This Week: Arizona (9-5) will look to build on its upset of in-state rival Arizona State last weekend when they open Pac-10 play at home against Southern California and UCLA. The Wildcats and the 51st-ranked Trojans will face off on Friday, March 31, at 1:30 p.m. The Wildcats will take on the defending national champions and ninth-ranked Bruins on Saturday, April 1, at 1 p.m.
Last Time Out: Arizona was able to defeat Arizona State, 6-1, with strong play in both doubles and singles. The Wildcats improved to 9-5 this season already surpassing their win total from last season.
Scouting Southern California: The Trojans (7-8) are led by Jamil Al-Agba. Al-Agba is ranked No. 88 in singles and he is a part of the 45th- ranked doubles pair with partner Dejan Cvetkovic. In the Trojans’ last outing, they defeated UNLV, 5-2, to end a four-match losing streak.
Scouting UCLA: The Bruins (11-4) feature five ranked singles players and one doubles pair. They are led by second-ranked Benjamin Kohlloeffel. In its last outing, UCLA upset No. 3 Duke at home, 6-1.
Series History: This is the 71st meeting between the Wildcats and Trojans. Arizona has only notched one win in the series. The Wildcats lost a close match 3-4 earlier this season. This is the 69th meeting between Arizona and UCLA. Arizona has yet to record a win in the series. In the teams’ first match up this season, the Bruins defeated the Wildcats 6-1.
Solid Seniors: Arizona’s three seniors are a combined 18-10. Roger Matalonga and Jeff Groslimond are 8-5 and 9-4 at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively. Matalonga has been honored by being named Pac-10 Player of the Week twice this year. Groslimond has also received the honor once.
Match Point Matalonga: In Arizona’s match against UC Santa Barbara, Roger Matalonga was able to fight off 11 match points to earn his victory over Nick Brotman. The win also gave the Wildcats a 4-3 victory over the Gauchos.
By Position: The Wildcats have had very solid play from the No. 2 and No. 3 positions in both singles and doubles. Jeff Groslimond is 9-4 at the two spot, while Claudio Christen is 8-2 at the No. 3 position. In doubles, Arizona is a combined 21-5 at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions.
Fall Finishers: Redshirt freshman Peter Zimmer led the Wildcats with a 10-4 record in the fall, including a win streak of six matches. Roger Matalonga and Claudio Christen also had solid showings in the fall season, going 9-4 and 8-3, respectively. Three pairs posted winning records for Arizona in the fall. Daniel Andrus was a part of two of those pairs that included Matalonga and Francois VanderMerwe. Christen and Zimmer made up the third pair.
Wildcats in the Rankings: Roger Matalonga remains at No. 58 this week in the rankings. New individual rankings will be released next week. The team jumped 15 spots to No. 47.
Stacked Pac: The Pac-10 is difficult again this year with five teams beginning the season ranked in the top 25. UCLA is the defending national champion and is led by Benjamin Kohlloeffel’s No. 3 singles ranking. Along with UCLA, Stanford, Washington and Arizona opened the spring season with both a singles and doubles pair ranked.
Home Court Advantage: Arizona’s schedule this season includes 15 home matches. All but two of its non-conference matches will be played in Tucson. Seven of these matches will be against teams that finished in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings last season. So far this season the Wildcats are taking advantage of their schedule posting an 8-2 record at home.
Next Match: Arizona will finish up its home schedule with two Pac-10 matches. The Wildcats will host Oregon on Friday, April 7, at 1:30 p.m. They will then take on Washington on Sunday, April 9, at noon.