The Tournament: Arizona senior Michelle Gough, junior Laresa Marino and freshman Perrine Pernin will compete in this weekend's Arizona State Invitational, Oct. 6-8, in Tempe, Ariz. The field includes players from seven schools; Texas, Pepperdine, Arizona, California, Southern California, San Diego and host, Arizona State. Only San Diego did not finish the 2000 season in the top 25. The singles draw includes 32 particpants while the doubles draw is comprised of 16 teams. Twenty-one of the singles players and nine of the doubles teams earned spots in this year's preseason rankings. The tournament begins Friday with singles play at 8:30 a.m. MST and doubles action to follow in the afternoon.
Cats in the Polls: Arizona's doubles team of senior Michelle Gough and junior Lindsay Blau earned a No. 3 ranking in the preseason Wingspanbank.com poll released Sept. 11. Gough and Blau enjoyed one of the greatest doubles seasons in school history last year. The duo captured three tournament championships, including the Pac-10 doubles title and the ITA Region VIII crown. For their efforts, the pair earned All-Americen honors and a berth in the NCAA Championship. The duo also cracked the preseason polls for the Cats on the singles side. Blau is 46th to open the fall campaign, while Gough enters at No. 64. Last season, Blau highlighted her year with an upset of then top-ranked Kristina Kraszewski and an eventual spot in the NCAA Singles Championship. The versatile Gough upset San Diego's third-ranked Katarina Valkyova at the UA Invitational to cap a year that saw her in the polls for five of the season's eight installments.
Clay Court Championships: Arizona Junior Lindsay Blau withdrew from the ITA T.Rowe Price National Intercollegiate Clay Court Championships, Sept. 21-24, suffering from excessive swelling in her right knee. Blau earned a berth in the Main Draw after enjoying a successful 2000 spring campaign. Thirty-two players rounded out the tournament field, eight of which are in the preseason top 25.
William & Mary Invitational: Junior Laresa Marino's play highlighted what was otherwise a tough weekend for the Wildcats at the William & Mary Invitational. Marino recorded a 3-1 mark and advanced to the championship match of her singles flight. Marino was outlasted by North Carolina's Caroline Hill, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. UA faced some of the toughest compettition in the country. Six of the 10 teams were ranked in the top 50 at the end of last season. Overall, Arizona logged a 13-12 singles record and went winless in four doubles matches on the weekend.
Head Coach: Brad Dancer enters his second season as head coach at Arizona with a dual match record of 10-12 (.455). Dancer played No. 1 singles and doubles at Michigan State, graduating with a degree in business in 1993. In his time at MSU, 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. This past summer he coached the Delaware Smash to the World Team Tennis title match against the Sacramento Capitals.
Last Season: In Dancer's first year at the helm, team won 10 matches and earned a top-25 ranking in the final poll of the season. The team posted a 10-12 overall mark and a 3-5 record in the Pac-10, earning a tie for sixth in the conference. A 5-4 victory over sixth-ranked UCLA to start conference play highlighted a solid season for the Cats. For its efforts, the squad earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the regional finals.