No. 14 Sun Devils Continue Homestand With a Trio of Matches This Weekend

Feb. 5, 2006

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The No. 14 Arizona State Sun Devils (3-0) continue their season-opening homestand with three more non-conference tilts at the Whiteman Center this weekend before the Pac-10 season begins. Entering the nation's top-25 following their upset of third-ranked Texas and solid wins over New Mexico and UC Davis, the Devils host Montana State on Feb. 10 (1:30 pm), No. 49 Denver on Feb. 11 (12:00 pm) and Cal Poly on Feb. 12 (10:00 am).

The Match-Up

The Sun Devils begin the weekend against the Montana State Bobcats, who currently boast a 3-3 record. The Bobcats have won their last two matches, including a 5-2 victory Utah State and most recently a 7-0 win over Gonzaga.

The Devils face the No. 49-ranked Denver Pioneers (3-2) on Saturday. They are coming off of a pair of consecutive victories against No. 43 Iowa (5-2) and Minnesota (7-0).

The Cal Poly Mustangs make the trip south to face both Arizona schools this weekend, as they visit Tucson on Saturday prior to arriving in Tempe. The Mustangs enter the weekend with a 3-2 record, having won three matches in a row on the road prior to this weekend, defeating Santa Clara, CS Northridge, and CS Fullerton.

Up Next

The Sun Devils will enjoy another weekend off, which will make it just three matches in 25 days. They return to action on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, as the Pac-10 season opens with No. 5 USC and No. 11 UCLA visiting the Whiteman Center.

`Lights Out' Laila

Freshman Laila Abdala has been turning heads in Tempe since she exploded on the scene this past fall. Abdala has reeled off six consecutive victories and 13 of 17 on the year. Even more impressive, over that span of matches Abdala has only lost one set, which was in a tiebreaker.

Mix and Match

So far the Sun Devils have mixed up their lineup for their dual matches pretty well. The Sun Devils have used a different lineup in each of their first three matches. Junior Kady Pooler has seen the most variety, playing in the number one, two, and three spots, with a 3-0 record to boot. Coach McInerney has also used five different doubles teams in matches, bringing the total number of different doubles combinations for the season to 11.

Honors for Coach Mac

Sheila McInerney was named the Phoenix Womens Sports Association's 2005 Female Coach of the Year at the university level. She will be honored on Feb. 11 at the PWSA's annual banquet which corresponds with the end of ASU's Women and Girls in Sports Week. McInerney was honored not only for her accomplishments during her 22 seasons at ASU, but also for her contribution to 'helping girls and women find their power through sports.'

It Takes Two

The Sun Devils' No. 1 doubles team of Kady Pooler and Roxanne Clarke entered the season ranked No. 27 nationally by the ITA and No. 3 in the West Region. The duo of juniors have performed remarkably well so far, posting a team-best 13-3 record (.813), with their only loss in the last five matches coming against New Mexico's national No. 3-ranked doubles team.

Where they Stack up

The Sun Devils are ranked No. 14 in the second Fila ITA poll of the year, thanks in no small part to their upset of No. 3-ranked Texas in the season opener. It marks the eighth straight poll that the Devils have been in the top 30 and is the highest ranking for the Sun Devils since March 31, 2003 (#12). The Devils also had two singles players ranked in the preseason polls (#100 Capannolo, #100 Rankin) and two ranked doubles teams (#27 Pooler/Clarke,
#34 Capannolo/Rankin).

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 10 teams currently ranked in the Top-25, including a season-opening victory against then-No. 3 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. So far, ASU's record against top 25 opponents is 1-0.

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.

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 323-202 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.

25 Years of Women's Championships

The NCAA is celebrating the 2005-2006 athletic season as the 25th anniversary of the Division I, II, and III women's tennis championships. The NCAA first began sponsoring women's championships in 1981 when field hockey, swimming, cross country, volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, softball, and track, as well as tennis, recognized their first NCAA champions. Today, the NCAA sponsors 44 women's championships in 20 sports, providing more than 150,000 women with an opportunity to compete for national titles each year.

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