No. 12 Sun Devils Cool Off Cougars, 7-0

March 18, 2006

Tempe, Ariz. - The No. 12-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils swept past the No. 67 Houston Cougars on Saturday, 7-0, at the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe. It was the third straight victory for the Sun Devils (9-4), who earned their fifth sweep of the season and snapped a six-match win streak for the Cougars (12-3).

The Sun Devils wasted no time in capturing the doubles point, as they crusied to an easy victory on all three courts. In the first flight, Kady Pooler (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) and Roxanne Clarke (Cape Town, South Africa), currently ranked No. 29 in doubles by the ITA, knocked off Brianna Bateup and Sonja Nikolic of Houston, 8-1, controlling the match from start to finish. The victory for Pooler and Clarke improved their record to 20-4 on the season, making them just the fourth team in the history of ASU tennis to reach the 20-win plateau.

The Devils had similar success in flights two and three, as Sabrina Capannolo (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Jessica Leitch (Dallas, Texas) sailed past Loli Gomez and Kami Miller, 8-2, and Laila Abdala (San Diego, Calif.) and Rebecca Rankin (Purley, England) capped off doubles with an 8-2 victory over Vicky Simpson and Sarah Reimer.

In singles competition, the Sun Devils won all six matches, with only one match needing a third set to finish. In the first flight, No. 72 Capannolo faced off against Gomez, winning 6-4, 6-1, snapping her single skid at six matches. Capannolo jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first set, but Gomez rallied to win three straight and close the gap before Capannolo finished up the set. No. 98 Clarke continued to ride her hot streak matching up with Bateup in the second spot, winning 6-4, 6-3, and improved her dual match record to 9-3. Pooler faced Nikolic in the third flight, winning 6-1, 7-6 (2). After running away with the first set 6-1, Pooler rallied from a 5-6 deficit in the second set to force a tiebreaker, which she won 7-2 to take the set and the match.

In the bottom half of the lineup, Leitch defeated Simpson in the fifth spot, 6-4, 6-0. After a hotly contested first set that was tied at 4-4, Leitch won the final eight games of the match to take both sets and the point. Laila Abdala continued to impress in the sixth flight as the freshman handily defeated UH's Terblanche (6-1, 6-1).No. 121 Rankin faced Miller in the fourth spot, coming away with a 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (3) victory. After dispatching of Miller quickly in the first set 6-3, Rankin fell behind in the second set and could not catch up, dropping it 4-6. With all five other singles matches already completed, the match was decided in a tiebreaker, which Rankin easily won 7-3 to clinch the sweep for the Devils.

The Sun Devils will remain at home next weekend as they host their intra-state and Pac-10 rival, No. 23 Arizona Wildcats, at the Whiteman Tennis Center on March 25. The match begins at 1 p.m. MST.

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