This Weekend: The No. 21 Wildcats play their second consecutive match out of conference when they play host to the Texas Tech Friday. The Lady Raiders (1-2), out of the Big 12 Conference, enter Friday's match following a weekend at New Mexico's Furr's Supermarkets Tennis Classic. Texas Tech split the weekend's matches won the opening day's match against Wyoming, 6-3, and dropped the second match to No. 29 New Mexico, 8-1. Arizona (5-1) defeated New Mexico earlier this year by the score of 7-2 in the UA Invitational. The match wraps up Arizona's seven -match homestand which is the longest of the year.
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
Last Weekend: The Wildcats continued their undefeated record against non-conference opponents this year with a 7-2 victory Sunday over No. 74 Texas-El Paso.
So Close, Yet So Far: Arizona's doubles team of sophomore Lindsay Blau and junior Michelle Gough traveled to Dallas, Texas, last weekend for the Rolex Intercollegiate Indoor Championships and came within a point of winning the national title. Arizona had not qualified for the Indoor Championships since 1992 but sure made its presence felt. Seeded fourth in the tournament, the duo got to the finals by winning three straight matches without dropping a set. The victories came over pairs from college tennis powerhouses Notre Dame, Duke, and Stanford. The finals match was an all-Pac-10 event with the Arizona duo squaring off against California's Claire Curran and Amy Jensen. The Wildcat pair captured the opening set 7-5 and continued its dominance in the match opening up the second set with a 3-1 lead. California fought back to force a tie-breaker where UA forced a match point, but the duo from Berkeley would not go down without a fight and stormed back to take the second and third sets to end the three hour-plus match.
Last Season: 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 4-1 record, the Wildcats jumped 10 spots in the polls to the No. 21 spot in the Feb. 2 team rankings of the spring season. Arizona shares the spot with Kentucky, which has started the season off 2-0. The first singles and doubles rankings will be released Feb. 16.The second team rankings of the year will be released Feb. 9. For a complete list of rankings, visit the ITA website at www.ITAtennis.com
Head Coach: 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.
Assistant Coaches: 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.