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March 23, 2004
Back at Home: The No. 36 ranked Arizona women's tennis team (4-7, 0-3) will play at home after taking nearly a two week break off from competition. The Wildcats will take on No. 13 Fresno State on Saturday March 27 at 3:00 p.m. The Cats will then compete against the No. 21 ranked Tulane on Sunday March 28 at 10:30 a.m.
Competing Against Ranked Opponents: The Wildcats have taken on many of the nation's top ranked teams this season. Arizona's five match losing streak comes with the Cats competing against five top-15 ranked opponents. The Wildcats have fallen to No. 12 California, No. 1 Stanford, No. 11 Texas, No. 10 UCLA, and No. 8 Southern Calif. in the last month. The Wildcats will look to break the streak this weekend against No. 13 Fresno State and No. 21 Tulane.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats have not competed since the week of March 8. In that week, the Wildcats fell to Texas, UCLA, and Southern California. Although the Wildcats as a team were unable to come away with wins, individual Wildcats were able to take down some of the nation's top-ranked singles and doubles opponents. Junior Dianne Hollands won two of three matches against top-15 ranked opponents in the last week in competition. Hollands defeated Texas's No. 11 Petra Dizdar and Southern California's No. 13 Luana Magnani. These wins moved Hollands up to the No. 21 ranked player in the nations. Hollands also teamed up with fellow junior Maja Mlakar in doubles to win all three of their matches in the last three competitions. The team took down Southern California's No. 12 duo of Luana Magnani and Carine Vermuelen. Hollands and Mlakar are now 8-2 in the first position. This has earned the team a ranking of No. 7 in the nation.
The Bulldogs: No. 13 Fresno State (10-2) is comprised of six returning veterans and five newcomers. The Bulldogs top player is No. 17 ranked Jelena Pandzic. Pandzic holds a 12-0 overall singles record with her biggest win coming over No. 1 ranked Raquel Kops-Jones from California. The Bulldogs also have one additional players ranked in the ITA top 100. No. 76 Lucia Tallo will pose a threat to the Wildcats with a 14-6 record. The Bruins' strength in doubles is the No. 44 ranked team of Pandzic and Tallo. Fresno State's head coach is Simon Thibodeau, a former assistant coach for the Arizona women's tennis team. Arizona has a 1-1 all time overall record against the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs won the last meeting in 2003, 4-3.
The Green Wave: No. 21 Tulane (14-1) is lead by eight returning veterans. The Green Wave's top player is No. 41 ranked Julie Smekodub. No. 46 Erika Valdes, No. 66 Darya Inavov, and No. 99 Jenny Kuhn will also be tough competition in the singles positions. Tulane is strong in doubles with two ranked teams on its roster. Tulane is lead by the No. 34 team of Smekodub and Kuhn, as well as the No. 46 team of Nancy Kockott and Dorottya Magas. The Wildcats are 1-0 all time against Tulane. The two teams only meeting came in 2001 when the Wildcats won 5-2.
Ranked Wildcats: Without competition over the last two weeks, the Wildcats as a team moved down in the ITA rankings from No. 33 to No. 36. Junior Dianne Hollands moved up in the rankings from No. 31 to No. 21. Junior Maja Mlakar slid in the rankings from No. 72 to No. 74. The juniors as a team moved up from No. 17 to No. 7.