Coming Up:After hosting California and Stanford last week, the No. 49 Arizona men’s tennis team will travel to the Northwest to face No. 12 Washington at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 8, and Oregon at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. This will be the first meeting this season between both teams for the Wildcats. This weekend is key for the Wildcats, as they will only have one more conference match vs. Arizona State before heading into the Pac-10 Tournament, and two weeks after that, the NCAA Tournament.
Last Time Out: The Arizona men’s tennis team played at home Friday against the No. 36 California Golden Bears. After clinching the doubles point early, the Wildcats maintained their momentum, defeating the Golden Bears, 5-2, for their first win in three weeks. Friday marked the seventh time this year that the Wildcats were able to win the dual-match after clinching the doubles point. On Saturday, April 2, the Wildcats came up short against the No. 16 Stanford Cardinals, 4-3. After clinching the doubles point, the Wildcats dropped the first four singles matches, before rallying to win the last two.
Scouting Washington: The Huskies come into this weekend after a spilt last weekend at the Los Angeles schools. Washington is 15-4 overall with a 3-1 record in Pac-10 play, which is good for second place in the conference. Washington rebounded from a disappointing 5-0 loss to No. 6 UCLA las Friday, with a huge defeat of No. 12 USC. on Saturday. The win for Washington marked only the second time in the school’s history that they were able to defeat the Trojans of USC. Washington swapped rankings with USC, climbing to their new season-high No. 12. Each of Washington’s three ranked singles players moved up in the polls today. Washington is led by their top-ranked player of No. 19 Alex Vlaski, who currently holds a career record of 103-29, and is zeroing in on the Huskies all-time win record. Alex Slovic, winner of four straight, has climbed five spots to No. 29, while Christoph Palmanshofer leaped up 18 spots to No. 57. Slovic, along with doubles partner Daniel Chu, despite only playing seven matches together, have been rewarded with their string of upsets, gaining the No. 27 ranking this week. This weekend will mark the final home games for the Huskies this year.
Scouting Oregon: The Ducks come into this weekend 7-13 overall, and 0-4 in Pac-10 play. Oregon is coming off two tough losses to the Los Angeles schools. On Friday, April 1, the Ducks lost to No. 13 USC, 7-0, and
on Saturday fell to No. 6 UCLA, 6-1. This week marks the first time this spring that the Ducks were not in the Top 75, as determenined by the ITA. The Ducks are led by No. 14 Sven Swinnen, who has compiled a 14-3 record. The Ducks have been plagued with injuries, as Feb. 5 marked the last time that their top three, Swinnen, Manuel Kost and Markus Schiller, were all in the singles lineup.
Freshman Sensation: The Wildcats’ top freshmen of Jason Labrosse and Bruno Alcala have proved over the past two weeks how valuable they are. Alcala, a true freshman, has compiled an 18-10 record, including two wins last weekend, the most noticable of which over California’s top freshman, Ken Nakahara. Coming off his redshirt season, Labrosse swept his weekend matches.
The Doubles Point: Arizona’s top ranked pair of No. 15 Roger Matalonga and Colin O’Grady have been nothing but solid this season in doubles play. With a 13-3 record, O’Grady and Matalonga have helped the Wildcats secure nine team doubles points, seven of which led to dual match victories. This spring, the doubles point has been a good indication on how the Wildcats will fair in singles action.
Series History: The Wildcats, going into this weekend, hold an all-time series record of 11-7 against the Huskies, having lost to them April 4, 2004, 6-1, in Seattle, Wash. The Wildcats go into Saturday’s match against Oregon with an all-time series record of 8-1.
Ranked Cats: Despite their upset victory over the Cal Bears, the Wildcats dropped two spots from last weeks poll, despite their upset victory over the Cal Bears, to the No. 49 spot. in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings. The Wildcats are 8-9 on the season.
Stacked Pac: Arizona is once again competing against several of the top programs in the nation this spring. All eight of the participating Pac-10 schools were ranked in the preseason polls. In this week’s poll, here’s how the Pac-10 schools rank: UCLA No. 6, Washington No. 12, USC No.13, Stanford No. 18, California No. 35, Arizona No. 49 and Arizona State No. 53. Oregon fell out of the Top 75 in this weeks poll.
Up Next: The Wildcats return home next week finishing out the regular season against No. 53 Arizona State at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April. 16.