The No. 21 Wildcats (6-2, 1-2 in Pac-10) look to get back on the winning track this weekend when they travel up to Tempe to take on ninth-ranked Arizona State (5-1, 2-1 in Pac-10). The Sun Devils are led by sophomore Allison Bradshaw, ranked 15th in the country in singles and 29th in doubles with her partner, junior Celena McCoury. Other ranked players include junior Karin Palme, ranked 41st, and freshman Mhairi Brown, who is perfect in dual match play (6-0) earning her a No. 94 ranking. ASU has won four matches in a row including a 5-1 victory over Oregon last weekend.
Arizona State has a 4-1 record against opponents common to Arizona while UA has a 3-2 mark. Each school defeated New Mexico and Texas Tech. The Sun Devils defeated USC (6-3) and Oregon (5-1), while the Wildcats fell to both. Arizona did log an impressive victory against UCLA (5-4) who turned around and beat ASU the following day, 6-3. Arizona is looking to snap a three-match losing streak to Arizona State. UA's last win against its in-state rival came on Feb. 28, 1998, when it won 5-4 up in Tempe.
The Lineup: Name Yr. Hometown Uzma Kahn Fr. Hyderabad, India Lindsay Blau So. Ossining, New York Michelle Gough Jr. Johannesburg, South Africa Vanessa Abel Sr. Tucson, Arizona Laresa Marino So. San Diego, California Joanna Buczkowska Jr. Zakopane, Poland Brooke Taylor So. Newport Beach, California Siri Fomsgaard Fr. Copenhagen, Denmark
The Wildcats had their two-match winning streak snapped Sunday as they were upset by No. 40 Oregon, 5-4. The win marked the first time Pac-10 school from the northwest has ever beaten a Pac-10 team from the south. Arizona did log a pair of upset victories at the No.1 and No. 2 singles spots. Junior Michelle Gough defeated Alina Wygonowska, 6-3, 6-1. With the win, Gough has won eight of her last nine matches. Sophomore Lindsay Blau topped 65th-ranked Monika Gieczys, 6-4, 6-1, continuing her strong play of late, winning five of her last seven matches.
Home Sweet Home:
Arizona is off to one of its best starts in school history (6-2) after seven home matches. With a win this weekend against in-state rival Arizona State, UA would equal the 7-2 start of the No. 8-ranked 95 team. That team won its first seven matches before falling at home to No. 3 Stanford, 7-2.
"I am looking forward to our match with Arizona State. We had one of our best practices of the season on Tuesday an am anxious to get our lineup back to full strength."
"Despite the loss I saw some encouraging signs of the improvement that our team is making. Lindsay (Blau) and Michelle (Gough) had impressive wins over nationally-ranked players and it bodes well for the rest of the season.
"Arizona State is a very talented team. Top to bottom, its lineup have no weaknesses. They are a very well coached team and we will certainly have our hands full. I do believe that if we can play to the fullest of our potential that we can capture a victory in Tempe this weekend."
Arizona finished the season with an overall record of 8-14 placing them sixth in the Pac-10 Conference. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated by top-ranked Florida.
Cats in the Polls:
After beginning the season with a 6-1 record, the Wildcats remained 21st in the Feb. 16 edition of the WingspanBank.com rankings and are 19th in the Feb.14 edition of the Bob Larson Coaches Poll. The first singles and doubles rankings of the season were released Feb. 16, and junior Michelle Gough earned a No. 87 ranking with a 12-7 overall record. Gough and doubles partner sophomore Lindsay Blau received a No. 15 ranking. The third team rankings of the year will be released Feb. 23, and the next singles and doubles rankings will be March 1. For a complete list of rankings, visit the ITA website at www.ITAtennis.com
Brad Dancer is in his first year as head coach at Arizona replacing Stephanie London. Dancer played No. 1 singles and doubles at Michigan State, graduating with a degree in business in 1993. In his time at Michigan State, Dancer was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten member and was selected to the All-Big Ten team his senior year. Dancer's professional coaching highlights include serving as an assistant for the 1996 Fed Cup team.
Kevin Epley and Vicky Maes round out the coaching staff for the Wildcats this season. Epley comes to Arizona after serving as an assistant last year at Alabama. In addition to his duties at Arizona, Epley is involved in coaching at the professional tennis level including serving as an assistant for the Fed Cup team under head coach Billie Jean King. Maes, a four-time tennis All-American, returns to her alma mater as a volunteer assistant. Maes graduated from Arizona in 98 but not before becoming the most decorated player in the program's history. Maes was a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year, a GTE All-American, and was selected to the Pac-10 All-Decade team.