Before beginning the season with their teams this week, players from the UCLA men's and women's tennis teams had success recently in tournaments.
Stella Sampras and Allegra Milholland won the women's doubles championship at the Milwaukee Tennis tournament, and Sampras advanced to the singles semifinals before losing. Sampras and Milholland defeated Northwestern's Lindsay Matthews and Wendy Nelson, 6-3, 6-1, in the doubles finals.
At the National Collegiate Tennis Tournament in Palm Springs, Kimberly Po and Kirsten Dreyer captured the women's doubles title by default, and Mark Knowles won the men's singles championship, defeating top-seeded Conny Falk of the University of Miami, 7-5, 7-5.
The second-ranked Bruin men will play in the first Pacific-10 Conference Indoor Championships from Friday through Sunday in Seattle. The No. 3 UCLA women will play host to Utah at 1:30 p.m. today at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on campus.
The Pepperdine women's and men's tennis teams will open their seasons at home Friday. The No. 11 Wave women will play host to Utah at 1:30 p.m., and the No. 16 Pepperdine men will entertain Cal Poly San Luis Obispo at 1:30 p.m.
Seven letter winners are back for the Pepperdine women, including three-time All-American Janna Kovacevich and All-American Noelle Porter. Other veterans are Anna Brunstrom, Camilla Ohrman, Kirstin Smith, Julie Gaiser and Amy Tortolant. Newcomers include sophomore Marina Bottazzi of Milan, Italy, and freshman Marie Pierre Villani of Marseilles, France.
All-American Alejo Mancisidor is one of five returning Pepperdine lettermen; the others are Howard Joffe, Ashley Naumann, Brian Dick and Matt Holt. Six freshmen include Jacopo Lo Monaco of Milan, Italy, Cary Lothringer of San Antonio, Tex., Ari Nathan of Los Angeles, Toby Osborn of Essex, Mass., Sergio Rico of Morales Polanco, Mexico, and Lev Shvartz of Beverly Hills.
Two UCLA athletes, sophomore volleyball player Natalie Williams and senior soccer player Billy Thompson, were named athletes of the year after they led their teams to NCAA championships in 1990. Williams was honored by ASICS/Volleyball Monthly, and Thompson won the Adi Dassler award from Adidas.
All-American Williams led the Bruin women last season with a .302 hitting percentage, 610 kills and 44 service aces. Two-time All-American Thompson was his team's top scorer last season with 18 goals and seven assists.
The Pepperdine baseball team, ranked No. 15 nationally in the preseason by Collegiate Baseball and No. 20 by Baseball America, will open the season when it plays host to Westmont at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Eddy D. Field Stadium.
The Waves have 12 returning lettermen from a squad that finished with a 37-23 overall record and came in second behind Loyola Marymount in the West Coast Conference. Pepperdine failed to advance to the NCAA playoffs in 1990 for the first time since 1984.
Among those returning is right-handed pitcher Steve Duda (12-3 with a 2.93 earned-run average last year), who was named to freshman All-American first teams by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. New pitchers include right-hander Pat Ahearne, who was 13-1 for Los Angeles Harbor College's state champions last year, and left-hander Jerry Aschoff, who was 9-3 at Rancho Santiago College last year.
Other freshman All-Americans back are first baseman Dan Melendez and second baseman Steve Rodriguez. Melendez hit .319 with 10 home runs and 50 runs batted in, and Rodriguez batted .332 with three homers and 29 RBIs.
Sophomore Eric Ekdahl, who played the outfield last year, is expected to start at shortstop, and sophomore centerfielder Chris Sheff will play the same position.
Pepperdine Coach Andy Lopez said his lineup "has a good mix of speed and power; plus we have a number of versatile players who can be used at different positions or varying spots in the batting order.
"Our defense should be solid, and, hopefully, this team will not give away too many runs."
The No. 6 UCLA women's gymnastics team, which began its season last week with a 192.35-to-188.6 loss to No. 3 Georgia, and the UCLA men will hold a combined meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at the John Wooden Center. The men's team will open the season against San Jose State, and the women will play host to No. 8 Arizona and No. 9 Cal State Fullerton.
At Athens, Ga., the all-around competition was captured by Georgia freshman Hope Spivey with a 38.7, and UCLA sophomore Rhonda Faehn finished second with a 38.1.
The Bruin men have nine returning lettermen, including two top all-arounders, All-American Chainey Umphrey and National Team member Scott Keswick, and Brad Hayashi, an All-American in the vault.
The UCLA women's basketball team (7-6 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-10) will play tonight at Stanford (10-3, 4-0) and Saturday night at California (9-5, 2-2).
Last week the Bruins defeated Arizona State, 81-68, and the University of Arizona, 115-102. The Arizona game was the first in which UCLA and an opponent each scored at least 100 points. Rehema Stephens, averaging 27.4 points, is third in the nation in scoring and leads the Pac-10.
Both Stanford and Cal played at the Washington schools last week. Stanford beat Washington, 75-71, and Washington State, 80-74. Cal lost to Washington State, 77-60, and to Washington, 78-57.
The Pepperdine women's basketball team (7-9 overall and 0-2 in the West Coast Conference as the week began) will play at Loyola Marymount (8-8, 1-1 at the start of the week) at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Last week the Waves played without senior center Sharon Wilson and lost to San Diego, 83-69, and to Santa Clara, 76-71. Wilson will be sidelined for at least three weeks with a stress fracture in her right foot.
Shannon Frowiss, averaging 16.4 points, and Aimee McDaniel, averaging 14.1 points, are Pepperdine's scoring leaders.