Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Women?s Tennis Begins Pac-10 Play
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 22, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This Week for the Wildcats: No. 45 Arizona (9-0) returns home this week to play No. 11 UCLA (5-2) and No. 4 Southern California (5-1). The Wildcats will face the Bruins at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, before taking on the Trojans at noon Saturday, Feb. 25.


Last Time Out: Last weekend, the No. 45 Arizona women’s tennis team won both its away matches to improve to 9-0 on the season. On Friday, Arizona earned a 4-3 victory over No. 44 Fresno State. The Wildcats followed that up with a 5-1 win over No. 62 Oklahoma the next day.  This is the best start to a season in more than 10 years for the Cats.


Against UCLA: Arizona will meet on Friday at the Robson tennis courts for its annual Pac-10 match against the Bruins. Last season, Arizona fell to UCLA in Los Angeles, 2-5.


Scouting the Bruins: The No. 11 Bruins are 5-2 on the season, with both losses coming at the hands of ranked teams (No. 1 Stanford and No. 23 Pepperdine). The Bruins have five individually ranked players, including No. 33 Laura Gordon who play’s their No. 2  spot, and No. 76 freshman Riza Zalameda who plays in the No. 1 slot. Zalameda is 4-3 in singles and has only fallen to top ranked players. Arizona has not won a match against UCLA since 2000, when it won 5-4. Head coach Stella Sampras Webster returns for her 10th season, leading the Bruins to a 17-6 record last season. In her first nine seasons at UCLA, Sampras Webster guided the Bruins to eight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including five top-5 showings (1997, 2000 2002, 2003 and 2004). In 2004, she led UCLA to the NCAA Finals for the first time since 1991. It also marked the first time since 1991 that the Bruins surpassed the 20-win mark, finishing with a 21-8 overall record.


Against Southern California: Arizona and will face USC on Saturday for their annual Pac- 10. Last season, Arizona fell to Southern California in Los Angeles, 1-6.


Scouting the Trojans: No. 4 Southern California started the season 5-1, having fallen to No. 1 Stanford last Friday. The Trojans have four ranked players, including No. 1 Amanda Fink who plays in the No. 2 position, and No. 90 Lindsey Nelson, who plays in the No. 1 slot.


The last time the Wildcats beat the Trojans was in 1998, when they won 7-2, at home. Head coach Richard Gallien returns for his 11th season, leading the Trojans to a 19-4 record last season. In addition, Gallien has strung together 10-straight NCAA appearances, nine top-20 team rankings and five trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th for the past seven years.


The Doubles Point: In seven of its eight matches this year, Arizona has won the doubles point.  The doubles point is won when a team wins two of the three doubles matches.


Wildcats in the Rankings: The Wildcats moved up one spot this week in the rankings to No. 45. Senior Stephanie Balzert (8-1) is ranked at No. 92 in singles this week.


Wildcats in the Spotlight: In dual meet competition, freshman Danielle Steinberg remains undefeated in both singles and doubles matches.


Fall Action: After finishing the 2005 season with three ranked players, Arizona lost all three to graduation.  Incoming freshman Tina Razloznik earned her place in the lineup when she took the singles title at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational after defeating San Diego State’s fourth-seeded Sisse Nielsen, 6-2, 6-4.


Next Week: Arizona will continue Pac-10 play on the road against No. 9 California and No. 1 Stanford next Friday and Saturday, March 3-4. The following week, the Wildcats return home to face No. 59 Penn on Wednesday, March 8.  


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