Bruins fall to Trojans 3-4 among record crowd

Before I mention anything about the result of the match or reflect on my “Senior Day,” I want to first THANK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU–Bruins and Trojans–for coming out to today’s match. Of my four years involved with college tennis, today was by far the largest crowd we have ever had at LATC; it was just electric! People were walking all around the concourse–people decked in blue, decked in cardinal red, and those who just wanted to watch some exciting tennis action. There were kids in the stands, parents bringing their kids, and alumni of each schools. It was really, just absolutely awesome. It is everything that college tennis stands for and the large, diverse crowd–despite being bitter rivals–made for a wonderful atmosphere. Again, thank you everyone for coming out today and making it a special day for our sport. We hope you had a good time!

With that being said….it was a tough loss today. Again, the great crowd, the beautiful day, the great effort and heart shown by all of our guys make the sting of a loss not quite as bad. But goodness, it still stings! Any loss to USC is tough to take and today was no exception–it was right there for us! Despite losing doubles, winning at no. 2 by Amit and Warren brought us some momentum and in singles, we started off extremely hot. We won the first sets on courts 2-5–four singles sets enough to win the match if we could close out the seconds. Of course, nothing is ever that easy, especially when these two teams meet.

Anyway, at no. 1 Daniel played his heart out against the nation’s top player in a very, very tightly contested first set before getting broken to lose 6-4. But elsewhere, again, things were looking good. Amit, Clay, Adrien and Holden ALL won their first sets in dominating fashion as only Max at no. 6 lost his opening set. And as the second sets started, Clay started off strong against a really good player in Daniel Nguyen. Amit was playing well and Adrien jumped out to a 4-2 lead up a break.In addition, Max was up 3-0 and Holden even in the second….things were looking promising.

First, kudos to Clay–he played maybe his best match of the year. Playing with fire, confidence, and just rocking his forehand and serve. It has been a pleasure to watch him develop over the course of the year and sometimes I forget he is only a freshman, playing with so much poise against an experienced player. He just dominated today and won in fashion to give us our first singles point.

And then hats off to Amit, too. With DK losing to Johnson and Clay winning, Amit was the only player left on the front courts. Always the showman, he did not disappoint in his final true home man; at 5-5 in the second set against fellow senior Jaak Poldma, Amit took his moment by the neck and tied the match up at 2-2. In the tiebreak, the crowd was rocking (my throat still hurts from all the cheering!) and just loved every minute of it. Amit hit some insane drop shots and went out against USC in style against a great opponent, just cherishing the moment.

And then, as they say, the wheels fell off. Adrien lost control of his match and ended up losing the second set before going down quickly in the third. Despite Max coming back to win the second set and lead in the third, it was basically up to Holden’s match now since Adrien was on the verge of losing in a match he had in his grasp. With the entire crowd literally crammed into the back courts, Holden ultimately lost 6-4 in the third as Max would win his match a few minutes later. And just like that, a match that we had in our hands, slipped a way. However, you have to credit USC for hanging in there and then stepping up when they had to. Still, it all just hurts.

You know, some matches you just get beat and others it is close the whole way. But this one? We were in control throughout the singles and just couldn’t close out a few matches in the second sets that we needed to. And it is as simple as that. And as much as I am disappointed in losing, Coach stressed how proud of us he was because we other than the result, we played a great and focused match. And we put our heart into it and came up short. But another thing we must remember is that this season is not over. We will most likely be hosting an NCAA Regional Round at LATC and this season, truthfully, is just beginning; it’s all about the NCAA Championship and we know we can compete with any team in the country. USC is as good as any and we were right in this one. We need to take confidence in our effort and wins, and practice a bit harder this next month before it really matters here at LATC and hopefully, up in Stanford. It might seem like the end, folks, but it is only the beginning. I am still so confident in all these guys and despite the loss, I feel pretty darn good about our chances moving forward. There have been many matches in my career where I just couldn’t sleep following the loss but this won’t be one of them–the loss stinks, and especially at home to USC, but I look forward to hopefully meeting these guys in the NCAA’s and confident in this team going forward in when it counts!

On a personal note, today was a great day (other than the loss, of course); thank you to everyone for all the support and cheers. I had NO IDEA that Coach Martin was going to present me (or Daniel) with a Senior Award…I figured since I wasn’t a player that I would not get one plus I did not know that it was happening for the other guys today after all. It was truly special. I love this team and have truly put every ounce of my heart and made so many sacrifices over the course of four years and it was just really, really special to Coach and Grant to do that for me. All of your support means the world and it is why I have continued to come back as Manager year after year and why it so special to be part of the wonderful Bruin family. We had some good moments today where the crowd was rockin’ and unfortunately, we couldn’t pull out the win. However, it does not take away the effort all of us did off the court in trying to make that win happen.

Sticking with my theme of this post, it is not time for season reflections or good-byes–we are just gettin’ started, baby! The NCAA’s are approaching in a month and the excitement is just beginning. There is so much tennis to be played and so much exciting Bruin spirit to be had, so there is no reason for any of that. I’m so pumped for the NCAA’s and hope that, despite this loss, you all are, too.

Until next week, the guys are taking tomorrow off probably before probably going on a sunday run together before practice officially reconvenes on Monday. Tuesday/Wednesday we will got Ojai (I’ll be going up Wednesday and Thursday) and that is a fun tournament to play individually against the conference’s best players.

On a final note, congrats to USC on winning today–they took it from us. But to all Bruin fans out there, thanks for your support and we will be back. See you soon! 🙂

Oh yeah, I almost forgot….GO BRUINS!!!

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7 Comments on “Bruins fall to Trojans 3-4 among record crowd”

  1. JERRY Sullivan Says:

    Barry,you are a class guy. Thanks for sharing on a memorable match.

    Go Bruins

    Jerry

    • Barry Says:

      Hey Jerry,

      Thank you for all your support and always reading and commenting on the blog–it really means a lot! I read every comment and I do appreciate it. Tough loss for the Bruins but I truly think we can take away some positives from today.

  2. Ramona Says:

    Barry your the best announcer in the history of UCLA tennis, I will miss u! Yes we are in great shape for the NCAA’s I know we can do this. GO BRUINS!

  3. Emily W. Says:

    Barry, you definitely deserved that award. (I didn’t know Coach was going to do something like that as well – that was so sweet of him!) Can’t wait for NCAAs to start up – I’ll be reading lots about it, hehe. 😀

    Thanks for the wrap – up and I’m happy to be part of that record crowd, haha. Yes, I think that’s the most amount of people I’ve seen ever for a UCLA-USC match. Crazy!

  4. Deborah Thompson Says:

    Thank you Barry for your genuine contribution to the Bruin spirit. Your gift of communication has enriched UCLA tennis forever.

    Hats off to you and best of luck in the future!

    Go Bruins!

    Deborah and Tommy Thompson

    • uclatennis Says:

      Thanks so much for all your comments and all your support–especially this. It truly means a lot and I do appreciate it. I’m always humbled by you both! It has been a wonderful four years for me–I will always be a Bruin and have dedicated myself this program for so long now.

      Tell Clay to enjoy it all, make the most of it, because it goes fast. This is the first of many great years for him and this team–i the future truly looks bright. I can’t wait to follow the guys in the years to come and see all the big things this team is doing!

      Thanks again for your comments 🙂

  5. darklucia Says:

    Thank you for this blog. I’m not a Bruin fan but just a fan of college tennis and it’s nice to see someone write about it from his heart. I’m glad you guys had a huge crowd for that match; your team deserves it. Good luck at NCAAs!

    (By the way, do you know why Kosakowski isn’t playing at Ojal? Is he just resting?)


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