy afternoon at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

But in fact, the Gauchos gave No. 12 UCLA more trouble than could be imagined, with the Bruins committing unforced errors on crucial points that kept them on court for longer than necessary.

"I am happy with the way we competed but not with the way we played," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

The Bruins were a stronger team, and even on a day when things did not go entirely their way on the technical side, the team could count on its experienced players to find a path to victory.

"We were stronger mentally and eventually made them crack," said No. 2-ranked Laura Gordon, who played her doubles match but sat her individual match out because of an eye infection.

Sampras Webster chose a different lineup than in the Bruins' previous match against Loyola Marymount, and despite collecting the doubles point with three wins, she was not completely satisfied with the team she chose.

"They really pushed us in two of the doubles, and I cannot say that our No. 2 and No. 3 pairs are definite," Sampras Webster said.

The No. 1 pair, Riza Zalameda and Gordon, got off to a slow start, with UCSB breaking UCLA's serve in the first game. But as the match went on they committed less errors and eventually won 8-3.

"It was a tough match but the more balls we get in, the better we will get," Gordon said.

The No. 3 doubles pair of sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin and freshman Ashley Joelson won its match, 8-1, while the No. 2 pair, junior Alex McGoodwin and sophomore Tracy Lin, won its match, 9-8, in a tiebreaker.

With Gordon out, the lineup was changed before the singles matches, with freshman Anna-Viktoria Lind playing at No. 4 singles for her first collegiate singles match. The Swede beat her opponent 6-0, 6-1, adjusting well to competing in vastly different conditions than she is used to.

"I usually don't play on outdoor hard court where the ball bounces higher," Lind said. "But I have adjusted my game and it went well for me today."

Lind also had to adjust to the team aspect of the sport, from warming up all together to cheering her teammates on while playing.

"I look at the scoreboard to see how they are doing and above anything else, it motivates me to play among a team," Lind said.

Another freshman in the lineup, Ashley Joelson, convincingly beat her opponent 6-2, 6-2, as the No. 6 player.

"I am very happy with the freshmen; it was a good day for the Bruins," Sampras Webster said.

UCLA will face Rice on Thursday, and the Owls will present a greater challenge.

Sampras Webster reckons that the match against Rice will be tougher than the previous two meets this season.

"It will be good for the team as we will be tested more this time," Sampras Webster said. "I know the assistant coach very well as she played here so I am looking forward to Thursday."

01-25-2006, 09:46 PM
Tennis hopes to carry momentum into match

By Ajaybir Behniwal

Fresh off of a convincing sweep over Loyola Marymount to open their season, the UCLA women's tennis team is looking to carry some early momentum into their match against a veteran UC Santa Barbara team today.

The No. 12 Bruins (1-0) are hosting the Gauchos in what is their season opener at 1:30 p.m. at LATC.

"Our team is excited and they're ready to go," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "They love to compete; they'd rather play a match than practice another day."

The Gauchos, who return four of their starters from last year's team, have yet to record a victory against the Bruins, compiling a forgettable 0-28 record against UCLA.

This year, UCSB may have one of their best chances as they are members of an increasingly competitive Big West Conference which has four schools ranked among the top 70 teams in the nation.

The Gauchos are the last of those teams, checking in at the 69th position, a ranking that will likely drop if they are beaten this afternoon by a solid Bruin squad.

Although Sampras Webster feels the Gauchos will provide the Bruins with a greater challenge than LMU, she has decided to test out two new doubles teams at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions that have not yet been revealed.

Sophomore Riza Zalameda and senior Laura Gordon will remain at the No. 1 doubles spot after recording a convincing victory against LMU last week.

"It'll be good to see what these new teams can do," Sampras Webster said.

At this point in the season, the experienced coach is looking to make the best of her talented and deep team by positioning them in ways most beneficial to the overall team score.

Though UCLA has a very young team, all the Bruins now have dual match experience, as freshmen Ashley Joelson and Anna-Viktoria Lind both picked up victories in doubles and Joelson also added one in singles play in the season-opener.

"I was a little nervous at first," Lind said. "Now I think I am more comfortable and hopefully we can beat (UCSB)."

Lind picked up her first victory in doubles with junior Alex McGoodwin, one of the more experienced Bruins on this year's squad, who is confident in the Bruins' capabilities to capture a victory against the Gauchos.

"We've improved a lot and we're looking forward to playing against UCSB and looking to beat them," McGoodwin said.

The singles lineup may also be changed around a bit since Sampras Webster feels some players need to be rested, and others deserve a chance to prove that they can contend among a talented lineup.

Regardless of who she decides to play, Sampras Webster hopes her team will have a tougher challenge than it did when they took the courts last week against LMU, giving her players experience and hopefully a victory over a quality team.

"Santa Barbara will hopefully challenge us a bit," Sampras Webster said.

WELCOME BACK: The Bruins are also scheduled to play host to the Rice Owls on Thursday. Owls' assistant coach Elizabeth Schmidt played for UCLA from 1997-2002 and was a doubles All-American her freshman year as a Bruin.

01-26-2006, 10:55 PM
Juggling Roles

By Ajaybir Behniwal

It has been almost four years.

Four years since she first stepped on the courts at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

Four years spent in the shadows, doing more than what was asked of her.

Four years of sharpening her skills in hopes of one day actually living this moment.

And now that it's here, don't expect UCLA women's tennis player Laura Gordon to let this opportunity slip.

The senior from Aspen, Colo., has made the most of everything that has been thrown her way in her time as a Bruin. Gordon is now reaping the benefits in a way she, nor anyone else, ever thought possible *– as the Bruins' No. 2 singles player.

"I would look at her junior ranking and would've probably said no," UCLA assistant coach Rance Brown said of whether he thought Gordon would be in the position she is in today when she first landed in Westwood.

"But do I feel that she came from an environment that she could? Yes."

Gordon's training involved participating in a highly competitive tennis academy and training under personal coach Clare Shane. Shane trained her prodigy to compete at the highest of levels. In Gordon's sophomore year this meant capturing the state title in Colorado and making a championship run one year later before losing in the final.

And for Gordon, it seems as though the environment she grew up in was just what she needed to leave an imprint in the Bruins' program.

The journey

Deciding to turn down a scholarship to attend Harvard, one of the most renowned colleges in the world, Gordon instead decided to become one of seven incoming freshmen merely as a recruited walk-on.

"I really didn't know Laura very well when she first came to UCLA," coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "She contacted us and was interested in coming in as a walk-on and earning a scholarship."

Her interest in UCLA budded from a visit during her senior year of high school. Gordon hadn't informed the coaching staff that she was coming to visit, but the assistant coach at the time, Jon Reeves, saw her name on a sign-in sheet and was interested in having Gordon attend UCLA.

"She loved the girls on the team, the campus, everything," Gordon's mother, Andi, said.

As a freshman adjusting to the level of college tennis, Gordon was more quiet and non-vocal.

After a year of watching from the sidelines, Gordon got her chance to contribute as a member of the lineup, playing at the No. 6 singles position and, more often than not, getting the team a victory.

"When she came to UCLA, she just wanted to play," Sampras Webster said. "She didn't care where she was going to play; she just wanted to play in that lineup."

Having more confidence than in the years prior to last season, Gordon demonstrated her enjoyment by means other than her racket alone. She began to contribute in a much bigger way – as the team's leader.

Having successfully demonstrated her capabilities to lead a team both emotionally and through her athletic abilities, Gordon was named this year's team captain as a senior. But the title is not something she chooses to focus on, maintaining her fiery competitive spirit from years past.

"The girls just look at me as a role model. And just, you know, captain or whatever," Gordon said while downplaying her input to the overall success of the team.

The climb to her current rank as No. 2 on the Bruins' lineup was by no means an easy one. She worked harder than in the past as she grew and realized her potential and that she could master a new role for herself.

"I think it was last year that I realized I could do something and play better than I am," Gordon said. "I started working a little harder and it just sort of happened I guess."

Last woman standing

Entering UCLA as one of seven freshmen in her class, Gordon's task of vying for a spot on the ladder became harder than ever, forcing her to mature and learn to deal with adversity at a rapid rate.

"There were a lot of us and I knew I definitely wasn't the top freshman coming in," Gordon said.

But slowly, she started to see teammates from her class leave UCLA one by one for a variety of reasons: some to play at the professional level, some giving up tennis altogether, and some leaving for other universities to get more match play.

Leaving the Bruin community was something that never crossed Gordon's mind as she remains the lone senior from such a large class.

"I didn't think about leaving, but I'm glad that I got through it," Gordon said. "When I talk to all the girls that left, it's kind of cool knowing I got through it and that I'm playing so well."

Although the news of her six classmates leaving for their own personal reasons was shocking, the departures slowly created a way for Gordon to attain more recognition and, eventually, take a firm hold on a much higher position than ever expected.

"I think she's always helped out the team, but she's never really been noticed for it, because there were a lot of girls in her year," junior teammate Amber Ray said. "But now that those girls are gone, she's really stepped up and just become more of an active leader."

Gordon and her teammates, many of whom are her best friends off the court as well, are not the only ones who are pleased with her decision and the magnitude of her improvement. Sampras Webster has also come to appreciate and value the role that Gordon has taken on an otherwise young team.

"Of all those that did come (in Gordon's class), I'm glad that she's the one that stuck it out," Sampras Webster said. "I think she's really an over-achiever."

Unfaltering attitude

Having encountered just about as much adversity as long-time coach Sampras Webster has seen any of her players face in their time at UCLA, Gordon has adjusted exceptionally well – going from barely making the lineup her freshman year to contributing in a variety of ways this season.

"She's really handled so many things so well and I'm just really happy for her, because she really deserves all this success she's having right now," Sampras Webster said.

Though Gordon has been adapting to new roles for much of her time on the team, she has continued to maintain perhaps her most valuable assets to both the team and her individual game – her mentality and attitude.

"She came from a competitive environment and felt that she wanted to stay in that challenging environment and she transitioned here to UCLA just fine," said Brown of Gordon's spirited mindset.

When on the court in the midst of a match, Gordon's eagerness to win can be seen by her teammates, as several of them feed off her energy in hopes of recording their own victories.

But while in practice and supporting her teammates after her match is done, Gordon becomes someone completely different, spreading a contagious smile and laugh to everyone who can hear her.

"I like to have fun," Gordon said. "I like to go out there and joke around."

"She's always been someone who can just make you smile when talking to her," Andi Gordon said. "I don't really know exactly where she got it from, but she does it."

A lot of what this season's captain has done in the past four years to reach this point can be attributed to a number of factors, all of which eventually lead back to her fiery nature and the influence those close to her have had.

"It's the mentality she had, the environment she had, and the support system from coaches and parents," Brown said.

Now, four years after her decision to forego guaranteed opportunities elsewhere, Laura Gordon has created an opportunity of her own at UCLA.

"We're just glad to have her," junior teammate Alex McGoodwin said. "Everyone loves her."

01-27-2006, 08:48 PM
Experiments in lineup keep tennis at 3-0 record
After three match-ups, coach still works to fine tune the Bruins’ doubles, singles slots

By Ajaybir Behniwal

At first glance, the scoreboard that overlooks the top three courts at the Los Angeles Tennis Center appears to have displayed the same score at the end of all three women's tennis matches so far this season: 7-0 in favor of UCLA.

After taking a closer look, however, many differences can be pointed out.

Not once have the Bruins (3-0) used the same lineup in singles or doubles, and this held true Thursday when the team played host to Rice.

Coach Stella Sampras Webster experimented with a new doubles team and a new singles lineup, hoping to find the optimal combinations.

Against Rice, the new doubles duo of junior Alex McGoodwin and freshman Anna-Viktoria Lind got off to a quick start at the No. 2 position, taking a 7-2 lead, but they were unable to convert on a match point, allowing the Owls pair of Medeja Egic and Kimberley Patenaude to get back into the match.

Meanwhile, the Bruins' No. 1 team of sophomore Riza Zalameda and senior Laura Gordon found themselves in a struggle against the 30th-ranked tandem of Blair DiSesa and Alanna Rodgers.

Shortly after sophomore Tracy Lin and freshman Ashley Joelson gave the Bruins a quick 1-0 lead in doubles with an 8-2 victory, both remaining matches were tied at 7-7.

The veteran team of Zalameda and Gordon was able to capture the next two games, clinching the doubles point and taking the energy out of a Rice team that was attempting to pull off an upset.

"It was a struggle, yet with us having better doubles teams overall, we just needed to pull that one out," Zalameda said.

"At one and two doubles, we knew that they could pull it out," Joelson added.

Upon capturing a doubles point that ended up being harder to claim than it would have seemed at first, the Bruins went into singles play with momentum, while the Owls appeared to be dilapidated after expending much of their energy while trying to take advantage of the Bruins' weakness.

"I think that's an area we really need to improve on," Sampras Webster said of the team's persistent struggles in doubles play.

Once singles play was underway, all memories of the hardships from earlier in the day were quickly forgotten as the Bruins rushed to early leads in nearly all their matches.

Lin wasted no time in capturing the Bruins' second team point with a 6-0, 6-0 win at the No. 2 singles position, with Joelson finishing just minutes later to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead over the Owls.

McGoodwin sealed the Bruins' third consecutive victory after posting a 6-3, 6-0 performance over Rodgers.

As Pac-10 play begins to approach for the Bruins, each match has served to ready the players and help them adjust to playing dual matches.

"Each match is going to help us build up and get stronger out there on the court and help us feel more comfortable," sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin said.

02-09-2006, 10:31 AM
I love both names ! Sophia and Savannah, really cute !

02-11-2006, 07:32 PM
I love both names ! Sophia and Savannah, really cute !

Me too, hope they grow up to play tennis like their famous uncle and mom, dont you think. :wavey: :cool: :worship:

02-11-2006, 08:12 PM
Tennis team prolongs shutout streak

By Ajaybir Behniwal

They continue to do it. No matter how much better a team may be than the one the UCLA women's tennis team played in the match before, the Bruins treat them all just the same, by shutting them out.

The most recent 7-0 victory came against UC Irvine on Thursday afternoon at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, continuing a shutout streak for the No. 15 Bruins, who improved their dual match record to 4-0.

UCLA jumped out to a quick start in doubles play when senior Laura Gordon and sophomore Riza Zalameda defeated UC Irvine's Clare Fermin and Jayme Hu.

The No. 3 doubles team of sophomore Tracy Lin and freshman Ashley Joelson sealed the doubles point for the Bruins with an 8-4 victory over the Anteaters' Ashley Siddall and Becky Bernhard.

However, the road to the doubles point was not as smooth as it could have been.

"The doubles was rough on all of us," Joelson said. "None of us played all that well."

Perhaps it was just a matter of getting back into the rhythm of playing in matches – once singles started, the Bruins took their collective play to the next level.

Gordon, who played in her first singles match since the Bruins opened up their season against Loyola Marymount, gave UCLA its second point of the competition with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Irvine's Inna Agababian.

"It was nice to be back because I never like to sit out of matches," Gordon said.

And the same is true for most of her teammates, as they were happy to be back in action after a stretch without match play.

For Zalameda, it was a chance to work on the execution of her serve-and-volley strategy – one rarely used at the college level of women's tennis.

From the onset of the match, the Bruins' top singles player was able to take control of the points and maintain her aggressiveness, denying Bernhard a game in either set and putting the Bruins ahead 3-0.

"It was a good match for me, because I was able to just concentrate and not lose focus," Zalameda said.

The team victory was sealed just minutes later by Joelson's 6-1, 6-2 win at the No. 5 singles position.

UCLA showed no mercy Thursday when dealing with Irvine, the Bruins losing a mere 10 games combined in all six singles matches, with just three of those coming in the matches' first sets.

Getting ahead early will be crucial for the Bruins when they travel to Malibu on Saturday to take on No. 25 Pepperdine, UCLA's first nationally ranked opponent.

However, the Bruins can't afford to struggle in doubles and let the Waves gain momentum.

"I think we played really well in singles, but I'm disappointed in how we played doubles," coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "The doubles point is really important against those tougher teams like Pepperdine."

But for now, the Bruins will make minor adjustments in doubles before traveling to Pepperdine to do what they enjoy most – competing in a dual match.

"After not playing in two weeks, we needed a good, confident 7-0 win," Lin said. "Hopefully we can take this momentum into the Pepperdine match."

02-11-2006, 08:22 PM
Women’s tennis swings back into action today with dual match against Anteaters

By Ajaybir Behniwal

After two weeks without a match, the UCLA women's tennis team is ready to start up action again when they take on UC Irvine this afternoon.

The No. 15 Bruins (3-0) will play host to the Anteaters in their first dual match since Jan. 26 before beginning the toughest stretch of their schedule.

"I'm sure our players are lacking a little match play so it'll be good to see them compete and get back into that mode of playing matches," coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

In the time between its match against Rice and today's match, UCLA has been training and conditioning to prepare itself for competition against the nation's elite teams – many of which reside in the Pac-10.

But before opening up league play, the team will travel to Malibu on Saturday to take on No. 25 Pepperdine in what is considered to be UCLA's first big test.

"We all know that we need to be really focused for this match because we have Pepperdine on Saturday," sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin said. "We really want to get into the gear of being intense."

In the past, the Bruins have had very little trouble getting intense and defeating the Anteaters, holding an impressive 32-2 all-time record against them, most recently ousting the team in a shutout victory last season.

Shutouts have also been a common trend for UCLA as they have defeated all their opponents 7-0, reaching a season-high ranking of No. 11 before dropping four spots due to the decision to opt out of this past weekend's National Indoors tournament where several of the nation's top teams competed.

In its last two matches, the Bruin squad was able to accomplish the feat without the team's lone senior, Laura Gordon, competing in singles.

Gordon is expected to play in both of the upcoming matches and will very likely play a crucial role in the Bruin lineup.

"It's exciting (to be back) because I feel like I need to play some matches," Gordon said. "I'm pumped up."

Irvine comes to Los Angeles with a 1-2 record, having already lost to the Waves of Pepperdine and No. 5 USC Trojans.

In their lone victory of the season, the Anteaters defeated St. Mary's 4-3 with a 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 victory at the No. 5 singles position, a match that lasted for three hours and 10 minutes.

Because the Bruins' schedule called for two weeks without a dual match, the team has been practicing various aspects of the game in hopes of continuing their streak of victories.

"We're going into the match pretty confident because we were able to work on a lot of things in practice," sophomore Riza Zalameda said. "I think our results against Irvine will hopefully be a confidence booster."

That is something they just might need before traveling to Malibu on Saturday morning.

But for the time being, the Bruins are happy to finally be a part of a dual match again rather than continually preparing for them.

"We're all competitors and we'd prefer playing a dual match over practice any day, so we're excited that matches are starting up again," Lumpkin said.

02-12-2006, 09:16 PM
gr8 thread Angiel
I imagine Stella is making a name for herself at college level

02-13-2006, 10:33 PM
gr8 thread Angiel
I imagine Stella is making a name for herself at college level

Yes, and she recently has twin daughters. :worship: :worship: :wavey:

02-14-2006, 11:21 PM
Loss at Pepperdine a day of firsts for women’s tennis

By Ajaybir Behniwal

MALIBU — Saturday was a day of firsts for the UCLA women's tennis team.

For the first time, it competed in a venue other than the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

For the first time, it was pitted against a nationally ranked team.

And at the end of the match, the Bruins lost for the first time this season.

The young squad got off to a completely unfamiliar start against Pepperdine when they dropped the doubles point after a loss in a tiebreaker at the No. 3 position.

Sophomore Tracy Lin and freshman Ashley Joelson had jumped to an early 6-3 lead, but soon found themselves in a battle.

"We were up in No. 3 doubles and we just let it slip away and that's something you just can't do against a team like this," coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

The doubles point was the first point that the Bruins had given up all season.

Heading into singles, Pepperdine had a 1-0 lead that they were determined to maintain a grasp on. However, junior Alex McGoodwin had other thoughts in mind as the veteran quickly got the Bruins on the board after sophomore Riza Zalameda was beaten 6-0, 6-2 by the nation's 15th ranked player, Bianca Dulgheru.

Freshman Ashley Joelson found herself down a set, but fought her way back into the match by winning the second set. In the third set, though, Joelson was ousted by Pepperdine's Eva Dickes, who gave her team a 3-1 lead. Just minutes later, Lin captured the Bruins' second point with a 7-6, 7-5 defeat of Caroline Raba.

The attention was then turned to court No. 2 as senior Laura Gordon was heading into a third set tiebreaker in hopes of keeping the Bruins' chances alive.

With her teammates cheering her on from the sidelines, Gordon remained aggressive and was able to secure the tiebreaker, the match, and the Bruins' third team point.

"I let her get back in the second set, but I just hung in there and tried to stay mentally tough," Gordon said. "Being able to pull it out is really good for me."

The attention was then turned to freshman Anna-Viktoria Lind's court as she was just beginning the third set of her match after coming back from a one set deficit. Lind's service game was broken and from that point on, Pepperdine's Merve Asimgil carried the momentum to a 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 win, capturing the match for the Waves—their first victory against the Bruins dating back to 2001.

"It's obviously disappointing, but I think it'll help us in the end," Gordon said of the Bruins' loss. "The freshmen get experience and they get to see what it's like to be in an intense match."

Experience, both the lack of and need for, will play an important role in the remainder of the Bruins' season as they will face some of the nation's top teams.

Another key aspect for the young Bruin team, which showcases two freshmen and two sophomores in the top six, will be jumping to an early start by capturing the doubles point prior to heading into singles.

"The doubles point is big no matter who you play so I think if we work on our doubles, we'll be better off," Gordon, the only senior on this year's team, said. "It just helps the whole morale of the team going into singles."

Though the Bruins dropped the match, they will look to bounce back before playing host to conference rivals California and Stanford this upcoming weekend.

"This was our first challenging match and it didn't go that well for us, but I think we'll build on it and it'll only make us stronger," McGoodwin said.

02-18-2006, 06:27 PM
Tennis sets for toughest foes yet

By Ajaybir Behniwal

The members of the UCLA women's tennis team now know what it feels like to be beaten. And they don't like it.

So when the No. 17 Bruins play host to No. 6 California today and No. 1 Stanford on Saturday, they will do anything in their control to avoid the agony of defeat again.

However, the road to victory will be tougher than it has ever been this season for UCLA, as the two visiting teams are the highest ranked on its schedule so far this season.

The Bruins (4-1) head into today's matchup with four shutout victories and a sole loss that came in heartbreaking fashion to No. 24 Pepperdine.

"After losing to Pepperdine, I think we got a wake-up call," coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "The girls know they have to play hard and be ready, because these teams are a lot better than the ones we've played."

There is no question that both Bay Area teams represent a higher level of competition than what UCLA has faced thus far in the season.

Cal and Stanford both competed in the National Indoors tournament and had considerable success, as then-No. 18 Cal pulled off an upset against No. 9 Miami, while Stanford defeated No. 15 Texas 4-0 in the final to capture the title.

The Bruins, who swept the Golden Bears in the season series in 2005, are trying to design a similar formula for success.

"It's really important that we come out strong on Friday against Cal," sophomore Tracy Lin said. "We beat them last year, and I know we can do it again, even with two new freshmen."

The two freshmen, Ashley Joelson and Anna-Viktoria Lind, dropped three-set matches against the Waves last Saturday. Now they are quickly gaining the confidence and experience to realize just what they will need to do to help contribute.

"We're going to have to play really well to beat them," Lind said.

There is no doubt that the Bruins will have to play their best tennis to come out victorious this weekend, especially against the Cardinal.

"It's going to be a tough match, hands down," sophomore Riza Zalameda said. "What we do in these two matches will be a preview of what our results will be for the rest of season."

The Bruins have been unable to dismount the top-ranked team in quite some time, not since their victory against the Cardinal in 1998, when UCLA pulled off a 5-4 upset at home.

The undefeated Cardinal will take on USC prior to facing the Bruins, and are expected to extend their winning streak to 64 before entering the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon.

Stanford has dropped just two individual matches all year, for an overall record of 41-2. Neither of the lost points has come in doubles, which proves all the more troublesome for the Bruins, who have been attempting to get back up to par in doubles.

"It's something that we've always been successful with, but it's something we've just been struggling (with) this year," Sampras Webster said.

Regardless of which way the doubles point plays out this weekend, the Bruins still have a talented singles roster that is capable of winning big matches.

"We have the talent, we have the good players – now we just need to be ready to go," junior Alex McGoodwin said.

02-21-2006, 10:48 PM
Women’s tennis upsets Cal in rain-delayed match

By Christopher Gee

The No. 17 UCLA women's tennis team sat in eager anticipation with their eyes fixed on the sky. Would they get to finish their match against No. 6 California? A sudden downpour of rain answered with a resounding "no," and both teams packed up their rackets and called it a day.

Sunday afternoon in a rescheduled match against the Golden Bears, the Bruins were once again in a state of eager anticipation. This time, their eyes were fixed on sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin.

With the scored tied 3-3, the weight of the deciding match fell upon the shoulders of Lumpkin. She split the first two sets with California's Bojana Bobusic, but with a backhand winner down the line, she closed out the third set 6-1 and clinched the match for the Bruins.

"I just tried to get point after point," Lumpkin said. "Even if it seemed like she hit winners, I tried my best to run them down and return them."

With the 4-3 victory, the Bruins record their biggest upset of the season and improve to 5-2 while the Golden Bears drop to 6-3.

The Bruins began the match with a 1-0 lead having already won the doubles point Friday before it started raining. They immediately added another point as Tracy Lin breezed past Cal's Claire Ilcinkas 6-0, 6-1.

Although senior Laura Gordon was unable to upset 14th-ranked Suzi Babos on court 2, junior Alex McGoodwin made the score 3-1 with a 6-0, 6-2 win on court 4.

"Tracy and Alex really got in there and finished their job fast," Lumpkin said. "Today, we were aggressive and had that extra fight in us."

California fought back to tie it up 3-3 with victories on courts 1 and 2. But the Bruins would not let California complete the comeback and finished off the upset with Lumpkin's win on court 6.

"We knew we had what it took to beat these guys," Lin said. "We really needed this."

The upset was so clutch for UCLA because they had lost their match against No. 1 Stanford the day before and were in danger of recording a third straight loss. Despite a valiant effort and sophomore Riza Zalameda, Gordon and Lumpkin each taking their matches to a third set, Stanford came up with a 6-0 shutout.

With a 60 percent chance of rain, both the Bruins and Cardinal agreed to begin the match with singles and only play doubles in the event of a 3-3 tie.

However, Stanford picked up its fourth and match-clinching point on court 1 as senior Amber Liu defeated Zalameda. For a good part of the afternoon, it seemed as it Zalameda was going to win her match. She won her first set 6-2 and kept Liu on her heels by taking the first 3 games in the second set. Liu, however, battled back to take the set 6-4 and used her momentum to defeat Zalameda 6-0 in the final set.

"I had the game to beat her," Zalameda said. "But I let her get into a rhythm and she ran off games one after another."

A key to the Bruins' loss was their inability to close out sets. They had the chance to take several sets but always let them slowly slip away.

"We were in it with them every set today," coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "We just couldn't get the big points when we needed them."

The Bruins' ability to pick up big points late in matches will be essential to their success against top opponents for the rest of the season. They continue to learn from their mistakes and refuse to let their spirits be crushed.

"Even if the score doesn't show it, I know we played well," Gordon said. "If we keep improving, I don't see any reason why we can't win."

02-22-2006, 10:43 PM
Sophomore steps out from shadows to win match

By Ajaybir Behniwal

Not often does Court 6 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center garner much attention during dual matches.

But this past Sunday was a completely different story as the fate of the No. 15 UCLA women's tennis team rested on the racket of sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin.

With the score tied at three matches apiece, all eyes turned to the four-time Illinois state singles champion's court as she found herself in a third set against No. 6 California's Bojana Bobusic, whose brother clinched a victory for the Georgia Bulldogs against the UCLA men's team at the National Indoors this past weekend.

And at first glance, things weren't looking very well, with the scoreboard reading 2-1 in the third set in favor of Bobusic. Luckily for the Bruins, though, the score was wrong and Lumpkin actually held the advantage over her opponent.

From that point on, the sophomore changed her approach and became the aggressor she had been in the first set of the match.

"In the second set, I knew she was going to have a change of strategies because I started seeing her hitting the ball higher towards the end of the first set," Lumpkin said.

"I was worried too much about adapting to her new game plan rather than just going out and playing my game style and make her adjust."

And for the first time in her two years, Lumpkin has been able to do so with all eyes on her, whereas she normally goes unnoticed in the shadows.

"Sometimes I guess you just do take her for granted because she never complains about anything, she works extremely hard, she listens, she does all the right things," coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

Her absence was noticed in an earlier loss this year to a strong Pepperdine team, where her experience could have played a difference in the outcome.

Conversely, her presence was noticed this weekend against Cal, where she helped contribute in both singles and doubles play.

Playing at the No. 2 doubles spot with junior teammate Alex McGoodwin, Lumpkin helped clinch the doubles point with an 8-4 win.

Lumpkin had no problem carrying that momentum from doubles into her first set, cruising to a 6-2 lead after the first set on Friday.

Though she doesn't tend to draw the biggest crowd at most matches, the sophomore does her job of putting the Bruins in a position to achieve a victory and also just proved that she is capable of clinching a win.

"We don't get our recognition, but we always get our W's," Gordon said of players at Court 6, where she played for the previous two years.

02-24-2006, 08:57 PM
[Online exclusive]: Women’s tennis looks for wins in rare away games

By Ajaybir Behniwal

So far this season, the UCLA women's tennis team has become accustomed to playing most of its matches at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, and has had to travel just once to nearby Malibu.

Today, though, the No. 11 Bruins face No. 45 Arizona (9-0) and will find themselves in a foreign territory – one which could potentially cause some problems.

With a higher altitude, stronger winds and high temperature, Tucson provides the Bruins with a challenge that the team will have to acclimate to.

"We just need to be mentally strong because the conditions there are tough," sophomore Tracy Lin said.

And that is just the beginning of UCLA's weekend away from home.

Upon finishing their match against Arizona, the Bruins will have to drive to nearby Tempe, where they will take on No. 16 Arizona State, which is off to its best start in five years, going 6-0 so far.

"Arizona State is a much stronger team this year than they've been in the past, so it's important for us to be ready," coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

Being ready has already paid off for UCLA in the past when they defeated Cal last Sunday, which propelled the Bruins forward six spots in the national rankings.

And this weekend provides the team with the opportunity to do something it hasn't done yet, which is to get a win over a nationally ranked team away from home.

In its first chance to do so this year, UCLA dropped a disappointing 4-3 decision to the then-No. 25 Pepperdine Waves.

Since then, though, the Bruins have been displaying some of their best tennis and expect to do the same this weekend without overlooking either of their Pac-10 foes.

"We can't underestimate either of these teams," Lin said. "It's really important that we get two more wins in the Pac-10."

For freshmen Ashley Joelson and Anna-Viktoria Lind, the pair of dual matches will mark their first set of away matches with the team.

In fact, it will likely be the furthest the two travel this year, considering that the Pac-10 Championships will be held in Ojai and the NCAA Championships will be hosted by No. 1 Stanford in Palo Alto.

"I'm excited," Lind said of the trip. "I'm really looking forward to it."

The most important factor for the Bruins in the pair of matches in Arizona will be to come out strong as they did in their upset over Cal by clinching the doubles point.

"There's no doubt that we can beat them and that we're a better team, we just need to be ready to go," junior Alex McGoodwin said.

MOVING UP: With the win over Cal, UCLA moved up six spots from No. 17 and the Bears dropped three spots to No. 9.

However, the Bruins still feel that they have room for improvement and look to jump into the top 10 after this weekend.

"Right now, focusing on just winning and not necessarily our ranking, is going to help us out," added senior Laura Gordon, who moved to No. 33 in the individual rankings over the last month.

03-02-2006, 09:27 PM
Cal Poly gives UCLA a weekend breather

By Ajaybir Behniwal

The UCLA women's tennis team can take a deep breath as it will finally have a weekend in which it won't take on a Pac-10 foe or another top-ranked team.

Perhaps there is no better time for the non-conference matchup against Cal Poly than this weekend.

After returning from a pair of dual matches in Arizona, the Bruins' top singles player, sophomore Riza Zalameda, has been nursing a sprained ankle and her status for Friday's match is unknown.

If the No. 12 Bruins (7-2) are forced to resort to having Zalameda sit out Friday, senior Laura Gordon will take her place.

"I'm ready to do whatever is needed of me and I'm ready to come out with a victory," Gordon said.

Such has been the attitude of the Bruins throughout the season as they have all been shuffled throughout the lineup while coach Stella Sampras Webster attempted to establish a solid lineup at the onset of the season.

And it's been just as long since UCLA has played a team that can be compared even minutely to the Cal Poly Mustangs.

But that won't give the Bruins an excuse to come up without expecting a fight on Friday afternoon.

In fact, UCLA will even have a chance to execute in ways that they may have otherwise been unable to do in a midseason match against a higher-caliber team.

"They probably won't be one of the stronger teams we play," sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin said.

"It might be an opportunity for us to make adjustments and take more risks than usual because we have more room to try that."

The match against Cal Poly is sandwiched between Pac-10 matches against Arizona State, who UCLA beat 7-0 in the first meeting, and Washington State next Friday at home.

But after competing for two back-to-back weekends against the likes of No. 1 Stanford, No. 8 California and No. 17 Arizona State, UCLA will welcome the match against Cal Poly with open arms.

"It's kind of a break from the Pac-10 schools, but I think overall we should strive to get a 7-0 win," sophomore Tracy Lin said.

Simultaneously though, UCLA would prefer to compete in a high-intensity match over a lackluster match.

"I think a lot of us really prefer to play those more intense matches that come with playing in the Pac-10 rather than these types of matches," Lumpkin said.

SLIDING DOWN: Though the Bruins picked up a pair of shutout victories in Arizona last weekend, they dropped one spot in the national rankings.

The drop was due to a major upset that the University of Miami pulled off over then-No. 3 Texas. Texas dropped to No. 11 — the Bruins' old position, which bumped the Bruins down to No. 12.

The Bruins' cross-town rival, USC, has climbed up to the No. 2 spot, meaning that the top two spots in the national rankings belong to two Pac-10 teams.

03-08-2006, 10:17 PM
Sophomore trio dawn of new era


By Ajaybir Behniwal

Rarely are they viewed as a contingent, spread across the courts of the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

Two of them play under the lights of the stadium courts, while the other is relegated to performing well on the outskirts of the tennis complex.

When the three Bruins are viewed not as individuals but as a distinctive core, the image of the future of the women's tennis program becomes sharper.

Riza Zalameda, Tracy Lin and Elizabeth Lumpkin, the trio of sophomores on the 7-2 UCLA women's tennis team, have filled the void created by the departures of Sarah Gregg (who graduated) and Daniela Bercek (who transferred to Duke).

After making a bold statement last year as a much-heralded incoming freshman class, the group has elevated its expectations and has been greeted with success thus far this season.

"Overall, being on a young team, they've really matured and gotten wins in the lineup," said senior and team captain Laura Gordon. "Sometimes it's tough to have the maturity out there, but they've really stepped up."

But the three didn't have to worry about becoming familiar with one another last year. They had already established a great dynamic among themselves, and the effects of their relationships both on and off the court will reflect on the program for the duration of their Bruin careers.

Cruising the rough road

As though playing No. 2 for UCLA as a freshman wasn't challenging enough, Zalameda has been forced to step up yet again this season after Bercek's departure.

The sophomore welcomed the task of being the Bruins' No. 1 player at the onset of the season and continues to battle on the top court for the Bruins, compiling a 5-3 record so far in dual matches this season.

However, the journey hasn't been as smooth as coach Stella Sampras Webster would have liked.

"Playing No. 1 for UCLA is tough, and she's struggled a bit at that position," Sampras Webster said.

Nonetheless, she is pleased with her top player's preparation during the offseason, as Zalameda was one of just six players to compete on the USA Tennis Summer Collegiate Team, which gave her the opportunity to fine-tune her doubles play.

Her investment has paid off; she has excelled at the top position with Gordon, propelling the duo to No. 17 in the nation.

"I think we all knew (Zalameda) was going to be a huge part of our success," Gordon said.

When she has struggled, she has been able to turn to her fellow sophomores for support. These, ironically, are the same girls she looks to for a spark in her competitive drive.

"I think every time someone is down, we pick each other up," Zalameda said. "Even though there might be competition, we're all there for each other."

Finishing first

The competition Zalameda usually faces comes from her teammate and long-time friend, Lin.

The two, along with Lumpkin, often find themselves glancing up at the scoreboard in what becomes a race to see who can capture her match first.

Lin has become accustomed to finishing fastest, letting up very few games in each set and posting an 8-1 singles record in the Bruins' nine dual matches.

In the spare time after her matches, Lin is quick to get off the court and support her teammates.

"She's the first one out there to root her teammates on," Sampras Webster said.

And though the three find themselves spread across the courts of the Los Angeles Tennis Center during singles play, they have recently been able to compete on neighboring courts in doubles, feeding off of one another in hopes of attaining the first point of the team's dual matches.

"It's nice to cheer each other on because we're all in the same vicinity," Lin said. "In singles, we're representing on each court."

Going with the wind

After spending many of last year's matches in the stands cheering on her teammates, Lumpkin has already compiled a 6-1 singles record this season, including perhaps the biggest victory of her UCLA career in a three-set win that clinched a 4-3 victory over Cal.

Though she receives very little recognition for her role – and an even smaller crowd – Lumpkin understands that her matches mean just as much as those of her teammates.

"Obviously on the top courts you're going to have more fans and have more focus on you, but it's one point whether it's Court 1 or Court 6," Lumpkin said. "I know my job is to pull every single win I possibly can."

And those wins are no longer limited to singles; she has stepped up to yet another challenge – playing at the No. 2 doubles position.

But getting to that spot was no easy task for Lumpkin. She often trains on her own, in addition to team practices.

"(Tracy and I) had practice one day and then we were eating dinner and we finished at 7 p.m. on a Friday night and we were like, 'Do you want to go hit again?'" Lumpkin said.

It is this type of devotion that has Sampras Webster excited and anxious to watch the three continue to take the court and capture wins for the Bruins.

"They're very serious about their tennis and they want our team to do well," Sampras Webster said. "All three of them have really stepped up."

03-10-2006, 11:34 AM
One more photo of Stella Sampras (probably), when she was young.

Thanks Greg-Pete fan. Awesome photo ;)

Linda (Luton-UK)

Greg-Pete fan
03-10-2006, 06:26 PM
Thanks Greg-Pete fan. Awesome photo ;)

Linda (Luton-UK)

No problem ;) Welcome on this forum and I hope you will post here often ;) We need more fans. I think angiel will agree with me ;)

03-10-2006, 09:39 PM
No problem ;) Welcome on this forum and I hope you will post here often ;) We need more fans. I think angiel will agree with me ;)

I do Greg, I do. :wavey: :D :)

03-13-2006, 04:57 PM
Online exclusive]: Women’s tennis sweeps Washington schools

By Ajaybir Behniwal

Winning without its star player is not a prospect any team wants to be faced with.

But that's exactly what the UCLA women's tennis team was forced to do as it opened up conference play against the Washington schools over the weekend.

UCLA (9-2) was playing without No. 1 singles player, sophomore Riza Zalameda, who is nursing a sprained right ankle, but defeated Washington State 7-0 and Washington 5-2.

The matches were not perfect, but the No. 16 Bruins were able to capture two decisive Pac-10 victories that helped continue their climb toward their most formidable opponents.

In claiming a 7-0 win over the Cougars and a 5-2 win over the Huskies, the Bruins earned much more than what appears on paper. Learning how to win despite not being at full strength is something that the team can build on before playing the likes of USC, Stanford and California in the next month, according to coach Stella Sampras Webster.

"The thing about this team is that they're not panicking or freaking out when a player is out," Sampras Webster said. "I think our team focused and did a great job of dealing with the wind and the cold."

Friday afternoon, UCLA took on Washington State in its Pac-10 opener and had very little trouble putting the Cougars away, dropping just one set in singles.

"We had to make sure we maintained our level rather than drop down to their level," sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin said.

Going into doubles already having won the match, the Bruins opted to default the No. 3 spot and have their No. 2 and No. 3 teams move into the No. 1 and No. 2 slots.

This difference was hard to distinguish as the Bruins didn't lose a single game on either court, sealing the shutout win over the Cougars.

"We took care of business and it was great," Sampras Webster said.

"It's always good to get a 7-0 victory, especially against a Pac-10 team," senior Laura Gordon said.

Gordon, the nation's No. 24 singles player, has filled in the No. 1 spot for the Bruins in their past three matches.

The rest of the lineup fed off of her intensity and tenacity on the top court, and her on-court attitude has provided the Bruins with a fire to carry them through their past three matches without their No. 1 player.

"I'm not used to it, but it's pretty cool," Gordon said of playing at the top position. "It's nice to play No. 1 at home."

Her hustle was showcased in a critical point the next day in a match against Washington's Dinka Hadzic, ranked No. 76 in the nation, when Gordon ran toward the net in an attempt to reach a drop shot and laid herself out with hopes of making contact with the ball, but coming up just short.

With bandages keeping the blood on her hand and elbow concealed, Gordon went on to win the match 7-6, 6-2.

For the second consecutive match, the Bruins decided to default the No. 3 doubles position, having already captured their second Pac-10 win in just as many tries.

However, this time, the Bruins were unable to capture both doubles matches, dropping the doubles point to the Huskies, but still ultimately posting a 5-2 overall win.

"This weekend was important because we hadn't played since we went to Arizona," freshman Ashley Joelson said. Joelson won both singles and doubles matches in the first Pac-10 conference matches of her Bruin career. "We were able to get into some good matches and get ready for next week."

04-01-2006, 05:56 PM
Billy Martin and Stella Sampras Webster to be Featured on Tennis Live Radio

Interviews will air between 1-2 p.m. this Saturday.

March 30, 2006

LOS ANGELES - UCLA tennis coaches Billy Martin and Stella Sampras Webster will be featured this Saturday on Tennis Live Radio - 1510 The Zone (Boston/Providence markets) from 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST). Bruin fans not living in the Boston/Providence area can listen to the interviews at the website An archive of the broadcast will also be available online.

CBS-3 sports anchor Harry Cicma is conducting the interviews

04-06-2006, 11:15 PM


04-12-2006, 10:24 PM
Small recruiting classes yield big results for team

By Ajaybir Behniwal

Something needed to be done.

The UCLA women's tennis team had been losing scholarship athletes to other schools, and its lineup was becoming somewhat depleted.

Coach Stella Sampras Webster and assistant coach Rance Brown found themselves in a predicament.

It was at that point that they made changes which are still benefiting the Bruin team today.

The coaching staff decided to shy away from recruiting a large handful of walk-on players and instead focused on filling voids left in scholarship positions by recruiting walk-ons with particular strengths.

"In the past, I think we've brought in players that are more recreational players and aren't as serious, and it really has not worked out well with the team," Sampras Webster said.

In 2005 and 2006, however, the Bruins chose smaller recruiting classes consisting of athletes who have made big contributions to the team. The players have shown their dedication to UCLA tennis by staying with the program.

More importantly, additions to the team during more recent seasons have all displayed characteristics that Sampras Webster considers to be fundamental to success on the court.

Though only two of next year's recruits, Yasmin Schnack and Stephanie Wetmore, will receive scholarships, Sampras Webster and Brown have been able to notch four high-caliber walk-ons that they feel will fit in well with the Bruins' current mentality.

"These players still have the commitment, the drive, the desire to improve, but may not have had the results, or their games may just take longer to develop," said Sampras Webster, who is in her tenth season as coach for the Bruins.

Her most successful walk-on-turned-scholarship athlete, senior Laura Gordon, is a big reason why the small Bruin squad has been able to make the transition to new coaching strategies.

"The chemistry on the team has been unbelievable," Sampras Webster said. "Laura's been through it all and has had a lot of success."

In fact, Gordon, who was a recruited walk-on in a 2003 class featuring seven new Bruins, is now the only senior on the team and has seen classes of only three and two women join the team in the past two seasons.

As a freshman, Gordon went almost unnoticed alongside her teammates and found it hard to get any attention or help from the team's veterans.

Since then, Gordon has assumed the role of team captain and has brought together and solidified a team that has been one of the most dynamic Bruin squads in recent history.

This recent upward climb is largely the result of the decision made by the women's tennis coaching staff after putting into perspective the trends it was facing with regard to departing athletes and a less cohesive team.

"I think the coaches have learned a lot from my class about how to deal with personalities," Gordon said. "The people who came in after my class were a little bit more similar, and it was easier for a lot of people to get along and buy in to the program, which is really what you need to be successful."

04-17-2006, 10:26 PM
Decisive win against Oregon raises spirits

By Ajaybir Behniwal

On Friday, the UCLA women's tennis team sat for hours and waited hopelessly for the rain to ease up so it could take the courts against Oregon.

Just as it seemed the teams would be able to begin the match, the clouds appeared yet again over the Los Angeles Tennis Center, leaving the courts drenched and forcing the match to be postponed two days.

But on Sunday morning, the No. 14 Bruins wasted no time getting off the courts as they shut out the Ducks 7-0.

"It was a big win for us," sophomore Tracy Lin said. "Hopefully it's raising everyone's confidence a little more."

Confidence is just what the Bruins will need during this week as they are faced with the challenge of playing crosstown rival USC two times within four days.

On Sunday, the Bruins started strong, capturing the doubles point with two quick wins on courts No. 1 and No. 2, where the duos of Riza Zalameda and Laura Gordon, and Elizabeth Lumpkin and Alex McGoodwin, were able to quickly defeat their opponents.

"I was really impressed with the focus and concentration that we started the match with," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

The team remained focused in singles play as the Bruins jumped ahead to big leads on all the courts except the top court, where Gordon initially found herself in a battle with Oregon's top player, Dominika Dieskova.

But the senior from Colorado was able to bounce back and capture the first set 7-5 and had very little trouble continuing her success in the second set.

"We could've come out a little slow, but we all did a good job and came out with wins," Gordon said.

Just a week ago, the Bruins were forced off the courts on several occasions due to rainy conditions, bringing a halt to their practice schedule. The effects of the missed training were seen as the team returned home with two losses to Stanford and California.

However, with the weather clearing up in the week prior to the match against Oregon, UCLA was able to practice every day.

"Everyone's playing better and we've been getting some more practice and it was good to come back and beat them soundly," McGoodwin said.

With the win, the Bruins raised their all-time record against the Ducks to an impressive 10-0. UCLA now gets ready to close out the Pac-10 season later this week against No. 4 USC.

Though the win boosted their conference record, it also provided the Bruins with a sense of determination heading into perhaps their toughest week of the season.

"It's nice to remember how it feels to win," Zalameda said.

"Just looking at the score shows how determined our team is because we have a big match on Tuesday," Sampras Webster added.

WEATHER CHANGE: The Bruins were also scheduled to take on Cal Poly this week due to a postponement of a match that was to be played earlier in the season.

But the Mustangs have to face off against a fellow conference school, Long Beach State, in a rescheduled match prior to their conference tournament.

Therefore, the Bruins will no longer play the Mustangs this Wednesday as they were expected to.

05-05-2006, 09:14 PM
Women’s tennis to face Aztecs in 1st round of NCAA tourney

By Ajaybir Behniwal

Nothing was certain for the UCLA women's tennis team prior to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Nobody knew where the Bruins would be playing, let alone what teams would be placed in their NCAA Regional.

And the team's most experienced player knew better than to postulate what the team's fate would become Wednesday. Rather, she sat eagerly with her teammates and watched as the Bruins were handed their draw.

"I wasn't really expecting anything because every year we expect to go somewhere and then we usually end up staying here," senior captain Laura Gordon said.

However, this year the No. 19-ranked Bruins (13-6) must travel to take part in the NCAA Regional – but just slightly over 20 miles.

The team will drive to Pepperdine to take on No. 34-ranked San Diego State (16-8) in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships.

"We've got San Diego State in the first round and they're a strong team compared to past years when the teams in the first rounds have been pretty weak," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

"I think it's a good thing because it will prepare us pretty well for Pepperdine. We've got to be ready for them before we even think about Pepperdine."

Though the Aztecs will provide UCLA with a challenge, the Bruins have a little extra motivation knowing that if they get past the first round, they will likely be facing the tournament's 13th-seeded Pepperdine Waves.

Pepperdine handed UCLA its first loss of this season in a prior matchup in Malibu, squeaking out a 4-3 decision that came down to the wire.

"We had a feeling that we might be playing at Pepperdine, but that's great for us because now we get a chance at revenge for our worst loss of the season if we get past San Diego State," sophomore Riza Zalameda said.

"It'll be interesting to see how much we've improved," Sampras Webster added.

And if the Bruins do indeed get past the Aztecs to take on the Waves, there will be different matchups across the board from when the two teams first met this season.

"There are going to be some different matches in singles, and I think our doubles teams have improved since then so it would be interesting to see what happens," Sampras Webster said. "We'll be able to see just how much we've improved over the course of the season."

UCLA is joined by five Pac-10 counterparts in this year's bracket including No. 1 seed Stanford, No. 3 seed USC, No. 10 seed Cal, Arizona and Arizona State.

If the Bruins make it past the second round, they will travel north to Stanford for the Round of 16 on May 18.

"For now we just have to look at it one match at a time before getting ahead and that's the best way to look at it," Zalameda said.

05-07-2006, 12:59 AM
stella looks a lot like pete
she was pregnant
did she deliver her baby/ies

05-08-2006, 11:34 PM
stella looks a lot like pete
she was pregnant
did she deliver her baby/ies

Yes she has twin daughters. :worship: :angel:

05-13-2006, 07:23 PM
Tennis prepares for NCAA tourneys: Women's team

By Ajaybir Behniwal Daily Bruin

May 11, 2006

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- It's been five years since the UCLA women's tennis team has done what it is about to embark upon this weekend.

Not since 2001 have the Bruins (13-6) had to travel away from the courts of the Los Angeles Tennis Center to compete in an NCAA Regional.

However, the last time the Bruins did so, they captured two matches and advanced to the NCAA Championships, showing it was very possible for them to beat teams on the road.

"Traveling is obviously different because we're not in front of our home crowd and we're not staying in our own rooms the night before the match, but we've been doing it all season," junior Alex McGoodwin said.

The Bruins will not have to travel very far for their regional, however, as they are playing in the familiar confines of Malibu. Earlier this year, the Bruins were in Malibu to take on its NCAA Regional host-to-be, No. 13 Pepperdine, at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in a long, hard-fought 4-3 loss. And if that's not enough familiarity, UCLA will have some time to make the proper adjustments before it faces first-round opponent San Diego State.

"It's a little bit difficult not being at home, but having two days of practice at the site before our match will help a lot," sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin said.

Once Friday's match against the Aztecs (16-8) begins, though, the Bruins know they won't have time to take their opponents lightly, as they are up against perhaps the toughest opponent in the school's recent tournament history.

"We've got San Diego State in the first round, and they're a strong team compared to past years, when the teams in the first rounds have been pretty weak," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

The Aztecs also faced off against Pepperdine during the regular season, losing by the same score of 4-3, but the overall winner was not decided by a final match as it was in the Bruins' case.

If UCLA can manage to win its match on Friday and get past the first round, it will meet non-conference rival Pepperdine in what promises to be one of the most exciting second-round matchups of this year's tournament.

This time around, the Bruins will have to deal with a much larger crowd than in their earlier match against the Waves, and they will also be playing with a different lineup.

Senior Laura Gordon has earned the Bruins' top position over the course of the year and will face off against the Waves No. 1 player, nationally ranked Bianca Dulgheru, who defeated sophomore Riza Zalameda in the teams' prior meeting.

"It's obviously going to be a lot different, but I think it would be a good chance for us to beat a higher seed and go to Stanford," Gordon said.

Also, sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin, who did not play in the Bruins' first loss of the season, will be filling in at the No. 2 doubles position and the No. 6 singles spot in place of freshman Anna-Viktoria Lind.

The Bruins will need standout performances from Lumpkin and Gordon if they are to upset the heavily favored Waves and advance to the Round of 16, which will be played in Palo Alto.

"The fact that we're traveling is giving us added incentive to show the rest of the nation that we can beat a higher seed and that we deserve to be in nationals at Stanford," Gordon said.

TOURNAMENT-BOUND: Regardless of the outcome of this weekend's NCAA Regional, four Bruins will be traveling to Stanford to compete in the NCAA Individuals.

Gordon, McGoodwin, Zalameda and sophomore Tracy Lin - who was an honorable mention in the All-Pac-10 race - were all selected to the 64-player tournament.

Gordon, a member of the All-Pac-10 first team, and Zalameda, who was selected to the second team, will also be representing the Bruins in a 32-team doubles draw. The duo has compiled a 12-3 dual match record and is 4-2 against ranked opponents this season.

(C) 2006 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

05-15-2006, 10:24 PM
Revenge is Sweet 16 for women’s tennis

By Ajaybir Behniwal

MALIBU — Revenge is sweet.

Even sweeter, perhaps, was the way the UCLA women's tennis team shut out No. 13 Pepperdine 4-0 to earn a bid in the Sweet 16.

Heading into their match against the Waves, the Bruins (15-6) were well aware of what happened the last time they competed in Malibu, a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss in February.

But no longer will those memories live on in the Bruins' minds, as they turned the tables on the home team on Saturday.

"We were ready for them, and I'm not sure if they really took us as seriously as they should have," senior captain Laura Gordon said.

In the teams' first matchup of the season, UCLA appeared to have the doubles point captured, but the No. 3 duo of sophomore Tracy Lin and freshman Ashley Joelson let an early lead slip away, giving the point to Pepperdine.

This time around UCLA made sure not to let that happen. They stayed aggressive and took control of crucial points en route to seizing hold of the coveted doubles point, as Gordon and her doubles partner, sophomore Riza Zalameda, defeated their opponents 8-4.

"They're a pretty good team, but if we started off well I knew that we would have a good chance of winning," Gordon said. "And just having one court off is huge motivation for the other courts."

Knowing the match was far from over, though, the Bruins made sure to jump ahead quickly in singles action.

At one point it appeared as though the momentum that the Bruins had worked so hard to get was beginning to sway to the home team's favor.

Gordon, who had jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first set, lost six consecutive games to No. 22 Bianca Dulgheru, dropping the first set on the top court.

That was when the remaining four Bruins turned it on, capturing their first sets then building early leads in the second sets.

Following the strong play of her teammates, Zalameda caught fire. She reeled off five straight games to capture the first set, coming back from a 5-2 deficit.

"It seemed like everything was going her way, but I just started counterpunching and she started getting frustrated," Zalameda said of her opponent.

Lin captured the Bruins' second team point with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Pepperdine's Caroline Raba.

Joelson gave UCLA a 3-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Eva Dickes. Joelson lost to Dickes in the team's prior meeting, which she called the worst she had played all season.

Sophomore Elizabeth Lumpkin, who did not compete in the Bruins' earlier loss to Pepperdine, stamped UCLA's ticket to the Sweet 16 with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

"It was a lot of fun and really intense," Lumpkin said. "I could feel all the energy from all the girls while we were playing, and even before the match."

Though the Bruins have advanced to their seventh straight Sweet 16 appearance to face No. 4 Florida, UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster hopes the win over Pepperdine can be just the beginning.

"It just shows how much better we are now than we were at the beginning of the season. But we've got a lot more work to do once we're up in Stanford," she said.

05-20-2006, 07:15 PM

12-15-2006, 09:43 PM
Dec, 14, 2006

Now at home at Carlsbad: Mr. and Mrs. Steve Webster. He's an officer of CMPR, a marketing and public relations firm. She's the former Stella Sampras. The Websters have two children. Mrs. Webster commutes from Carlsbad to her job as UCLA's women's coach. :angel: :angel: :D

02-09-2007, 11:39 PM
Women’s tennis licks wounds, prepares for Bulldogs
Kendall Salter (Contact)
Published: Thursday, February 8, 2007

The trip to Madison, Wis. and the National Team Indoors left the No. 15 UCLA women’s tennis team with an unfamiliar and bitter taste: losing.

The Bruins dropped their first match of the season last week, losing 6-1 to Northwestern, before rebounding to finish 1-2 with a convincing win against Wisconsin and a tough loss to Clemson.

This Friday’s match against another nationally ranked opponent, No. 24 Fresno State, will prove to be an additional tough test for the Bruins, who hope to regain confidence on their home court.

“I‘m glad we went. I think we could have done better, but it is very early in the season,” coach Stella Sampras-Webster said Wednesday afternoon at practice.

Sampras-Webster was optimistic about the team’s prospects for both Friday’s match and beyond. She cited her athletes’ unity and support, which was evident throughout their road trip.

“It was great for the team to travel together. The team spirit was excellent.”

This team spirit is especially important if UCLA is to bounce back from its disappointing showing at the Indoors. Especially tough was its 4-3 loss to Clemson, which saw several players drop their third sets.

Friday’s match brings a familiar foe to the Los Angeles Tennis Center. UCLA last played Fresno State in 2005 and lead the all-time series 8-1.

“I know their top three players are very good, especially their No. 1,” she said.

One advantage for the Bruins is their depth. Sampras-Webster believes Fresno State is less deep than in past years, while many Bruins can step up on any given day. Equally important for the Bruins will be gaining the doubles point. In both matches UCLA has lost, the team dropped the doubles matches.

“We may make some changes in the doubles pairings,” Sampras-Webster said, citing the need to find the right team chemistry. “We played some close matches (in Madison). We dropped some third set matches. We had opportunities.”

The Bruins hope they can capitalize Friday.

They also hope to see more and more of junior Tracy Lin, who saw minimal playing time due to illness. In her first singles match against Northwestern, her opponent retired. Against Clemson, Lin won her singles match in straight sets.

One key for UCLA will be maintaining intensity against a tough Bulldog squad that is 2-1 on the year and coming off a win against Arizona.

“Our team needs to play without fear. Maintaining a high level of play throughout the match is important,” Sampras-Webster said.

The Bruins are excited for their first home match since late January.

As Sampras-Webster said, “It’s good to be back outdoors.”

02-16-2007, 04:57 PM
UCLA tennis dispatches UC Irvine 7-0

By Ajaybir Behniwal Daily Bruin
February 14, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- They wanted to waste no time in taking care of yet another nonconference opponent on their home courts, and the No. 15 UCLA women's tennis team did just that on Tuesday afternoon, winning in dominating fashion against UC Irvine.

"It's really just another solid win, which is what we need," junior Tracy Lin said. "But we also need to focus on getting better as the season goes on."

In particular, the Bruins (5-2) will need to focus on their matches this weekend against fellow Pac-10 teams No. 8 Cal and No. 1 Stanford.

But before they got caught up in thoughts of the upcoming weekend, the Bruins made sure to build on the momentum they began with a 7-0 shutout victory against No. 24 Fresno State.

UCLA had very little trouble getting the win over the Anteaters on Tuesday, even with a lineup that didn't include sophomore Ashley Joelson, who usually fills the No. 4 position for the Bruins. Moreover, UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster continues to experiment with the doubles lineup. She teamed Lin with fellow junior Riza Zalameda at the No. 1 position, freshman Yasmin Schnack with junior Elizabeth Lumpkin on court No. 2, and sophomore Anna-Viktoria Lind and freshman Stephanie Wetmore on the third court.

"Every time they play, we get more feedback," Sampras Webster said. "We'll find out a lot more this weekend when they get challenged a bit more."

"I think it's just early in the season and we're going to try to see who our best teams are."

Once the Bruins got off to a quick start in doubles play, it was apparent that there was no way UC Irvine would be able to catch a fire in singles. The Anteaters dropped five matches in straight sets, with only junior Becky Bernhard able to capture a set at the top court against Zalameda.

"It was a tough start and after I lost the first set, I realized I'd just have to grind it out to get the win," said Zalameda, who won 10-7 in the third-set super-tiebreaker.

"I'm glad we got a match in before this weekend," Sampras Webster added. "Our players need to keep playing and building their confidence."

ZALAMEDA RECEIVES PAC-10 HONOR: Zalameda was named the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 5-11 after she defeated the nation's fourth-ranked player, Melanie Gloria, in straight sets in UCLA's dual match against Fresno State. This is the first such award Zalameda has achieved in her career as a Bruin.

"It's really tough to get that, because our conference is tough," Zalameda said. "I think I had a good win, and it was nice to get the award."

BRUIN CAPTURES TOURNAMENT TITLE: Freshman walk-on Becky Duesler competed in the women's open singles draw of the 55th Annual Pasadena Rose Bowl Championships this weekend and found herself in the championship match after defeating Marcia Lee 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals.

Duesler went on to defeat Olivia Colman, a four-star recruit in the top 150 of the USTA rankings who received a full-ride scholarship to San Diego State for the upcoming season, 7-5, 6-4 to capture the championship.

"It's nice to know I can still compete with players from other schools and that I have the potential to beat them," Duesler said.

MEN'S TENNIS: The No. 6 UCLA men's tennis team will have to wait longer than expected before heading to Chicago, Ill., after being stuck at LAX for several hours on Tuesday afternoon. The Bruins were scheduled to arrive in Chicago for the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors on Tuesday night, but will have to postpone arrival because of nearly a foot of snow at their destination.

The Bruins play their first match Friday evening when they take on No. 26 Miami in the first round of action.

(C) 2007 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

02-16-2007, 04:58 PM
UCLA puts passion, preparation in play

By Kendall Salter Daily Bruin
February 13, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- The few people who were around after the UCLA women's tennis practice on Monday afternoon were treated to an impromptu match between two of the Bruins' best.

Junior Riza Zalameda and freshman Yasmin Schnack dueled in the flickering shadows of the afternoon sun as coach Stella Sampras Webster and a few players looked on.

"I didn't tell them to play. This is just them being competitive," Sampras Webster said.

Competitive may have been an understatement.

As the match progressed, the intensity level grew, with Zalameda's power being countered by Schnack's calm finesse. Zalameda danced, hopped and lunged her way around the court, zipping her serves with devastating accuracy, muttering angrily with each point lost. Schnack returned each ball coolly, reared up and smashed one forehand after another down the lines.

Coach Sampras Webster hopes for the same kind of passionate play when the UC Irvine Anteaters invade Westwood for a match with the No. 15 Bruins. Irvine (5-1) comes into the match riding the momentum of consecutive sweeps in their last two matches against San Diego State and Hawai'i. UCLA also swept Hawai'i earlier in the season.

"Their No. 1 player is good. We play them almost every year, and each time they have put some good teams together," Sampras Webster said.

The Anteaters are led by two-time defending Big West Player of the Week Becky Bernhard, who has beaten two top-75 players in the last two weeks. Because the Bruins (4-2) face two tough tests this weekend, with matches at Cal and Stanford, there is some concern that UCLA might be caught looking past tomorrow's opponent. According to freshman Stephanie Wetmore, that won't be a problem.

"It's important to play point by point and not look ahead, or you lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish," Wetmore said.

Coach Sampras Webster said that her team was focused on Irvine, and showed confidence in UCLA's prospects tomorrow.

"I feel good about our team going in, dominating like we should," she said. "Everyone is always excited to compete."

Sampras Webster also raised the possibility of further changes is her lineup. On Friday against Fresno State, she put Schnack at the No. 3 spot, moving Tracy Lin up to the second position. Both players responded with impressive victories.

"I was impressed with how Tracy played in winning a tough match. Yasmin was very excited to get her first home win."

There is, as always, room for improvement, but Sampras Webster's younger players are beginning to mature as the season progresses.

"Yasmin is feeling more comfortable. She needs to be brave and use her volley," Sampras Webster said.

Wetmore also is feeling more comfortable as a Bruin. Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Wetmore admitted to experiencing growing pains during the fall season, but has adapted to both collegiate life and the level of tennis, all while leaning on her veteran teammates for support.

"I think our team strength and support gives us an advantage over our opponents," Wetmore said. "It's nice to have the extra support."

(C) 2007 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

02-22-2007, 05:30 PM
Tennis gears up for LMU match

Jason Lidman
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2007

After nearly upsetting top-ranked Stanford this past weekend, the UCLA women’s tennis team (5-4) looks to bounce back when it hosts Loyola Marymount (3-1) at the Los Angeles Tennis Center today.

Despite losing both its matches last week to No. 9 Cal and No. 1 Stanford, the Bruins’ morale was reinvigorated after their inspiring performance against the Cardinal.

“I think our weekend was kind of good and bad,” senior Alex McGoodwin said. “We didn’t pull off either of our matches, but we had a really close one against Stanford and I think that gave us a little confidence.”

Not only did the Bruins gain confidence, but it was also a good learning experience.

“We have come away from those two losses learning more about what we need to work on individually,” junior Tracy Lin said. “The coaches have come up with individual plans for all of us.”

The morale of the team was undoubtedly low after the tough loss to Cal last Friday, but the Bruins didn’t let this show in their game against Stanford. Coach Stella Sampras Webster was very pleased – she praised all her players for their great character.

“I really didn’t know how the team was going to respond,” Sampras Webster said.

“But everyone competed extremely well,” she continued. “We definitely had opportunities to win the match, but it was encouraging that we could beat the No. 1 team in the country.”

With this new encouragement, the Bruins are confident they can pull off a solid win against LMU in their day match. Sampras Webster is expecting to do well today.

“Everyone needs to be focused and ready to compete,” she said. “We had a good practice today, so we should do well against LMU.”

In order to prepare, the team has been focusing on fitness. The players have been conditioning and improving foot-working skills.

“We’re trying to get a little more fit because we’ve been losing too many three-set matches,” Sampras Webster said. “I think fitness is key to winning those matches.”

If last year is any indication of how UCLA will do, then there is a good chance the Bruins will fare well.

The women’s tennis team convincingly swept LMU 7-0 a season ago.

However, this time around LMU has had two successful wins over ranked teams.

They are looking to add the Bruins to that list.

Additionally, LMU has moved up again in the FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings.

Despite these facts, McGoodwin feels that the inspirational play from the Bruins’ performance at Stanford will carry over into this game.

“I was really proud of the team because we really regrouped and came out strong against Stanford, and we came close to beating them,” McGoodwin said.

“We feel really good about our match tomorrow. We’re looking to go out and dominate LMU tomorrow.”

© 2007 ASUCLA Student Media

02-27-2007, 03:16 PM
UCLA looks to tame Lions on the road

By Ajaybir Behniwal Daily Bruin
February 27, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- Five days after rain delayed a showdown between the women's tennis teams of UCLA and Loyola Marymount, the two teams will meet to challenge one another.

The No. 15 Bruins (5-4) will travel a short distance to take on the No. 64 Lions (3-2). Though the match was originally scheduled to be played at the Los Angeles Tennis Center last Thursday, the new date meant a new location and one which has been previously unvisited by UCLA.

"It's going to be away, which will add something a little different to the match - and we've never played there either," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

The Bruins are coming off a week with no matches, but have utilized the time to their advantage, working on aspects of their games they felt were lacking during the prior weekend in the Bay Area where they took on No. 7 Cal and top-ranked Stanford.

The team worked on footwork, doubles play and hitting forehands and backhands deeper to their opponents.

"We had a week off and it was good because we got to work really hard physically and on certain shots," junior Riza Zalameda said. "It'll be nice to see how it all carries out."

The match serves another important purpose for UCLA as well - it will help prepare the team for not only its weekend matches on the road against Washington and Washington State, but also for its biggest home match of the season against No. 8 USC.

The Bruins are looking to build and regain as much confidence as possible in its next three matches before facing the Trojan squad on March 8 at LATC.

"These next three matches are going to be all about building confidence," sophomore Ashley Joelson said.

"We just want to keep competing," Sampras Webster added. "We want to get some matches in before we play a team like USC."

Though UCLA was anticipating and ready to play the match last week, the weather conditions forced them to wait even longer than expected, but the Bruins are nonetheless eager to take the courts and get themselves back on track.

"We were ready to play last week, and we were just bummed out that it rained," Zalameda said. "I think, if anything, we're just going to be more hungry to play."

If the clouds and rainstorms that are projected for today's weather forecast do strike Southern California, the two teams may be forced to push their match back yet another day.

A match on Wednesday would also have to be played at LMU because of the match that is scheduled between the No. 6 UCLA's men's tennis team and defending national champions No. 8 Pepperdine.

The original relocation of the postponed matchup was due to the fact that the Waves would be practicing on the courts at LATC to get a feel before heading into the top-10 battle on Wednesday.

If the match is rescheduled, the Bruins would have to go through the same routine as they did last week when they first learned of the initial postponement.

"When you wake up and you're ready to play and you don't play, it's tough to get that sort of feeling again the next day," Joelson said.

(C) 2007 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

03-01-2007, 04:24 PM
Huskies Return Home for Pair of Pac-10 Matches

UW welcomes No. 15 UCLA, No. 8 USC to Seattle

Feb. 28, 2007

THIS WEEK: After playing six of its last eight matches on the road, the Washington women's tennis team (1-7, 0-2 Pac-10) start a March schedule that will see them at home for six of nine matches. First up for the Huskies are No. 15 UCLA on Friday, March 2 at 12 p.m., followed by No. 8 USC on Saturday, March 3 at 12 p.m. at Nordstrom Tennis Center.

CAN'T BEAT FREE: Admission to all tennis matches is free. Thanks to Cingular, there is also free parking for tennis fans (see lower-left box for more info). In addition, complimentary pizza and soft drinks will be served in between the doubles and singles matches. Fans that are unable to attend the home matches can follow along from home with live scoring and live video -- once again for free!

LAST WEEK: The Huskies picked up their first win of the 2007 season with a 4-3 victory at Illinois. With the match tied a 3-3, Joyce Ardies won in the No. 3 singles spot to clinch the Huskies first road win since April 9, 2005 at Arizona State. The Huskies also were swept by Purdue.

SCOUTING UCLA: The No. 15 UCLA Bruins come to Seattle with a 6-4 record. Their four losses have come to No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 Northwestern, No. 7 California, and No. 13 Clemson. Head Coach Stella Sampras Webster's squad has three ranked singles players. Junior Riza Zalameda is the highest-ranked Bruin, checking in at No. 43. She is followed by freshman Yasmin Schnack at No. 62 and Tracy Lin at No. 67. In doubles, Elizabeth Lumpkin and Stephanie Wetmore are ranked No. 48. Although UCLA has already played Stanford and California, this weekends matches at Washington and Washington State are considered their first Pac-10 Conference matches of the season. Sampras Webster is the older sister of retired tennis great Pete Sampras. Washington is 2-15 all-time against the Bruins, with the Huskies last beating UCLA in 2003.

SCOUTING USC: USC (6-2) began the season ranked No. 3 in the nation, but has moved to No. 8 in the latest ITA national rankings. USC's pair of losses came at the hands of No. 1 Stanford and No. 7 California. The Trojans are blessed to have five players ranked nationally in singles. Freshman Sarah Fansler sits at No. 12, followed by No. 20 Lindsey Nelson, No. 48 Anca Anastasiu, No. 77 Dianne Matias and No. 89 Amanda Fink. In doubles, Fansler/Matias are No. 24, ahead of No. 25 Matias/Nelson, No. 30 Anastasiu/Smekodub and No. 31 DeVera/Fink. USC is 13-1 all-time against the Huskies, having won 7-0 last season at home. Washington's lone win came in a 6-1 decision in 2003 in Seattle.


Freshman Joyce Ardies is the only Huskies with a better than .500 record in singles this season. She is 9-6 overall and has a team best 4-4 record in dual matches.
The doubles duo of Tara Simpson and Melinda Wong are 5-3 in dual meet action and 8-3 overall, both tops for the Huskies. The Huskies sport a 8-16 doubles record in dual meets so far.
Washington is a 0-8 in the No. 1 and No. 4 singles slots in dual matches.
The Huskies are 7-10 in three-set matches this season. They also have a 7-4 record in sets that are decided by tie breakers.
Simpson leads all current Huskies with a career singles record of 27-24 in dual matches and 46-39 overall record. She played No. 1 singles for the Huskies in their last six matches.
Morgan Ramser made her singles debut at Purdue and Illinois this past week and went 1-1.
Three Huskies hail from the state of Washington (Allison Rainey, Lauren Summers, and Melinda Wong).

03-02-2007, 03:38 PM
Women’s tennis heads to Washington schools
Ajaybir Behniwal (Contact)
Published: Friday, March 2, 2007

After a convincing victory over LMU to gain some momentum, the UCLA women’s tennis team will take a trip in hopes of adding to its growing confidence.

The No. 15 Bruins (6-4) head to the Pacific Northwest to face Washington and Washington State today and on Saturday, respectively.

UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster understands the importance of two dominating performances this weekend when her squad opens up the Pac-10 season in its only matchup against both teams.

With No. 8 USC looming on the Bruins’ schedule, Sampras Webster believes this weekend’s matches will help provide the foundation her team needs to take on the Trojans at home next week. The Bruins’ crosstown rival will also be making the trip to the state of Washington and will face the teams on opposite days.

Though UCLA has already lost two matches to Pac-10 teams California and Stanford, those dual matches won’t count against the Bruins since it was the first meeting between the two teams. But since the Bruins face off against the Cougars and Huskies just once each season, these meetings will count toward Pac-10 standings, and the team thinks it has a good chance of getting off on the right foot in conference play.

“We have a good chance to do well and these next couple of matches should really help us regain our confidence,” sophomore Ashley Joelson said earlier this week.

MEN’S TENNIS HEADS TO SAN DIEGO: The men’s tennis team will meanwhile travel a far shorter distance to compete in a doubles tournament.

Though not all the members of the No. 5 Bruin squad will be able to play, since Chris Surapol has been sidelined since Sunday because of an injury, several players will still be taking part in the Pacific Coast Doubles Championships in La Jolla.

The top Bruin duo will be seniors Benjamin Kohlloeffel and Philipp Gruendler, who were ranked No. 1 nationally for much of last season and look to reach that level once again. Also taking the courts for UCLA will be sophomore Haythem Abid and junior Mathieu Dehaine, who played their first match as a team together Wednesday against Pepperdine.

Though Abid said he felt as though he struggled, he has confidence in his new partner’s doubles game and was impressed by how he handled himself against the Waves.

“Mathieu was playing solid and hitting his serves really well,” Abid said. “I just need to step up and play well also. My backhand has been struggling, especially when I return serves.”

Another Bruin tandem will be sophomore Michael Look and junior Jeremy Drean, a team that played together sparingly last season and just once this year.

Wednesday’s match against the Waves was the last home match for the Bruins until March 30, but UCLA will be taking on USC next Friday in their next dual match.

03-09-2007, 04:56 PM
Tennis unable to conquer Troy
Kendall Salter (Contact)
Published: Friday, March 9, 2007

Riza Zalameda screamed in frustration. Alex McGoodwin slammed her racket against her foot. Fans hollered their disapproval as another line call went against the Bruins. Tracy Lin sat dazed-looking as she was carted off the courts under the illuminated lights at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

It was that kind of afternoon for the No. 19 UCLA women’s tennis team (8-5, 2-1 Pac-10), which fell 4-3 to crosstown rival No. 11 USC on Thursday afternoon in Westwood.

In front of the largest home crowd of the year, UCLA struggled to match the Trojan’s intensity during doubles, losing the crucial point to the Trojans (9-2, 3-0) after junior Zalameda and senior McGoodwin fell at Court 1, following a loss at Court 2 by freshman Yasmin Schnack and sophomore Ashley Joelson.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the doubles point,” Coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

Gaining the doubles point has been a priority for Sampras Webster and the Bruins, who have mixed and matched players in order to discover an effective set for doubles competition.

“When you play teams like USC, you have to maintain a high level of play throughout the entire match,” Sampras Webster said.

The Bruins took that message to heart at the start of singles play, quickly capturing four of the opening sets, highlighted by Zalameda’s dominating 6-1 performance to take control over Trojan sophomore Lindsey Nelson, the nation’s No. 13-ranked singles player. But the lead wouldn’t last as Nelson began an emotional come-from-behind effort to take sets two and three. The clinching point of the third set was hotly debated by Zalameda and the large crowd, but the call stood and Nelson took the set.

“It shouldn’t get to that point,” Sampras Webster said when asked about the call. “We had chances; I don’t know what it is. (Not closing out matches) seems to be a pattern with our team.”

With the overall match still in the balance, junior Tracy Lin staged a valiant comeback at Court 2, only to fall ill in the third set. Lin, sustaining weakness, retired before the game could conclude, giving USC its fourth-straight win over the Bruins.

Sampras Webster was pleased with her team’s overall effort against a talented Trojan team, citing Schnack’s straight-set victory in singles.

“Every match we lost went to three sets,” Sampras Webster said. “We just have to maintain our intensity. The players that can do that are the players that win.”

For the first time this season, dozens of fans filed in and out of LATC, drawn by the free pizza and crosstown rivalry. It was an electric atmosphere, with fans cheering every hit and urging the Bruins against their rival.

“The girls loved it. It was great. That makes it fun to play, fun to compete, fun to coach,” Sampras Webster said of the home crowd, which included four men with “UCLA” painted across their chests.

The Bruins will get another shot against the Trojans on April 20 at USC.

“That’s the great thing about tennis. There’s always another match,” Sampras Webster said.

03-27-2007, 04:10 PM :worship:

04-14-2007, 05:54 PM

04-14-2007, 05:55 PM

04-20-2007, 04:30 PM
UCLA women's record picking up
By Ajaybir Behniwal Daily Bruin
April 20, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- The UCLA women's tennis team has been playing a caliber of tennis this season that isn't necessarily indicative of its 15-7 record.

However, the No. 12 Bruins are well aware that five of those matches were close 4-3 losses, two of which were the result of an injury, including an earlier loss to No. 8 USC.

For that reason, the Bruins realize they have just as good a chance as any other team to perform well in the NCAA Championships.

And with the regular season coming to a close this weekend, UCLA is playing some of its best tennis against top opponents.

"We're looking to play our best tennis at the end of the season," senior Alex McGoodwin said. "I think we are starting to get it together, so it's exciting."

The Bruins will be looking to keep it together when they travel to the Marks Tennis Stadium to take on the Trojans in a rematch of an earlier loss this season.

This match will be the first taste of the rivalry on the road for the freshmen.

"I'm sure for our freshmen to seewhat it's like to play in tough conditions as far as they're going to have their fans out, their band out," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "Hopefully our players will respond and deal with that pressure, that adversity, and come out winners."

The Bruins have been able to handle pressure, most recently against fellow Pac-10 teams No. 1 Stanford and No. 9 California.

Their performances against the two Bay Area teams have Sampras Webster excited to see how her team will respond to the tough task of facing USC at the end of the season.

"It's kind of a weird time of the season because a lot of the players are tired, but it's also USC and for them it's UCLA, so I'm expecting each team to come out doing their best and playing their best," she said.

Though the Bruins may be fatigued, the match against the Trojans is one they have been anticipating ever since falling to them in a climatic match earlier this season at home at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

It was a game in which the deciding match was the direct result of junior Tracy Lin being injured, a situation the Bruins hope not to find themselves in on Saturday.

"Last time we played USC, not all of us were healthy," Lin said. "And although some of us are coming off of injuries, I think everyone is more or less ready to play."

The gap in talent between the Bruins and Trojans has been a very small one recently, with the majority of the matches coming down to the wire with three-set battles, and this season has proven to be the same.

The main concern for UCLA when it takes on USC will be its ability to execute on the big points and get off to a good start on each court.

"We've almost always been close with them," junior Elizabeth Lumpkin said.

"It's always a team that we know we have to be ready to play, but at the same time we know that it's a team we can beat and we just need to execute."

(C) 2007 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

04-24-2007, 05:21 PM
Tennis secures Gauntlet
Ajaybir Behniwal (Contact)
Published: Monday, April 23, 2007

On the verge of being the third Bruin to lose a match in a matter of minutes, sophomore Ashley Joelson maintained her composure and kept herself in the match.

With the No. 12 UCLA women’s tennis team tied with No. 8 USC 3-3, the outcome of Joelson’s match would determine the winner of the rivalry.

Joelson led 3-0 in the third set before Dianne Matias reeled off five straight games to take a 5-3 lead, just one game away from clinching the match for the Trojans.

“Right at that moment I knew they were counting on me to finish the match,” Joelson said. “I stepped up as best as I could and it turned out for the best.”

Joelson was able to pull off a three-set win in a tiebreak, clinching the win for the Bruins and officially bringing the Lexus Gauntlet back to Westwood.

Though Joelson was able to fight her way back into the match, there were times of concern from the sidelines as her teammates and coaches saw the momentum shifting into the Trojans’ direction.

“I was a little concerned because it was coming down to the wire,” UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said. “What was hard to watch was that she had game points to go up 4-2. She was in every game, but she just wasn’t winning them.”

When Joelson found herself in a hole, she looked to her teammates for support in an otherwise hostile environment created by USC fans and the USC band, and understood that they were looking to her for a win.

“I looked over at my teammates and I knew it was all on me,” she said. “I just let the pressure go.”

The Bruins were able to start the day off with a clean sweep in doubles action, an area that had previously been the cause of concern.

With the doubles teams beginning to gel together, UCLA will likely become an even greater threat to other top-ranked teams.

UCLA made sure to carry the momentum into singles as junior Elizabeth Lumpkin captured a straight-set win over Julie Smekodub. From there, though, USC was able to claw its way back into the match with two come-from-behind victories on the top two courts.

Bruin junior Tracy Lin was ahead of Sarah Fansler 6-4, 4-0 before Fansler was able to win five consecutive games and go on to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

With a similar situation beginning to brew on Joelson’s court, the thought of the match slipping away may have crossed the Bruins’ minds, but the sophomore made sure not to let her opponent get the decisive sixth game.

“The whole time, Ashley was just very composed,” Sampras Webster said. “She just thrived under the pressure and that’s what you want. You want a player who just loves being in that situation. She didn’t let anything throw her off.”

The win, along with the celebration, is a moment that Joelson will likely never forget.

“It’s a match that I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life,” Joelson said. “There’s no greater feeling that I’ve had in college tennis than that. The team just rushed out there and I’ve never felt better playing tennis than that moment.”

05-03-2007, 05:33 PM
UCLA women's tennis nets good draw through recent wins

By Ajaybir Behniwal Daily Bruin
May 2, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- The No. 12 UCLA women's tennis team's end-of-the-year run proved to be crucial in garnering dividends.

With late season wins over Cal, Pepperdine and USC, the Bruins were able to notch the 12th seed in the NCAA Championships and will host an NCAA Regional after having had to travel to Malibu last season.

"It's a good draw," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said.

"We've got opportunities to do well."

The Bruins will first play host to Quinnipiac University, located in Hamden, Conn., on May 11. The Bobcats (12-6) qualified for the NCAA Championships by claiming their fourth consecutive Northeast Conference Championship in a come-from-behind victory over Long Island University.

In the other opening-round match of the Westwood Regional, San Diego State takes on Florida State with the winner advancing to play the winner of the Bruins' matchup against the Bobcats.

From there, the draw becomes more difficult for the Bruins, as they could be scheduled to face fifth-seeded Northwestern, a team that handed UCLA one of its early-season losses at the National Team Indoor Championships.

However, the Bruins are confident in their improvement throughout the course of the season, and Sampras Webster feels that her team has increased their level of play as the season has progressed.

"We lost to Northwestern earlier in the season, but we're definitely a different team," she said. "I like our chances against them now that we have our doubles teams set and players playing well. I think we've got an excellent shot to beat them."

Sampras Webster's attitude is one that has trickled down to the players as well, who have been playing some of their best tennis in the last few matches.

The Bruins have also assured one another and have grown together throughout the season.

"I have a lot of confidence in this team that we will be able to take on Northwestern," junior Riza Zalameda said.

If UCLA was able to upset Northwestern in the Round of 16 in Athens, Ga., a potential quarterfinal opponent would be fourth-seeded Florida, the team that ousted the Bruins in the Round of 16 in last year's NCAA Championships in Palo Alto.

"That would be nice to get there and to play Florida and try to get them back after what they did to us last year," Sampras Webster said of the possibility.

"That would be a great motivation."

But for now, the Bruins will focus on the task at hand, Quinnipiac, before looking too far ahead.

"We're just going to take it one match at a time and can't overlook any team," Sampras Webster said.

"We're just going to take care of what we can do to prepare our team to play their best in this tournament."

DUO CLAIMS PAC-10 TITLE: The doubles team of Zalameda and freshman Yasmin Schnack captured the Pac-10 Doubles Championship over the weekend in Ojai.

The tandem defeated Stanford's Linday Burdette and Anne Yelsey 6-1, 6-0 in one of the most lopsided victories in the event's history and became the first Bruin duo to do so since 2001.

"We played almost flawless," Zalameda said.

"We were really focused and motivated to win that match. It was an awesome feeling."

JOELSON RECEIVES HONOR: Sophomore Ashley Joelson was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week last week for her performance in a dual match against USC that she clinched for the Bruins. After going down 5-3 in the third set, she was able to turn the tables around and win in the tie-break to help UCLA avenge an earlier loss to the Trojans at home. It was the sophomore's first such honor.

OTHER PAC-10 REPRESENTATIVES: The Bruins were a part of perhaps the most competitive conference this season, as several other Pac-10 teams were not only invited to the NCAA Championships, but also seeded high.

Stanford, the defending champion and winner of seven of the last 10 tournaments, received the overall No. 1 seed and is in the same bracket as No. 8 USC and at-large bid Oregon, two fellow conference schools.

Arizona State will be traveling to Berkeley to face one of 16 NCAA Regional hosts, Cal. Perhaps the most surprising at-large bid, however, is Arizona, as the Wildcats posted a mere 9-13 record this season.

GROUNDSTROKES: The Bruins defeated nine of the 64 teams in the tournament during the regular season. ... All of UCLA's seven losses have come to teams in the draw, with two coming to the Cardinal. ... In the history of the NCAA Championships, UCLA has made it to the championship match three times, but came up short on all three occasions to Stanford, who Sampras Webster feels is more beatable this year than in the past. This could be seen in two close matchups between the Bruins and the Cardinal.

(C) 2007 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

05-21-2007, 04:34 PM

UCLA surprises Florida to reach tennis semifinals
From Times Staff and Wire Reports
May 21, 2007

UCLA upset fourth-seeded Florida, 4-3, Sunday to reach the semifinals of the NCAA women's tennis championships at Athens, Ga.

The 12th-seeded Bruins will face a familiar opponent in today's semifinal — top-seeded Stanford, which beat ninth-seeded Miami, 4-1, to reach the final four for the 25th time in 26 years.

The No. 5 singles match gave UCLA its victory when Alex McGoodwin beat Csilla Borsany, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

"It was a really tight match, especially when I got broken there late in the second set," McGoodwin said. "I think we were both nervous and we both really, really wanted to win."

UCLA had taken a 3-0 lead before Florida rallied to tie it.

The Bruins' Elizabeth Lumpkin and Stepanie Wetmore won the doubles point, Yasmin Schnack beat Anastasia Revzina, 6-4, 6-1, and Lumpkin prevailed, 6-2, 6-4, over Whitney Benik to give them a 3-0 lead.

05-26-2007, 05:40 PM
UCLA Women's Tennis Falls in Title Match

Bruins will return all but one starter in 2008.

By Ajaybir Behniwal Daily Bruin

May 23, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- ATHENS, Ga. - As the UCLA women's tennis team watched Georgia Tech fight its way to a national championship on Tuesday night, there was very little that could be done.

The No. 12 Bruins (21-8) finally saw their incredible run come to an end in the NCAA Championship match against a Yellow Jacket team that outplayed them down the stretch to capture the university's first-ever NCAA Women's Tennis Championship by a 4-2 score.

"They were a really tough team and they fought really hard down to the wire," freshman Yasmin Schnack said.

With the No. 3 Yellow Jackets ahead 3-2 and Bruin junior Tracy Lin fighting in what would be the decisive match on Court 2, the momentum quickly shifted in the direction of Georgia Tech senior and recipient of the Most Outstanding Player award Alison Silverio.

Sliverio got off to a quick start in the third after splitting the first two with Lin by breaking the Bruin's serve and then pounding out three straight games to take a 4-0 lead that would not be taken away from her.

"Tracy got off to a bad start and Silverio just played unbelievable," UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "I don't think Tracy lost that match, but Alison just won it by executing her shots. Tracy by no means played poorly."

Lin felt as though she had plenty of opportunities during the first set to capture it and go ahead of Silverio early and that the momentum she gained after winning the second set would carry into the third set, but her opponent showed otherwise.

"When we went back out there, she turned it up a notch," Lin said.

"She was just the better player tonight."

After capturing the doubles point as they have in every match of the NCAA Championships this season, the Bruins took the singles courts and won just two out of six first sets in all the matches.

However, Lin, and fellow junior Elizabeth Lumpkin came back to win their respective second sets. The tables turned on Court 5 where Alex McGoodwin lost her second set after coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win the first.

McGoodwin's opponent, Christy Striplin, was able to adapt to the Bruin captain's serve-and-volley game by hitting passing shot after passing shot, forcing McGoodwin to play from the baseline.

"She was coming up with some really good shots and it was making my life difficult so I had to kind of revert to staying on the baseline some more," McGoodwin said.

"She did what she does well and I didn't get to do what I do well as much."

Though the Bruins weren't able to do what they had hoped when they entered the match and win a national championship, the team still remained optimistic about the future. The team realized their accomplishments in this season's postseason were far above and beyond what anyone had anticipated.

Entering the championship match as the lowest-ever seed and having defeated No. 1 Stanford to ensure the Cardinal didn't make the NCAA Championship match for the first time since 1998, the Bruins found themselves as the underdog, but felt they gave everything they had left after three straight days of play on the courts.

"It's unbelievable that we got this far, and at the same time, it's just a huge step in this entire program, and it just gives us that belief that we can do it," Lin said. "It was a great season for us, when we take a step back and look at it."

The Bruin women's tennis team, after the key addition of the nation's top recruit, Andrea Remynse, is looking forward to building off this season's run to the title match.

The team hopes to reach the same point next season and end with a different result.

UCLA will be losing McGoodwin, however, the team's vocal leader throughout the season, but will be returning the Pac-10 doubles champion duo of Schnack and junior Riza Zalameda.

With all the experience the Bruins acquired and the talent of incoming Remynse, the UCLA women's tennis team feels that it is in a solid position heading into the next season.

"It's exciting to just build off of this because we've got a great freshman coming in next year and us getting to the finals just shows that UCLA can be one of the top teams in the country, and it's recognized now after this match," Sampras Webster said.

"I think we're looking forward to using this experience as motivation for next year and next season," Lumpkin added.

"We know that the amount of work we put in is going to pay off at some point next season."

And even though the Bruins would like to put the loss they suffered Tuesday in the past, Lin knows that it will be a match that everyone on the team will never forget. At the same time, however, the junior feels that it will only better the team and help them understand what needs to be done in order to go deep into the NCAA Championships.

"Next time we're going to take it for real," Lin said.

"We're going to remember this loss forever and just use it to push ourselves harder until we get that last win."

(C) 2007 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

05-31-2007, 11:01 PM


05-31-2007, 11:03 PM

09-04-2007, 02:43 AM

09-04-2007, 03:21 AM