Sun Devils Move Up to No. 12, Host No. 67 Houston on Saturday

March 14, 2006

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After knocking off two consecutive top 25 opponents last week in No. 14 Wake Forest and No. 24 Oregon, the Arizona State Sun Devils found themselves ranked No. 12 in the latest Fila ITA poll and will host the No. 67 Hoston Cougars at the Whiteman Center on Saturday. The Sun Devils look to stay unbeaten in non-conference play (7-0) as they face the Cougars at noon MST.

At the midpoint of the season, the Sun Devils currently own an 8-4 record, which is their best mark at this point in the season since beginning 8-4 in 2003.

The Match-Up

The Houston Cougars enter the weekend's match at No. 67 and with a record of 11-2. The Cougars are currently riding a five-match streak and defeated both Lee College and Columbia University 6-1 at home last week. Houston faces NAU on Wednesday before making the trip south to Tempe.

Last Time Out

The Sun Devils earned a victory in their second consecutive match last Saturday, defeating the No. 24 Oregon Ducks, 6-1, in Eugene. It was the first road win and first Pac-10 win of the season for the Devils. Roxanne Clarke extended her team-long win streak to three matches, winning 6-1, 6-4, and also picked up a win in doubles with partner Kady Pooler, 8-3.

Up Next

The Sun Devils stay at home for one more match as they host intra-state rival University of Arizona at the Whiteman Center on March 25. The match begins at 1 p.m. MST.

Quick Notes

• The Sun Devils are 7-0 against non-conference foes and look to finish at a perfect 8-0 after this weekend.

• The Devils improved to 3-4 against top 25 teams and have won two straight.

• Moving up nine spots, the Sun Devils are ranked No. 12, their highest ranking since Mar. 31, 2003.

• The Sun Devils are currently in a stretch of three matches in 25 days.

• The Devils currently have three ranked singles players (#72
Capannolo, #98 Clarke, #121 Rankin) and one ranked doubles team (#29 Pooler/Clarke).

To Be the Best...

The Sun Devils are without a doubt playing one of the toughest, if not the toughest, schedule in the country this year, combining a difficult non-conference slate with the powerhouses that form their schedule in the Pac-10 South. The Sun Devils have only one match left against teams not ranked in the ITA top 75 and have six remaining against top 25 teams, including numbers 1, 4, and 9.

The Sun Devils have played four matches against top 10 teams remaining (1-3) and will play three more against teams currently ranked up there. Against top 25 teams this season, the Devils are owners of a 3-4 record. 12 of this year's 21 opponents appeared in last year's NCAA tournament, while five of them advanced to the Sweet 16.

It Takes Two

The Sun Devils' No. 1 doubles team of Kady Pooler and Roxanne Clarke have climbed to a No. 29 ranking nationally by the ITA, after entering the season at No. 27 nationally and No. 3 in the West Region. The duo of juniors have performed remarkably well so far, posting a team-best 19-4 record (.826) and have won in eight of their last ten outings.

Where they Stack up

In this week's Fila ITA poll, the Sun Devils jumped nine spots to No. 12, their highest ranking of the season and the highest they have been since reaching that spot on March 31, 2003. It marks the 12th straight poll in which the Sun Devils have been in the top 30 and their ninth straight in the top 25.

Pooler-Clarke Win POW Honors

Sun Devil juniors Kady Pooler and Roxanne Clarke were named the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Players of the Week for Feb. 21 - 26 after posting a 2-0 record against the southern California schools.Pooler and Clarke became the first athletes in school history to earn the Conference award for Arizona State University and are the first doubles team in the conference to earn the award. Junior Sabrina Capannolo also received a nomination for the award for Feb. 10-12.

Clean Sweep

The Sun Devils recorded their fourth consecutive sweep of the season against Cal Poly on Feb. 12. It marked 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.

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.'

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 328-206 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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