Arizona’s women’s tennis team will begin its season this Saturday Jan. 25 against Northern Arizona University. The match will begin at 11 a.m. at Robson Tennis Center.
Arizona looks to begin a strong campaign led by 13th year head coach Vicky Maes and its four seniors Kim Stubbe (Mol, Belgium), Lacey Smyth (Oceanside, California), Susan Mc Rann (Dublin, Ireland), and Akilah James (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
“For our seniors, every match will be bittersweet,” said Coach Maes. “They have done so much for this program already. But, they aren’t done yet and want to go out with a bang. Everyone else is certainly on board with that.”
Returning for the Wildcats are junior Laura Oldham (Sheffield, England), and sophomores Shayne Austin (Oak Park, Calif.), Inge Hendrikx (Zundert, The Netherlands).
The Cats have also added the former three-time Palm Desert High School player of the year freshman Lauren Marker (Rancho Mirage, Calif.).
In 2013, Arizona finished with a 9-14 record and missed the NCAA Tournament after making it for two-consecutive seasons. The young team returned every player going into this season.
Smyth has competed at the No. 1 spot in singles play for two-consecutive years, competing against the top competition in the country.
In 2013, she posted a 16-10 record, including four wins over ranked players, improving on her sophomore year mark of 15-12.
Stubbe will aim to finish her fourth and final season with a winning record in singles play, finishing 16-7 as a junior, 12-6 as a sophomore, and 11-3 as a freshman.
James will also seek to finish her Arizona career with a winning season after posting a 13-9 record.
“The girls have been training very hard since coming back from summer,” said Maes. “They have exhibited a level of determination and intensity that I haven’t seen before. I think having so many close losses last year really made them come back with something to prove this spring and we are all excited to finally get started on Saturday.”
Last season Stubbe, Smyth, Mc Rann, and Oldham all were named to the Pac-12 All-Academic Team. Smyth was also given Pac-12 Honorable mention honors.
Last year, Arizona defeated NAU, 6-1. They have won six-consecutive season openers.
“While our goals are specific, what will matter most is that we don’t look too far ahead and that we approach every match the same way, no matter what things look like on paper,” said Maes. “One step at a time, starting with NAU.”
For complete results and continued coverage of Arizona women’s tennis, visit the Arizona women’s tennis page on Facebook or ArizonaWildcats.com. For live updates on this weekend’s matches, follow @ArizonaWTennis on Twitter.