TUCSON, Ariz. – After previously hosting at a pair of local venues, the Cats return to their home court this weekend as they host Idaho on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 12 p.m. and Nevada on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.
“We’ve played them in the past and we’ve had a couple of really close matches,” head coach Tad Berkowitz said. “Last time we played Idaho it was a 4-3 battle, and when we played Nevada here last year five matches went three sets. We expect two extremely tough matches.”
Lengthy, grueling matches have permeated Arizona’s schedule thus far this spring as the Cats come off a weekend defeating Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara by the slimmest of margins, 4-3. Down to the wire finishes could prove valuable in the future, as Berkowitz believes the adversity is strengthening the team.
“I’m really proud of the fact that the guys are turning into a gritty team,” Berkowitz said. “I’ve been impressed with the full out effort on the court. We can always control the effort and we can always control the grittiness. Right now we’re doing that and it’s great.”
With conference play on the horizon, the Wildcats will need all the grit they can get, as seven of eight teams in the Pac-12 firmly stand in the ITA rankings. Fortunately for Arizona, they have yet to reach their full potential.
“We still haven’t played our best tennis but I think it’s coming,” said Berkowitz.
Arizona currently stands at 7-5 overall, having gone 5-1 since their opening weekend.
Nevada is currently 3-1 on the year, with their only loss coming against No. 53 San Diego State. The Wolf Pack, coached by Erik Burton, return eight players from a team who ended last season in the Mountain West quarterfinals, falling to in-state foe UNLV.
The Vandals sit at an even 3-3 this spring, most recently losing 5-2 to No. 44 Washington. Jeff Beaman’s squad finished their 2013 campaign at 21-7, including a 4-1 record in the WAC where their season ultimately ended in the conference championships to the University of Denver. Idaho returns six from last year’s team.
For continued coverage of Arizona men’s tennis, visit ArizonaWildcats.com, follow @ArizonaMTennis on Twitter and Instagram, and on Facebook at facebook.com/ArizonaMensTennis.