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Women's Tennis Welcomes in UCLA and USC This Weekend
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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This Weekend: The No. 31 Wildcats begin conference action by playing host to two of the top teams in the country, No. 6 UCLA and No. 10 USC. Both teams enter this weekend's play 2-0. Arizona welcomes in UCLA on Friday, which boasts five nationally- ranked players. Leading the way in the national singles rankings is freshman Sara Walker at No. 46. Annica Cooper is UCLA's only other player ranked in singles, listed at No. 83. In doubles, Walker and Petya Marinova went from being unranked in the preseason to No. 19, while Elizabeth Schmidt and Abigail Spears, also unranked in the preseason, are listed at No. 35. UCLA's first two victories came over Cal State Northridge, 6-1, and No. 23 Fresno State, 7-1.USC comes to Tucson Saturday after a Friday match in Tempe with Arizona State. The Trojans opened the dual-match season with victories over UC Santa Barbara, 6-3, and UC Irvine, 7-2. USC has two singles and one doubles team nationally ranked. Freshman Jewel Peterson is No. 4, and freshman Anita Loyola is No. 70. The doubles team of freshman Tiffany Brymer and Kara Warkentin garners the No. 39 spot.
 
 

UA Invitational: The Wildcats swept the weekend's three matches for the first time since 1997 when Arizona logged victories over Illinois (5-4), Mississippi State (9-0), and Texas Christian (6-0). Highlighting the weekend's play was freshman Uzma Khan and junior Michelle Gough's upset victories of two of the top three players in the nation. Khan knocked off the top-ranked player in the country, San Diego's Zuzana Lesenarova, 6-3, 7-5, while Gough notched a victory over Lesenarova's teammate, No. 3 Kataryna Valkyova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Arizona surrendered just five points over the weekend, dropping four singles and a doubles match.

Coming in Threes: Head coach Brad Dancer is a perfect three for three in dual matches as a college head coach. Arizona went undefeated in this past weekend's UA Invitational against No. 27 New Mexico, No. 29 San Diego, and No. 62 Kansas State.

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: Arizona begins the dual-match season where it left off last year with a No. 31 national ranking. Freshman Uzma Khan received a No. 101 singles ranking for her strong performance in the fall season. The doubles team of junior Michelle Gough and sophomore Lindsay Blau earned a No. 8 doubles ranking after wrapping up the fall season winning the Region VIII doubles championship.

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.

Quotes

"UCLA and USC are super strong teams. Top to bottom, their lineup is very strong. Stella (Sampras) and Richard (Gallien)are two great coaches that have built elite programs. They are certainly programs that we would like to model ourselves after."

"This weekend is why it is fun to play in the Pac-10. Coming off a very solid weekend for us and we're feeling really good about ourselves. We just need to continue improving and see where we are at this weekend. This is a great measuring stick of what we need to do to become a top program in the country."

"Right now I like the progress that this team is making. We had some impressive victories last weekend and we are continuing to make steps in the right direction."

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