March 30, 2006

In this edition of The Rankin File, Rebecca reflects on the sweet taste of victory that is a win over rival Arizona.


There are only a few moments in an athlete's career that can match beating a rival in a tense, hard fought victory. Couple that with the rival being the University of Arizona, at home, with a large, noisy crowd and in beautiful sunshine. Victories of that kind are pretty sweet.


There's always something different about playing the Wildcats, as opposed to other teams. Whether it is the historic rivalry between the two teams, the intense battles we have had in the past or simply proving that Sparky beats Wilma, we were gunning for victory in the most brutal of fashions.


Unfortunately, the added excitement, anticipation and nerves were a little too high as our doubles suffered the brunt of those feelings. An unsteady and jittery performance gave the Wildcats the doubles point as teams one and two fell fairly handily.


Despite the loss of the doubles point, we came out with even more resolve and determination in the singles. Sabrina Capannolo stormed through her match against the Wildcats number one player, Stephanie Balzert, almost in the blink of an eye, as she won 6-2, 6-2. Jessica Leitch followed in similar style as she cruised to a straight set victory in the number five spot.


However in the remaining four singles matches, things weren't quite running as smoothly. We all dropped close first sets and, all of a sudden, it didn't look so good for the Sun Devils. Nevertheless, we had been in the same position before and knew we could fight back to level the score. Unfortunately, another loss put the win in jeopardy as the score became 3-2 following Juliette Mavroleon's defeat of Kady Pooler.


Laila Abdala pulled out a gutsy win as she battled through painful cramps to beat a dejected Wildcat, leaving Roxanne Clarke and myself to play our close third sets. Ironically, neither of us had any idea what the overall score was, but thought we had to win both matches to score victory. Playing two courts apart, with the crowd cheering loudly, the match was in our hands.


After having match points earlier, Roxanne won a tight third set tie breaker to clinch victory as the score stood at 4-2. Meanwhile I was left to see off my opponent and add a little salt to the wound that we had just inflicted on U of A. At the change of ends, our coach, Sheila McInerney informed me that the match was already won. Needless to say we didn't want them to salvage any pride, so I served out the match to complete a 5-2 victory.


Four hours later, a little more fatigued but immensely happy, we've achieved a goal that won't ever change in ASU tennis, and any sport for that matter, to beat U of A. Next time, we'll make sure we do it in an easier and less dramatic manner!


Thanks for reading,


Past Editions of The Rankin File:

March 6, 2006
Feb. 14, 2006


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