Sun Devils Take on No. 3 Texas in Tempe This Weekend

Jan. 16, 2006

The Arizona State Sun Devils begin the 2006 season on Saturday as they host the number-three team in the nation, and last year's NCAA finalist, the Texas Longhorns. The dual match begins at noon MST from the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe.

Quick Notes

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The Sun Devils are 6-14 against Texas under Mcinerney.

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The doubles team of Pooler and Clarke has a .846 winning percentage on the year with an 11-2 record.

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With a 2-0 weekend, freshman Laila Abdala became the second ASU singles player to win double-digit matches this year, joining Roxanne Clarke.

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The duo of Clarke and Pooler won their tenth and eleventh matches of the year this past weekend, improving to 11-2 (.846)

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15 of the Devils' 21 opponents this season are ranked in the latest Fila ITA poll.

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The Sun Devils have been ranked in the nation's top 30 in the last seven consecutive ITA polls.

The Match-Up

The Sun Devils have a 6-14 record against Texas under Coach McInerney and have met the Longhorns at least once per year in nearly every one of McInerney's 22 seasons in Tempe. In their most recent matchup, the No. 9 Longhorns defeated the No. 38 Sun Devils in Austin, 4-3. However, in the 2004 NCAA tournament, the No. 44 Sun Devils upset the No. 12 Longhorns in the second round with a 4-0 sweep on Texas' home court.

Last Time Out

Seven Sun Devils made the trip to Las Vegas last weekend to compete in the National Collegiate Tennis Championships at the Freeman Memorial Tournament hosted by UNLV. Freshman Laila Abdala posted a 2-0 record in the tournament and advanced into the final round of the flight two bracket, before rain halted the match in progress. The doubles team of Pooler-Clarke won two matches in the flight one doubles bracket before falling in the final round in a 9-7 tiebreaker. Wendy Pilecka and Rebecca Rankin also had a successful weekend of doubles, advancing into the final round of the flight two doubles bracket with a 2-0 weekend (the final round was not played).

Up Next

The Sun Devils continue their homestand next weekend, hosting two matches. The No. 48 New Mexico Lobos visit on Saturday, Jan. 28, and the UC Davis Aggies visit on Sunday, Jan. 29. Both matches begin at 10 am MST at the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe.

It Takes Two

The Sun Devils' No. 1 doubles team of Kady Pooler and Roxanne Clarke enter the season ranked No. 27 nationally by the ITA and No. 3 in the West Region. The duo of juniors performed remarkably well so far, posting a team-best 11-2 record (.846). Their overtime loss in the Freeman Memorial final was to the
number-two ranked doubles team in the nation of Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey of Stanford and snapped a nine-match winning streak for the pair.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

The Sun Devils have adjusted the day and time of their Pac-10 match against Oregon in Eugene. The match will take place on Saturday, March 11, and begins at noon. Also the time for next week's match against New Mexico has been changed to a 10 a.m. MST start.

To Be the Best...

Once again, the Sun Devils will play one of the toughest schedules in the country, combining a strong non-conference slate with the always powerful Pac-10 Conference schedule. This year, the Sun Devil's will face 11 teams currently ranked in the Top-25, including the season-opener against last year's national runner-up Texas and two matches against No. 1 Stanford. 15 of this year's 21 matches come against teams ranked by the ITA and 12 of this year's 21 opponents appeared in last year's NCAA tournament, while five of them advanced to the Sweet 16. Of ASU's eight non-conference opponents, four of them are currently ranked.

Where they Stack up

The Sun Devils ranked No. 26 in the first Fila ITA poll of the year. It marks the seventh straight poll that the Devils have been in the top 30. Last year, the Sun Devils finished ranked No. 29 in the country after posting an 11-8 overall record and advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Devils also had two singles players (#100 Capannolo, #100 Rankin) and one doubles team (#27 Pooler/Clarke) ranked in the first poll.

Legends of the Fall

The Sun Devils had a very strong showing during their 2005 fall season. At the ASU/Thunderbird Classic Tournament in late October, junior Rebecca Rankin, now ranked No. 100 by the ITA, advanced to the final round of the tournament, taking second place, and junior Roxanne Clarke took third. In early October, Clarke also claimed the Gold Consolation Bracket title at the Cal Nike Invitational and freshman Laila Abdala won the Blue Consolation Bracket.

At The Helm

Coach Sheila McInerney enters her 22nd season at the helm of the Sun Devil program, the seventh longest tenure of any head coach at ASU, after leading last year's team to its 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. In her 21 seasons, McInerney has led her team to 20 berths in the tournament. Prior to last year's exit in the second round, McInerney had led eight straight teams to the Sweet 16. She holds a career record of 320-202 and has posted three 20-win seasons in her career. ASU has finished in the top-10 of the nation an astounding 13 times under McInerney's tutelage.

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