Women's Tennis Opens Pac-10 Play in Los Angeles Against No. 11 UCLA and No. 12 USC
Feb. 15, 2005
ON TAP: After a week off, the Arizona State University women's tennis team (1-1) heads back out on the road to start Pac-10 Conference play in Los Angeles with duals against 11th-ranked UCLA (5-2) on Friday, February 18 at 1:30 p.m. and 12th-ranked USC (3-0) on Saturday, February 19 at 12:00 p.m.
DEVILS EDGED BY LONGHORNS: The Sun Devils nearly pulled off the upset of ninth-ranked Texas in Austin, but fell in the last match of the day for the 4-3 loss. The dual started off well for ASU as they swept the doubles, with Joslynn Burkett and Wendy Pilecka getting things going with an 8-3 win over Kelly Baritot and Courtney Zauft, while the duos of Sabrina Capannolo / Jessica Leitch and Kady Pooler / Lauren Colalillo soon followed with victories. In singles play, the dual went back and forth with Capannolo and Pooler winning for the Devils, but Leitch and Rankin each fell in straight sets, while Burkett lost her match in the third set as did Pilecka.
SUN DEVILS WIN TOURNAMENT TITLES: Jessica Leitch breezed to the Flight 2 Singles Championship at the Freeman Memorial Championship in Las Vegas with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Stanford's Joanna Kao. Leitch, a freshman from Dallas, Texas, then teamed up with Joslynn Burkett and advanced all the way to the championship of the Flight 1 Doubles Consolation. However, in the Flight 2 Doubles Consolation Championship, ASU did prevail as the tandem of Sabrina Capannolo and Rebecca Rankin defeated South Carolina's Grace Blakely/Justine Walsh, 8-3.
HEAD COACH Sheila McInerney: Sheila McInerney is in her 21st season at the helm of the Sun Devil program after leading last year's team to its eighth consecutive (18 of the past 20 seasons) NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2004. McInerney has also guided Arizona State to eight quarterfinal appearances in her tenure, and has made the NCAA tournament in 19 of her 20 seasons. ASU is one of only five schools (Stanford, Duke, Georgia, Tennessee) to have reached the NCAA Sweet 16 or better for the past eight years. McInerney, who owns a career record of 310-195, posted three 20-win seasons (1986, '90, '01) to her credit and guided the Sun Devils to 17 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. ASU has finished in the top-10 five of the past eight seasons, and an astounding 13 times in her 20 seasons.
NEW FACES: With such a young team (loss of only one senior to graduation), McInerney welcomed two new players to the program. Freshmen Jennifer Kaufman (Tucson, Ariz.) and Jessica Leitch (Dallas, Texas), who was the first player to ever win the 4A Texas state championship in singles and doubles.
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: Once again, ASU will face a strong non-conference slate along with the always powerful Pac-10 Conference. Fifteen of ASU's 20 opponents earned NCAA bids to last year's tournament (five to the Round of 16/four to the quarterfinals), while seven of ASU's 2005 opponents are currently in the top-25, including six of the top-13 teams.
DEVILS IN THE RANKINGS: ASU checks in at No. 40 in the ITA Rankings (Feb. 15). Senior Joslynn Burkett begins at No. 100, while the doubles teams of Burkett/Wendy Pilecka check in at No. 47, and Sabrina Capannolo/Lauren Colalillo come in at No. 53.