The Tournament: The Wildcats travel to Irvine, Calif., Nov. 9-13, for the ITA Region VIII Tournament. The region covers schools from Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. Arizona State, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, UC Riverside, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, San Diego, San Diego State, Nevada-Las Vegas, Southern California and host UC Irvine will be represented in this weekend's tournament. The field will be broken down into a 64-player singles qualifying draw with 16 competitors adavncing to the 64-player main draw. On the doubles side a 32-team qualifying draw will be widdled down to a 32-team main draw with eight pairs advancing out of the qualifying bracket. Arizona's duo of senior Michelle Gough and junior Lindsay Blau, seeded second, will look to defend its title. The duo ran off five victories en route to a championship-match victory over Arizona State's pair of Allison Bradshaw and Mhari Brown, 9-8. The tournament kicks-off Thursday, Nov. 9, at 8 a.m. PST with singles qualifying draw competition.
Wathen/Hancock Bulldog Classic (Oct. 27-29): Arizona's doubles team of senior Michelle Gough and junior Sophie Regnier earned three victories to earn a spot in the finals. The duo fell just short of capturing the tournament title dropping its final match to Fresno State's Kim Niggemeyer and Simone Jardim, 8-5. In other doubles play, junior Laresa Marino and freshman
Debbie Larocque looged a pair of victories to advance to the semifinals. The duo then lost to Gough and Regnier, 8-4. On the singles side, Gough made noise running off two victories to move on to the semifinals. Gough dropped a straight sets match to Niggmeyer, 6-1, 6-4. Each Arizona player advanced to at least the second round and all three doubles teams stayed alived through the third round. Overall, the Wildcats recorded a 12-7 mark in singles and 7-3 record in doubles.
Riviera ITA All-American Tournament (Oct. 14-22): Arizona senior Michelle Gough, junior Lindsay Blau and freshman Debbie Larocque competed at the Riviera ITA All-American Tournament in Los Angeles.
In singles play, Gough dropped her opening round qualifying draw match to North Carolina's Julie Rotundi, 6-2, 7-5.
Blau also earned a spot in the qualifying draw and swept her first two matches over Stanford's Lauren's Barnikow and California's Christina Fusano. Ohio State's Kristi Dascoli defeated Blau in the third round, 6-1, 6-0.
Despite the loss, Blau advanced to the main draw after Wake Forest's Bea Bielik withdrew from the tournament. Southern California's Jewel Peterson outlasted Blau in the opening round match, 7-5, 6-3.
Larocque began the tournament in the pre-qualifying draw and with three victories over Texas El-Paso's Elizabeth Stone, Northwestern's Shannon Duffy and Boise State's Renate Stoop advanced to the qualifying draw. She had her season long five-match winning streak snapped in the first round losing to Ole Miss' Alesia Ignatieva, 6-2, 6-4.
On the doubles side, Blau and Gough recorded a 1-1 record on the weekend winning their main draw opening round match over South Carolina's duo of Jennifer Radman and Katarina Markovski, 6-3, 6-1. The pair then dropped a tighthly contested quarterfinal match to Texas' Vladka Uhlirova and Janet Walker, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
Larocque teamed up with freshman Sophie Regnier in qualifying draw action and dropped their first match to Texas-El Paso's Jana Perkova and Ana Brnas, 6-2, 6-2. For the tournament, the squad logged a 7-4 singles mark and a 1-2 doubles record.
Thunderbirds Invitational (Oct. 6-8): Junior Laresa Marino advanced to the semifinals of the consolation singles bracket in Tempe, Ariz., Oct. 7. Marino recorded a 2-2 mark, moving her overall record on the fall season to 5-3, a team best. Wildcat senior Michelle Gough, earned a spot in the quarterfinals of the main draw. For the weekend, she posted a 2-1 singles record. Gough and Marino represented the Cats in doubles and split two matches, winning the opening round match over California's duo of Christina Fusano and Nicole Havlicek, 8-4, and then dropped their quarterfinal match to Texas' Rebekah Forney and Ziva Grasic, 4-8.
Clay Court Championships (Sept. 18-24): Arizona Junior Lindsay Blau withdrew from the ITA T.Rowe Price National Intercollegiate Clay Court Championships, which took place Sept. 21-24, after 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 were in the preseason top 25.
William & Mary Invitational (Sept. 15-17): 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.
Arizona 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 for the weekend.
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 ranked 46th to open the fall campaign, while Gough enters at No. 64. Last season, Blau highlighted the season with an upset of then top-ranked Kristina Kraszewski of Washington and a 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.
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 and graduated 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, the team won 10 matches and earned a top-25 ranking in the final poll of the season. The squad 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, Arizona earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the regional finals.