This Week for the Wildcats: Arizona will play host to the UTEP Miners Thursday, Jan. 27, at 1:30 p.m. The match will be the Miners’ season-opener. Saturday, Jan. 29, the Cats will host No. 39 Sacramento State at noon. UTEP and Sacramento State will play each other Jan. 28.
Last Time Out: The No. 42 Wildcats defeated Northern Arizona 7-0 in Sedona, Ariz., Sunday, Jan. 23, to open their season. Arizona was scheduled to open the season at home against UC Davis Friday, Jan. 21, but the match was rained out.
The week prior, Arizona competed at the Pac-10 Indoor Championships, playing in three singles and two doubles draws. Senior Kelly Perry and junior Stephanie Balzert won the Flight II Doubles bracket, defeating two pairs from Washington and one from Oregon. Sophomore Kasia Jakowlew claimed the Flight III singles title by defeating Washington’s Monika Kolbovic in the first round before winning three consecutive matches against Oregon players. Of Jakowlew’s four victories en route to the championship, three of the matches went three sets, with Jakowlew having to come from behind after losing the first.
Perfect Starting at Home: Arizona has not lost its first home dual match of the season since 1994. With the exception of last year, the Wildcats have won each of their first two home matches in every season since 1994.
Against UTEP: The last time the Wildcats and Miners met was in 2000 when Arizona won 7-2. The only other meeting between the programs came in 1985, Arizona’s first year with a women’s tennis team. The Cats took that match as well, 9-0.
Scouting the Miners: Yugoslavian senior Tea Spirta ranks No. 23 in the Southwest region. UTEP does not have any players ranked nationally. Coach Jamie Campbell returns for her second year, after a 10-12 2004 season. The Miners finished 1-3 in the Western Athletic Conference last season, losing three letterwinners from the squad.
Against Sacramento State: Saturday will be the first-ever meeting between the Wildcat and Hornet programs. In the fall, No. 23-ranked senior Dianne Hollands lost to No. 17 Margarita Karnaukhova 6-2, 6-0 in the Round of 32 at the L.A. Riviera All-American Championships, marking the only match between an Arizona and Sacramento State player in the fall.
Scouting the Hornets: Sacramento State opened its season against No. 37 Pepperdine, losing 4-3. Karnaukohva is the team’s highest ranked player at 17, with Anna Erikson coming in at No. 61. In 2004, the Hornets finished 23-4, with a perfect 6-0 record to win the Big Sky Conference, before losing to Fresno State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Streaking Cats: Jakowlew began the fall with a 1-5 record before tallying seven consecutive victories for the longest winning streak of any Arizona player this season. In doubles play, Perry and Balzert have won six consecutive matches after having lost their first two matches of the fall.
Wildcats in the Rankings: Hollands begins the season ranked No. 23, while senior Maja Mlakar opens at No. 63. In doubles, Hollands and Mlakar rank No. 17. Of the top 40 singles players, 10 hail from Pac-10 schools. In addition, eight of the top 60 doubles pairs represent the Pac-10.
Hollands ranks No. 3 in the Western Region, while Mlakar is ranked No. 9. Balzert is tied for the No. 30 spot in the regional rankings.
Fall Action: After finishing the 2004 season ranked No. 39 as a team, Arizona entered the fall with high expectations. Hollands was ranked No. 7 nationally, and the pair of Hollands and Mlakar earned the billing of No. 1. Hollands finshed the fall with a singles record of 7-7, while Mlakar went 6-3. Balzert led the team with 10 wins. Freshman Camelia Todorova wrapped up her first taste of college tennis with a 8-7 record. In doubles play, Hollands and Mlakar went 6-5.
Next Week: Arizona will host Loyola Marymount and San Diego on Friday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, Feb. 5, respectively. Following the home matches against the West Coast Conference schools, the Wildcats will go on the road for four matches before returning for a Feb. 25 home match against Oregon.