The No. 21 Wildcats (6-1, 1-1 in Pac-10) return to conference play this weekend when they travel up to the Pacific Northwest to take on the No. 41 Oregon Ducks. The Ducks (2-4, 0-4 in Pac-10) will play host to Arizona State on Saturday before welcoming in the Cats on Sunday. Oregon will be seeking to snap it's two-match losing streak after dropping last weekend's matches to UCLA and USC. The Ducks fell to UCLA, 5-4, on the final doubles match of the day and dropped its match with USC, 7-2. In it's Pac-10 weekend openers, Arizona split its matches with the Southern California school upsetting No. 8 UCLA, 5-4, and losing to No. 12 USC, 9-0.
OU is lead by the lone senior on the team, Alina Wygonowska. Wygonowska, ranked No. 61, has gotten off to a slow start this season (2-4) but did notch an impressive victory over USC's Kara Warkentin last weekend.
The Lineup: Name Yr. Hometown Uzma Kahn Fr. Hyderabad, India Lindsay Blau So. Ossining, New York Michelle Gough Jr. Johannesburg, South Africa Vanessa Abel Sr. Tucson, Arizona Laresa Marino So. San Diego, California Joanna Buczkowska Jr. Zakopane, Poland Brooke Taylor So. Newport Beach, California
The Wildcats continued their undefeated record against non-conference opponents this year with a 9-0 victory Friday over Texas Tech. The Cats have two out of conference matches remaining, No. 32 Marquette and No. 9 Texas in their quest for the school's first undefeated record against non-conference foes since 1996 when they went 9-0.
Home Sweet Home:
Arizona is off to one of its best starts in school history (6-1) after seven home matches. With a win this weekend against Oregon, UA would equal the 7-1 start of the No. 8-ranked 95 team. That team won its first seven matches before dropping a home match to No. 3 Stanford, 7-2.
"We are looking forward to getting back to Pac-10 play. The girls are working really hard and are making continual improvements. As a coaching staff, that's all we can ask for."
"This is our first road trip of the year and I'm anxious to see how we play in a different environment. We've exceeded our expectations at home and it will be key to keep the momentum going on the road."
Arizona finished the season with an overall record of 8-14 placing them sixth in the Pac-10 Conference. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated by top-ranked Florida.
Cats in the Polls:
After beginning the season with a 5-1 record, the Wildcats remained tied with Kentucky in the Feb. 9 WingspanBank.com rankings and are No. 19 in the Feb. 7 edition of the Bob Larson Coaches Poll. The first singles and doubles rankings will be released Feb. 16.The third team rankings of the year will be released Feb. 16. For a complete list of rankings, visit the ITA website at www.ITAtennis.com
Brad Dancer is in his first year as head coach at Arizona replacing Stephanie London. Dancer played No. 1 singles and doubles at Michigan State, graduating with a degree in business in 1993. In his time at Michigan State, Dancer was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten member and was selected to the All-Big Ten team his senior year. Dancer's professional coaching highlights include serving as an assistant for the 1996 Fed Cup team.
Kevin Epley and Vicky Maes round out the coaching staff for the Wildcats this season. Epley comes to Arizona after serving as an assistant last year at Alabama. In addition to his duties at Arizona, Epley is involved in coaching at the professional tennis level including serving as an assistant for the Fed Cup team under head coach Billie Jean King. Maes, a four-time tennis All-American, returns to her alma mater as a volunteer assistant. Maes graduated from Arizona in 98 but not before becoming the most decorated player in the program's history. Maes was a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year, a GTE All-American, and was selected to the Pac-10 All-Decade team.