TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The No. 72 Arizona Wildcats entered Sunday’s tennis match with the hopes of ending a four-match losing streak. Three of those losses were decided by the outcome of a single match. Arizona avoided adding a fourth to that list with a 4-3 upset over the No. 46 University of Louisiana at Lafayette, clinched by a three-set victory from Jason Labrosse.
UL Lafayette took the doubles point, winning both matches at the No. 2 and 3 spots. Arizona did pick up a win from their No. 1 tandem, juniors Bruno Alcala and Claudio Christen who defeated Janusz Conradi and Jorge Delgado 8-3. After each playing the majority of last season with different partners, Alcala and Christen are now developing into a more cohesive doubles team. “We get along really well with each other. Playing with someone as tall as him with as big of a serve as he does makes it easy for me at the net,” noted Alcala.
For the second time in as many days, No. 86 Christen was dealt a tough three-set loss in singles, this time to Piotre Banas 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Head Coach Tad Berkowitz commented on Christen’s play, “He played at the three and four spots for most of last year. Having him step in and be our No. 1 this season requires a whole different mentality. It’s good to see him fighting out there, and he’s starting to realize he has to maintain a strong, confident attitude throughout.”
In the No. 2 position, Alcala put the Wildcats on the board with a straight set victory over Dusan Tabak. After a loss at the three spot, Arizona could not afford to drop any of the final three matches. Ravid Hezi and Alex Labrosse, two freshmen, kept the Wildcats’ in contention by picking up victories at the No. 4 and 6 spots, respectively. For the second time this season, the outcome would be decided by the result of Jason Labrosse’s match. Last weekend against Nebraska, in his first match of the dual season, Jason split sets with the team score tied at three. After experiencing severe cramps throughout his legs, he was unable to pull out the win. “Coming into this weekend, I made sure that I ate well and drank a lot of water. Cramping is not fun, and I never want it to happen again,” commented Labrosse. Struggling with a recent abdominal strain, Jason spent the first set against Louisiana-Lafayette’s Jorge Delgado figuring out to adjust his style of play in order to compensate for his weakened serve. He dropped the first 7-5, but from that point he took over, winning the final two sets 6-2, 6-1. As Jason nears towards full physical recovery he will be a valuable asset to the Wildcat team. His effort on the court and his support of others has garnered him the respect of his teammates and coaches. Alcala said, “He’s a fighter. If a match is tied 3-3, you can almost always assume that Jason is the last one on the court. We’re confident with him in that position.”
The Arizona men’s tennis team has the next weekend off, but will be traveling to California the following weekend to take on two of the nation’s top teams. On Feb. 23 the Wildcats square off against No. 25 Cal-Berkeley before traveling to Palo Alto the next day to take on No. 27 Stanford.
No. 72 Arizona 4, No. 46 Louisiana Lafayette 3
1. Christen/Alcala (UA) def. Conradi/Delgado (UL Lafayette) 8-3
2. Banas/Shaun Ellison def. Peter Zimmer/Milos Romic (UA) 9-7
3. Tabak/Arlen Damoney (UL Lafayette) def. J. Labrosse/Hezi (UA) 9-8(1)
1. Banas (UL Lafayette) def. Christen (UA) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
2. Alcala (UA) def. Tabak (UL Lafayette) 6-2, 6-4
3. Ellison (UL Lafayette) def. Zimmer (UA) 6-4, 7-6(3)
4. Ravid Hezi (UA) def. Conradi (UL Lafayette) 6-2, 6-4
5. J. Labrosse (UA) def. Delgado (UL Lafayette) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
6. A. Labrosse (UA) def. Damoney 6-3, 6-0