Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Women's Tennis Opens Spring Season with Two Conference Matches
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 22, 2001
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This Weekend: The Arizona women's tennis team heads to Southern California to open up conference play against ninth-ranked UCLA and twelfth-ranked USC. The Bruins will also be opening up their dual match season when they play host to the Wildcats on Friday. The Trojans enter Saturday's match against Arizona with a perfect 2-0 record on the young season with wins over UC Irvine (7-0) and Long Beach State (7-0). Last season, UA went 1-4 against the Los Angeles schools with the lone victory a 5-4 upset home win over UCLA to open conference play. UA's last meeting with USC was a 5-2 loss in the last year's regional finals in Los Angeles. Since 1985, the Trojans hold a 17-15 advantage over the Wildcats while UCLA has dominated its series with UA, 28-7.

Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats picked up where they left off last season earning a No. 24 ranking in the preseason edition of the poll released Dec. 12. Arizona is also ranked fifth in its region heading into the spring campaign. In addition, three UA players find themselves in the singles poll: senior Michelle Gough (No. 3), freshman Debbie Larocque (No. 19) and junior Laresa Marino (No. 24).

On the doubles side, Larocque and Marino are ranked No. 12 in the poll.

Region VIII Top 5

1. Pepperdine
2. Arizona State
3. Southern California
5. Arizona

Pac-10 Indoor Championships (Jan. 12-14): Arizona junior Sophie Regnier rebounded from an opening round loss in the flight two bracket to earn a spot in the consolation finals. Regnier recorded victories over Washington State's Anna Dybicz and Arizona State's Celena McCoury to advance to the final match. Stanford's Lauren Barnikow defeated Regnier, 6-3, 6-3, to win the flight two back draw.

In other singles action, freshman Debbie Larocque saw her five match winning streak come to an end dropping her flight two quarterfinal round match to Oregon's Janice Nyland, 7-5, 6-3. Larocque outlasted Stanford's Lauren Barnikow in her opening round contest, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-1.

On the doubles side, Regnier and teammate, freshman Perrine Pernin, cruised into the semifinals of the flight two bracket. The duo enjoyed a first round bye and topped UCLA's Chelsea Godbey and Mariko Fritz-Krockow in the quarterfinals, 8-1. In their semifinal round match, Pernin and Regnier narrowly fell short of gaining a spot in the finals falling to California's Sekita Grant and Raquel Kops-Jones, 9-7.

ITA Region VIII Tournament (Nov. 9-13): Arizona's doubles team of senior Michelle Gough and junior Lindsay Blau fell a match short from repeating as champions. The third-ranked duo reeled off four wins before falling to the No. 1 ranked team in the country, Ipek Senoglu and Paola Palencia of Pepperdine, 8-4.

On the singles side, Gough recorded five victories on the weekend to earn a berth in the championship match and a spot at the Indoor Championships, Feb. 2-4, in Dallas. Gough was defeated by the third seeded Jewel Peterson of Southern California, 6-4, 6-3.

Junior Brooke Taylor and freshman Perrine Pernin each advanced out of the 32-player qualifying draw to the 64-player main draw. Taylor continued her hot play winning a three set match over UC Irvine's Darian Chappell, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Blau won her first two matches in the main draw, advancing to the quarterfinals. Victories over UC Santa Barbara's Cindy Ammann, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Southern California's Melissa Esmero, 6-2, 6-3, prolled her to the round of 16. USC's Peterson got the better of Blau as well, defeating her in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

Arizona senior Joanna Buczkowska was the only Wildcat who did not compete in the tournament. Buczkowska was forced to withdraw due to a sore wrist that had hampered her for most of the fall season.

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 logged 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 alive 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 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 falling to Ole Miss' Alesia Ignatieva, 6-2, 6-4.

On the doubles side, Blau and Gough tallied 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.

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.

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