In preparation for the upcoming spring season, Arizona women’s tennis competed in a series of fall tournaments.
In her thirteenth year as Arizona head coach, Vicky Maes will see all seven of her 2012-13 players return for another year at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.
Lacey Smyth, Susan Mc Rann, and Kim Stubbe make their fourth and final appearance wearing the Red and Blue as they take on senior leadership roles. Akilah James returns for her second season at the UA and gives the Wildcats a fourth senior on their roster.
“Having four seniors on the team will mean that they will need to step up and lead,” Maes said. “We have several players who lead by example, but we need to work on being more vocal when times get rough. We will win a lot of our matches if we play consistently and respond to adversity.”
Laura Oldham is set to compete in her third season under Maes. After completing their first collegiate season, sophomores Shayne Austin and Inge Hendrikx also look forward to another Pac-12 season.
In addition to these seven, Maes and her squad welcomed two freshmen, Lauren Marker and Carly Cassity.
All nine players participated in at least one of the five fall tournaments.
“I was pleased with the improvements we made in the fall,” Maes said. “The girls worked really hard and got a lot stronger. They also showed a lot of resilience which is very promising.”
Here are some of the highlights to recap the fall:
At the ITA Regionals, Stubbe reached the quarterfinals in singles. She finished the fall season with a 3-2 singles record, including a win over No. 63 Catherine Harrison of UCLA.
In six singles matches this fall, Smyth earned three wins. Her most notable one was over No. 44 Lynn Chi (California) where Smyth won in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.
In two fall tournaments, James posted a 6-1 record in singles. She defeated No. 86 Kaitlyn Christian (University of Southern California), 6-0, 6-4, at the ITA Regionals. James also won her singles flight at the Wildcat Invitational.
“Akilah is a lot stronger than she was a year ago,” Maes said. “She is more comfortable in her skin and will be a strong force for us. She is one of the most athletic people I have ever coached and I feel her energy is crucial for the entire team.”
Mc Rann composed a 6-2 record in singles play. In September, she earned third-place singles honors at the Aggie Invitational.
Oldham went 5-3 in singles play. Three of her wins came in the Aggie Invitational, earning her the singles title.
Oldham and Mc Rann also paired up for doubles in eight matches. The pair went undefeated, winning the doubles title at the Aggie Invitational and the Wildcat Invitational.
Austin won her respective singles flight at the Wildcat Invitational. She faced teammate Inge Hendrikx in the finals. Hendrikx recorded three victories leading up to the final.
Austin and Hendrikx also paired up in doubles at the Wildcat Invitational and won their respective flight.
Marker recorded an impressive 8-1 singles record and won her singles flight at the Wildcat Invitational. She also advanced to the Round of 16 at the ITA Regional Championships.
“Lauren made fast improvement, both physically and mentally,” Maes said. “She matured on the court which truly helped her game. She still has a lot of upside and is only just beginning, but she is a fighter and she loves to compete so I expect her to have a major impact on this team.”
Cassity won the consolation Navy flight of the Wildcat Invitational, picking up three wins in the tournament.
"I was pleased with the improvements we made in the fall," Maes said. "The girls worked really hard and got a lot stronger. They also showed a lot of resilience which is very promising. This is a tough group of young women and I look forward to seeing them compete in the team format."
The spring season will officially kick-off on Jan. 25 when the Wildcats host Northern Arizona University at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.