This Week for the Wildcats: No. 47 Arizona (6-6, 0-1) will conclude a seven-match homestand with a pair of matches against Pac-10 foes No. 12 UCLA (9-4, 2-0) and No. 5 Southern California (9-1, 1-0). The Wildcats will face the Bruins Friday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m., while the Women of Troy will visit Robson Tennis Center Saturday, March 26 at noon.
Last Time Out: Last week, the Wildcats got a much-needed break to prepare for a stretch run that includes seven Pac-10 opponents in less than a month, including two road trips.
The last time the Cats took to the courts, they snapped a six-match losing skid with a convincing 7-0 victory over Minnesota. The Golden Gophers were UA’s last non-conference opponent of the regular season and its first since Feb. 12. Earlier in the week, the Wildcats lost a heart-breaking match to rival Arizona State, 4-3. Fortunately, the match did not count towards Pac-10 standings and UA will get another shot at the Sun Devils April 16.
Against UCLA: Arizona faced the Bruins once last year, losing 6-1. Arizona last defeated UCLA in 2000, while the Arizona’s last road win against the Bruins came in 1997. Only last year’s national champion Stanford has been a tougher opponent on the Wildcats, as the Bruins hold a 34-7 all-time edge over Arizona.
Scouting the Bruins: UCLA returns just six of its 11 rostered players from last year’s national runner-up squad. Despite losing so many of its athletes, four of the six singles players from last year’s team return.
UCLA’s singles lineup features three nationally-ranked players with No. 18 Riza Zalameda, No. 32 Daniela Bercek, and No. 85 Laura Gordon. Zalameda and Bercek combine to be the third-ranked doubles pair.
Against Southern California: The last time the two teams faced off, the Wildcats saw their 2004 season come to an end. Then-No. 6 USC defeated Arizona 4-0 in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. Earlier in 2004, the Trojans defeated the Cats in Tucson, 5-2, while the match scheduled to be played in Los Angeles was cancelled. The last time Arizona defeated USC was in 1998, while the Wildcats last victory in Los Angeles came the year prior.
Scouting the Trojans: USC is strong at the top of the lineup with No. 10 Lindsay Nelson and No. 11 Nicole Leimbach ranking nationally in singles. Earlier in the year, the Trojans had as many as four players ranked in the top 80. No. 34 Nelson and Anca Anastasiu lead the Trojans’ doubles attack.
Southern Cal’s only loss this year came in Palo Alto to No. 1 Stanford.
The Doubles Point: Arizona is 6-3 when winning the doubles point and 0-3 when opponents capture the best of three doubles series.
Senior Leaders: Seniors Dianne Hollands, Maja Mlakar and Kelly Perry are a combined 26-8 in singles dual match play this year. Non-seniors are a combined 15-22.
Comeback Kid: Of sophomore Kasia Jakowlew’s 11 victories this year, five of the wins have come when she lost the first set, but came back to win the next two.
Nearing the Century Mark: Dianne Hollands needs five more singles victories to have won 100 singles matches in her four-year career. She began the year with 74 wins and has 21 victories entering this week.
Fall Action: After finishing the 2004 season ranked No. 39 as a team, Arizona entered the fall with high expectations. Dianne Hollands was ranked No. 7 nationally, and the pair of Hollands and Maja Mlakar earned the billing of No. 1. Hollands finshed the fall with a singles record of 7-7, while Mlakar went 6-3. Junior Stephanie Balzert led the team with 10 wins. Freshman Camelia Todorova wrapped up her first taste of college tennis with an 8-7 record. In doubles play, Hollands and Mlakar went 6-5.
Next Week: Arizona will take to the road for the first time since mid-February, as the Cats will face No. 24 California and top-ranked Stanford.