The Longhorns hold down three singles and two doubles spots in the latest polls. Junior Janet Walker boasts a team-leading No. 29 ranking. Sophomores Vladka Uhlirova (73rd) and Kaysie Smashey (tied-87th) also checked in the latest singles rankings. Smashey and Walker team up for the 18th-best doubles team in the country, while sophomore Joanne Masongsong and Uhlirova hold down the No. 33 spot.
Last year, Texas defeated the Wildcats, 5-1, in Tucson. The Longhorns lead the all-time series, 9-3.
The Wildcats are 6-7 against ranked opponents this year.
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 Siri Fomsgaard Fr. Copenhagen, DenmarkTwo Weeks Ago: The Wildcats wrapped up their hectic middle part of the season with three matches in four days. UA first played host to Marquette and outlasted the Golden Eagles, 5-4, on the strength of four singles victories and a win by the doubles team of Gough and Blau for the fifth and deciding point. Arizona then traveled out to southern California for matches with Pac-10 foes USC and UCLA. The Wildcats made their first stop at ninth-ranked USC where they fell to the Trojans, 6-2. UA accounted for its points at the top two doubles positions. Eighth-ranked UCLA then exacted revenge for an early season loss to the Wildcats in Tucson, 5-4. The Bruins downed Arizona, 6-3. UA picked up points with two singles and a doubles victory.
Coach's Corner: "It was nice to have a couple weeks off. The girls were starting to fatigue in the long middle portion of the season. Now, they are back and ready for the final stretch of the schedule.
"Texas is going to be a real battle for us. Although we are ranked higher than UT, it doesn't mean a thing. You can throw the rankings right out the window. Their ranking doesn't indicate how good that team really is.
"I am very pleased with where we are ranked (16) in the polls. The girls have worked really hard all year long and are constantly improving their games."
On losing close matches to USC and UCLA two weeks ago: "Losing close matches to them was a reminder to our team that we can play with anybody. Tennis is a game that requires a strong mental attitude, and our team is starting to play with that mental toughness and confidence against the top teams in the country."
On sophomore Lindsay Blau and junior Michelle Gough's doubles play: "We couldn't ask any more from Michelle and Lindsay. They are good friends and it shows in the chemistry they have on the court."
Last Season: 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: The Wildcats vaulted from 21st to 16th in the country in the March 22 edition of the WingspanBank.com rankings. The ranking is the highest for the Wildcats all season. UA jumped back into the Bob Larsen Coaches Poll at No. 24. The third individual singles and doubles rankings of the season were released March 1, and junior Michelle Gough earned a No. 59 ranking for a 13-13 record that includes a victory against then third-ranked Kaaryna Valkyova of San Diego , 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Gough and doubles partner sophomore Lindsay Blau vaulted 17 spots to No. 3 for their impressive 23-8 record. The Region VIII fall doubles title and runner-up at the Indoor Championships highlight their year. Gough and Blau are 3-2 against top 25 opponents this year. Uzma Khan moved back into the 49th spot for her 16-11 record after falling to No. 54. An upset win over then top-ranked Zuzana Lesenarova in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5, highlights her season to date. The ninth team rankings of the year along with singles and doubles will be released March 29. For a complete list of rankings, visit the ITA website at www.ITAtennis.com
Head Coach: 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.
Assistant Coach: Kevin 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 joins C.A.T.S. staff: Volunteer Assistant Vicky Maes stepped down as volunteer assistant tennis coach this past week. The move was prompted by her hiring in the C.A.T.S. academic office. Maes, a four-time tennis All-American, 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.