No. 17 Sun Devils Open Pac-10 Season at Home with USC, UCLA

Feb. 22, 2006

Off to their best start in five years, The No. 16 Arizona State Sun Devils are set to open the Pac-10 season this weekend as they continue their homestand with a pair of matches at the Whiteman Center. On Friday, the No. 4 USC Trojans will visit Tempe for a 1:30 p.m. MST match followed by the No. 11 UCLA Bruins, who visit on Saturday at noon. So far this season, the Sun Devils have surrendered just three match points out of a total 42 possible.

The Match-Up

The USC Trojans (5-1), currently ranked No. 4 in the Fila ITA poll, are coming off a weekend series against No. 1 Stanford and No. 6 Cal, falling to the Cardinal before rebounding to defeat the Bears. The Trojans swept the series last year, defeating the Sun Devils at home 6-1 on March. 25 and then knocked the Sun Devils out of the NCAA tournament with a 4-0 victory in the Second Round in Los Angeles.

The No. 17 UCLA Bruins are carrying a record of 5-2 and are also coming off a weekend series against the Bay Area schools. They also split the weekend, losing to Stanford but defeating Cal. Last year, the Sun Devils fell to the Bruins, 5-2, at the Whiteman Center. Their match in Los Angeles was rained out.

Up Next

The Pac-10 season rolls on as the Sun Devils finally hit the road. They will travel to the Bay Area to face top-ranked Stanford on March 3 and No. 6 California on March 4.

Clean Sweep

The Sun Devils recorded their fourth consecutive sweep of the season against Cal Poly. It marks just the third time that the Sun Devils have strung together four sweeps. They last did it in 2001 and their longest streak was in Coach McInerney's first year, 1985, when they recorded five straight 9-0 sweeps.

`Lights Out' Laila

Freshman Laila Abdala has been turning heads in Tempe since she exploded on the scene this past fall. She extended her winning streak again in her last outing, pushing it to eight consecutive matches and 15 of 19 on the year. Even more impressive, over that span of matches Abdala has only lost one set, which was in a tiebreaker.

Quick Notes

• The Sun Devils have surrendered just three match points out of a total of 42 on the season.

• The Sun Devils next six matches are against oppoments in the top 25, including matchups against No. 1, 4, 6, and 11 in their next four.

• Freshman Laila Abdala is currently riding a team-long eight match win streak. She has a 15-4 mark on the year.

• The Sun Devils have used a different lineup in each of the first six matches.

• The Sun Devils have been in ranked in the top 30 in the last ten consecutive polls and have risen as high as No. 14 this year.

Don't Miss `The Rankin File'

Sun Devil tennis fans can get an extra dose of the action on the official ASU athletics website,, as junior Rebecca Rankin will be writing a new blog for the website, titled `The Rankin File.' Go behind the scenes with Rebecca and travel with the team as she reports back to us along the Road to Palo Alto.

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 six matches. Juniors Kady Pooler and Rebecca Rankin have seen the most variety, playing in three differnent spots and compiling a combined 10-0 record. Coach McInerney has also used seven different doubles teams in matches, bringing the total number of different doubles combinations for the season to 13.

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 15-3 record (.833), 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. 17 in the fourth 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 tenth straight poll that the Devils have been in the top 30. In this week's first singles/doubles poll of the season, junior Rebecca Rankin jumped 50 spots in the rankings to the No. 50 spot. Junior Sabrina Capannolo also moved up, now at No. 65 from 100 and junior Kady Pooler entered the rankings, debuting at No. 93. The doubles team of Pooler and Clarke also moved up five spots to No. 22.

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. The Sun Devils next six matches are against teams in the Top 25, including the next four matches come against teams ranked No. 1, 4, 9, and 11. 16 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, five of them are currently ranked. So far, ASU's record against top 25 opponents is 1-0.


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 326-202 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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