Collegiate athletes train and compete for months leading up to the ultimate pinnacle – the NCAA Championships. On the tennis courts, those competitions begin this week and will feature many of the faces we’ve profiled this spring in our “CaliCAMPUS” feature.
Both UCLA squads enjoyed successful seasons, including the Men’s PAC-12 conference-winning Bruins. Graduating senior Gage Brymer and reigning PAC-12 Player of the Week Martin Redlicki will lead UCLA against visiting Army on Friday in Westwood. On the women’s side, Ena Shibahara and Jada Hart guide the lady Bruins to Malibu for a faceoff with UC Santa Barbara, with Pepperdine and LIU Brooklyn waiting in the wings. UCSB is feeling strong after a tournament victory at the Big West Championships last weekend, while the Bruins are rebounding from a tough loss opposite Oregon at the Championships in Ojai.
Sophomore Jessica Failla leads the 25th-ranked USC Trojans to Lubbock, Texas for an opening round match with Denver. The Pioneers were undefeated in conference play this year, and finished the season without losing a conference match. The teams last met in 2015 – the only previous meeting between the two – when the Trojans prevailed, 4-0.
Brandon Holt was instrumental in leading the Trojans to a PAC-12 Tournament championship at Ojai this month, and he will be at #1 singles when the USC men also meet Denver (rather coincidentally) in the opening draw. Holt will also be featured as the #1 doubles tandem alongside Riley Smith, both freshman looking to make a splash at Marks Stadium this weekend.
The UCSD Tritons fell in NCAA West Regionals to Azusa Pacific, ending a solid season for Coach Timmer Willing’s men’s squad. Top singles player Eric Tseng fell in his final match of the year, but celebrated with longtime friend and teammate Justin Zhang to prevail in doubles, 8-4. The Triton women, including junior Britta Mosser, closed their regular season in April with a win over Cal State LA and a positive showing at the West Coast Conference (WCC) Championships. The women tallied a 16-5 record overall.
Loyola Marymount University finished their campaigns in April, with the men concluding with a defeat at the hands of Portland (OR) and the women closing out the year at the WCC Championships in Claremont, an opening round loss to UCSD.
Local action this weekend takes place at UCLA and USC – be sure to check schedules at both schools to experience NCAA action, and good luck to all our Southern California teams and players nationwide!