This past weekend was a good penultimate weekend of Pac-12 regular season tennis. I personally got to enjoy it by making the 3.5 hour drive up to Salt Lake City to watch the Utes battle two fellow NCAA bubble teams in Washington and Oregon.
On Friday afternoon the Utah/UW match was moved indoors as temperatures were well below the ITA minimum, infact there were some soft snow flurries in the air as I parked and walked into the indoor facility. Utah's indoor facility is pretty high quality with great viewing available behind each court
Utah won the doubles point but Washington would go on to win 2 straight singles points to gain the momentum
#16 Southern Cal at Arizona - Arizona has had a seemingly cursed season with several close losses. They won't have to worry about that this weekend as USC should win this match fairly easily. Prediction: USC 4-0
#31 Cal at #4 Stanford - Stanford won the first meeting between these two rivals back in February 4-1. Cal has improved since the last meeting and Stanford's elite aura has been somewhat diminished since February. The Bears will give the Cardinal a closer match this time around. Prediction: Stanford 4-3
Washington at #35 Utah - Utah needs to defend the home court against unranked Washington to keep its march toward the NCAA tournament on the correct route. Washington is desperate for wins to keep its slim tournament hopes alive. This will be a tight match and so far this season, Utah has been clutch in the tight moments while Washington has succumbed in most of the close matches. I expect Utah to get the job done in the end. Prediction: Utah 4-2
#2 UCLA at #33 Arizona State - UCLA has hit its stride and is looking like a legitimate national contender. Arizona State has proved this season that winning in Tempe is not easy and they will certainly have a big crowd on hand to support their Sun Devils. Prediction: UCLA 4-2
It was a great Easter weekend of Pac-12 men's tennis with several close dramatic matches and important results for NCAA tournament positioning. By the end of the weekend there would be three teams very pleased with their performance, two with a neutral performance and four teams who had negative weekends.
UCLA: The Bruins had one of the most impressive weekends in the entire country. It began on Friday when UCLA matched up with #3 Stanford in a highly anticipated rematch from early February when Stanford pulled out a tight 4-3 match. The Bruins had two things going for them heading into the match; this time around the match was at home for UCLA and also Stanford had not played a truly competitive dual match in three weeks. UCLA came out strong, taking the doubles point in relatively quick fashion. They continued the doubles momentum into singles by winning 5 of the 6 1st sets. The Bruins would not relinquish the momentum at any point as Evan Zhu, Keegan Smith and Maxime Cressey all finished off their opponents in straight sets to stop the match with a 4-0 UCLA victory. This performance showed that UCLA is not at all ready to cede the Pac 12 to Stanford this season and that they are certainly on the national shortlist for national title contenders heading into April and May.