Bruins are 1-0…I repeat, ONE AND OHH! (UCLA vs. BYU Recap)

Alright everyone, what a day it was! The Bruins came out and exerted their Bruin magic and defeated a solid BYU team 7-0–in decisive fashion. Truthfully, it was one of the most impressive opening day performances in a while. Were we perfect? Far, far from it. But as a whole, I really thought our energy, intensity, and overall will-power was excellent. And at this stage of the year, that is all you want. In this first match of the year, nobody will be playing their best tennis; Coach Martin has said and will continue to say that because it is about “getting better every time.” BUT what we do need to get in the habit of is being intense and focused and aggressive from the get-go. Frankly, we did that today and it was a really exciting first match.

DOUBLES:

Whoa were we READY!! I was more nervous about doubles, truthfully, with new teams and the fact that BYU is a great doubles team. We really just took it to them and completely dominated them on every court, in every way. Each court was focused and I felt the energy of each player from the stands; everyone came out, ready to be take it to the Cougars and wipe them off the court. Nobody was hesitant, nobody hung their head, and everybody played with intensity for doubles every game. Especially in these pro-sets, it is so easy to get off to a slow start or slow down at the end but neither team did that and as our veterans know, that is important for each game in doubles.

It was also the first look at the doubles teams, too. On court 1, Amit and Adrien did start slightly slow, but picked it up and played really well. Obviously, Amit is our only senior and his experience definitely is a great mix with Adrien’s craftiness and big game.

On court 2, Holden and Alex just steamrolled from the beginning; the only returning team from last year, I think they picked off where they left off with their explosive play and high-energy volleying and emotions. The famous Holden “COME ON” and the famous Brigham Scream were in full force this afternoon.

Lastly, was court 3, the freshman sensational duo of Clay Thompson and Daniel Kosakowski. Even though the other teams dominated, these guys did the same–and even more. So fired up, so ready, to aggressive, they walked out on the court and IMMEDIATELY overwhelmed BYU. It was really, really awesome to see these guys just go out there and put on the blue and gold for the first official time and show the world why they were playing at UCLA. Nothing analytical except to say that the sky is the limit for these guys.

SINGLES:

#1: Singles, as we know, it always a different story but I am happy to report that the energy from doubles carried over. At #1. Daniel, a freshman, showed zero nerves, took the court, and methodically won in straight sets against a good BYU opponent. It’s pretty rare for a freshman to play #1, but, Daniel officially proved (as if he had to of course) why he is #1 for this team. He is a freshman, but already a leader. His demeanor out there was just so focused; he’d miss a shot and then come back and hit a huge forehand down the line or a nasty backhand cross-court angle. He is going to run into some very, very good players at #1 but if he will continue to get better and from his play–and attitude–today, he definitely will be a leader for this team. I can’t wait to see him thrive!

#2: Amit was the only guy to get off to a slow start, but as Coach said, it is not how you finish but how you start. His match was a perfect example of him not playing that well but finding a way to win–down a set and 4-5, he fought back to take the second before rolling the third. You know, Amit is a senior and we know his game inside and out. He just has to use his immense talent–use that whipping forehand and he will be good. He did that towards the end of the match and gained some confidence being aggressive. He pulled it through tonight, so kudos to him for doing so.

#3: Making his front-court debut, Max Tabatruong also performed well. Again, he came out and tallied the first decisively, just out-grinding the BYU opponent. That is Max’s game; grind, grind, and grind and finally get a forehand to crush. However, he did lose the second set and I think it was him just getting a bit too defensive. Sometimes Max can get in a habit where he falls into being too defensive and grind-oriented, and I think Coach told him that and in the second set, he won 6-0 with relative ease. Still, a great first win for him and he will be a huge part of this team going forward this year. ALE!

#4: Our other freshman sensation, Clay Thompson, had the “show-court” of the back courts this afternoon and in proper style, his match did not disappoint. I love Clay’s game because it is so dynamic–he is big, explosive, and is going to be a heck of a player through his years. And because of this years team, he will also be heavily counted on as a freshman to lead and there is NO DOUBT that he will also thrive in this role. Energetic, talented, and a fierce competitor, he was really excited to play this match and happy for his win. On the court, he won pretty easily in the first set, and then lost badly in the second, before going up 5-1 in the third before finally winning 6-4. I talked to Clay after and he admitted he got a bit nervous for his first match with a whole crowd by him. I mean, after all, it is his first college match. He got the “W” and it will be a learning experience–he knows he could have won that match in straights but that is irrelevant because he came out and got the win and helped his team. Congrats big guy!

#5: Truthfully, not too much to say except Alex Brigham just played in the moment and came out and won. Never in doubt, he finished quickly, 6-4, 6-2 and overwhelmed the BYU guy with his talent and aggression and focus. Alex has been one of those guys were he has been “patiently” waiting his turn to contribute now as a redshirt Sophomore. Well, his time is here and in his first match of the year, he completely dominated and showed why all the incredible amount of work that he has put in as a Bruin has paid off. One of those guys who has already worked extremely hard, he has continued to improve and was a force out there today. I am so happy for him and can’t wait to see what he can do this year. Great win!!!

#6: Last by not least, Holden Seguso. I won’t lie; Holden is not in tip-top preparation for the season but in fairness, he is already there for us. Always has been, and well, always will. Sick not too long ago and filling in for the really sick Adrien (who had the flu a few days ago), Holden fought through the first set 7-6 before winning 6-0 in the second. When Holden finds his groove, he is unstoppable and this match was a perfect example of that; struggled to find his game in the first and once he did in the second, it was goodnight BYU. A senior and of course all-world talent, he will undoubtedly come up huge for us in his final season.

Anyway, it was a great win for us in every way, but as Coach Martin said, we have much to improve on and much TO prove still to the college tennis. It’s exciting and we can celebrate for tonight, but by tomorrow, time to recover and get ready for another tough match against UCSB. For all of you who came out and supported us, THANK YOU SO MUCH! We had a wonderful crowd and it means the world to the guys and to all of us.

Until then, GO BRUINS!!!! The season is here, baby!!!! 🙂

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