Feb. 23, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - Coming off a busy weekend at the ITA National Team Indoors in Virginia, the eighth-ranked UCLA men's tennis team (10-1) returns to action at the Los Angeles Tennis Center this weekend, hosting St. Mary's (2-6) on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The match marks the first-ever meeting between the two programs in men's tennis. There is no charge for admission to the match. Those unable to attend can follow the progress of Saturday's match by accessing the LIVE STATS.
Despite suffering a 4-2 upset to No. 10 Duke in the first round of last week's ITA National Team Indoors, the Bruins were able to close out the tournament with two impressive consolation wins. UCLA notched a 4-0 victory over No. 20 Tennessee on Saturday before just edging No. 13 Cal, 4-3 on Monday morning. The UCLA-Cal showdown was a marathon encounter, with the two Pac-12 rivals beginning play on Sunday and not finishing until well past midnight. Bruin sophomore Clay Thompson clinched the win for UCLA at court No. 2, as he downed Carlos Cueto, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(5).
UCLA's result at the National Team Indoors didn't affect the team's national standing, as the Bruins stayed at No. 8 in the ITA Team Rankings issued on Feb. 22. New individual rankings were released for the first time since Jan. 3 last Thursday. Since he took the fall season off, Nick Meister was not eligible for a singles ranking until last Thursday, however he is now the team's highest-ranked player at No. 39. He is followed by No. 70 Thompson, No. 104 Adrien Puget and No. 108 Marcos Giron. UCLA does not currently have a doubles team ranked.
This Saturday's match against St. Mary's will be the team's final tune-up before facing top-ranked USC next Wednesday. Had UCLA not lost to Duke, the two teams would've met in the second round of the ITA National Team Indoors. The Trojans ended up winning the event, posting a 4-3 win over No. 3 Ohio State in the championship match. Next Wednesday's UCLA-USC showdown will take place at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at 2:00 p.m.
UCLA head coach Billy Martin, who is in his 19th season at the helm of the Bruin program, should recognize a familiar face when his team hosts St. Mary's on Saturday, as his son, Wil, is a freshman tennis player for the Gaels.