This Week for the Wildcats: The No. 40 Arizona women’s tennis team (9-13, 3-5) travels to Atlanta, Ga. to take on No. 33 Kentucky at 3 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, May 12, in the first round of NCAA Championship play. Host and third-ranked Georgia Tech will take on Furman in the other regional match up. The winners will then compete at noon (EST) on Sunday, May 13, for the right to advance to the Round of 16 hosted by Georgia in Athens, Ga., beginning on May 18.
Last week: The Wildcats had a rough go at it in the Pac-10 Championships with their both of their top two players, Danielle Steinberg and Juliette Mavroleon, competing in the championship draw dropping out in the first day of competition. Arizona had the most success in the invitational draw where Natalia Toporowska advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Arizona State’s Laila Abdala. In the doubles invitational draw, Toporowska and Katie Orletsky teamed up to also advance to the quarterfinals. The team then withdrew from competition.
Against Kentucky: This is the second all-time meeting between the two Wildcat teams. Kentucky won the only prior match up in 1986, 5-4, in Arizona.
Scouting the Wildcats: Kentucky is 18-7 so far this season. The Wildcats have lost six of their last nine since beginning the season 15-1. Kentucky is led by its double pairing of Joelle Schwenk and Kim Conventry, ranked sixth in the country. This is the 11th-straight NCAA bid for the Wildcats. Head coach Carlos Drada enters his second season at Kentucky. The team returns five players and adds three freshmen.
Giant Killers: Sophomore Danielle Steinberg and junior Juliette Mavroleon both had huge upsets in consecutive match ups against first Southern California and then UCLA. Steinberg, ranked 91st at the time, defeated USC’s 10th-ranked Lindsey Nelson in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(4). The next day against UCLA, Steinberg was able to avenge a loss earlier in the season to No. 22 Riza Zalameda. Steinberg again got the upset in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. Against USC, an unranked Mavroleon took down 12th-ranked Sarah Fansler in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3. Mavroleon kept the momentum rolling the next day as she handedly defeated UCLA’s 49th-ranked Tracy Lin, 6-2, 6-4.
Pac-10 POW: Sophomore Danielle Steinberg was named the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week for Apr. 2-8. Steinberg posted back-to-back upsets over two of the Pac-10's top players. Steinberg beat USC’s tenth-ranked Lindsey Nelson and UCLA’s 22nd-ranked Riza Zalameda, both in straight sets. It was the first award for Steinberg and the first ever Player of the Week honor for the Wildcats in women’s tennis.
Double Trouble: Arizona has won the doubles point in 10 of its 22 matches so far this season. The Wildcats are 9-1 when winning the point and 0-12 when their opponents take the point.
Ranked Rivals: The Wildcats have played their last 19 of 20 matches against ranked opponents since opening the season against unranked Northern Arizona.
Wildcats in the Rankings: The Wildcats moved up one spot in poll to No. 40 this week. Danielle Steinberg remained at No. 42, while Juliette Mavroleon fell two spots to No. 79.
Fall Action: Arizona found most of its success in doubles during the fall season. Kasia Jakowlew earned a 7-2 record in doubles while paired with Camelia Todorova (3-1) and Natalia Toporowska (4-1). Juliette Mavroleon and Danielle Steinberg went 3-0 in doubles action. Steinberg had the most success in singles play during the fall finishing at 5-3.
Pac-10 Elite: Arizona has face tough competition since entering the Pac-10 season. Eight of the nine conference teams are ranked in the ITA poll including five in the top 25. Stanford leads the way at No. 1. Southern California and California are close behind at No. 8 and No. 10, respectively. UCLA (No. 12) and Arizona State (No. 18) round out the top 25, while No. 40 Arizona, No. 41 Oregon and No. 50 Washington State are all also ranked. All of these teams except for Washington State received NCAA bids. Three singles players and one doubles pair from the Pac-10 are in the top 10 of their respective polls. California’s Susie Babos is ranked No. 4, while Southern California’s Lindsey Nelson and Stanford’s Theresa Logar are No. 5 and No. 8, respectively. Another seven players from the conference rank in the top 25. Babos and teammate Zsuzsanna Fodor are No. 5 in doubles.
Next Up: Should Arizona win its first and second round matches, it will advance to the Round of 16 hosted by Georgia beginning on May 18. Danielle Steinberg will return to action at the individual championships also held in Athens, Ga. beginning on May 23.