April 20, 2012
As the 2012 Arizona women's tennis regular season comes to a close, the team's three seniors, Natasha Marks, Sarah Landsman and Debora Castany hope to conclude their final home match with a win.
The tennis squad is undefeated at home this season with 12 victories, including 11 teams ranked in the top 75. The Wildcats also posted a win over No.20 Saint Mary's for the first win over a top-20 program in Arizona history.
The match has many implications for the Wildcats. It has been eight long years since Arizona defeated ASU, its last win coming in 2004. The UA is fighting to keep its undefeated home streak alive and also hoping to earn a point in the Territorial Cup standings.
Marks has had four successful years at Arizona and could not have asked for a better way to end her senior year than with an undefeated season at home.
"So far my career has been pretty good," Marks said. "Freshman year was my most successful year since I made it to the Pac-10s and Nationals being ranked about 26th in the country. My senior year I'm undefeated at home and ranked number 18, which is huge for me."
For this team, there is no better way to end an undefeated home season than with a win against arch-rival Arizona State. Since the Wildcats and Sun Devils are neck-and-neck in the rankings, the final home match on Friday is important in determining which team wins both the territorial cup point and who can walk away with bragging rights.
Marks is most anxious to play ASU on home turf since the women's team has not beaten the Sun Devils in her years playing for the Wildcats. It is not only a huge day marking the final match in her accomplished career at Arizona, but a day to conclude an undefeated home season.
"It's fantastic to have an undefeated season since I don't think it's been done in Arizona history," Marks said. "We usually play UCLA or Stanford at home, but I think it's a great way for the seniors to finish this year off. Playing ASU in our last match is nerve wracking since we haven't beaten them since I've been here."
As the big day approaches, Marks is starting to realize that she only has one game left in a Wildcat uniform.
"To be honest, I haven't really thought about it that much, it's sinking in now," Marks said. "It's gone by really fast and I couldn't really think when I was a freshman to only have one game left. It's going to be very emotional tomorrow."
Arizona will welcome the Sun Devils at 1 p.m. at Robson Tennis Center, with the three seniors being honored before the match. For both teams, it could help determine their post-season fate, but for the Wildcats, it will define their past and future.