The Tournament: Arizona senior Michelle Gough, junior Lindsay Blau and freshman Debbie Larocque will travel to the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Oct. 14-22, for the prequalifying and qualifying rounds of the ITA All-American Tournament. Gough and Blau earned berths in the 32-player qualifying draw. Larocque will play out of the 64-player prequalifying bracket. UA freshman Sophie Regnier and junior Laresa Marino are alternates for the tournament. Prequalifying draw action begins Saturday, Oct. 14, followed by qualifying bracket competition on Tuesday, Oct. 17. The field will be scaled down to 32 for the main draw, which begins on Friday, Oct. 20.
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.
Thunderbirds Invitational (Oct. 6-8): UA 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 are 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.