No. 39 Arizona to kick off Pac-10 schedule

March 3, 2010

No. 39 Arizona at No. 18 WashingtonNoon |Friday, March 5Seattle, Wash.

No. 39 Arizona at Washington StateNoon |Saturday, March 6Pullman, Wash.

TUCSON--The No. 39 Arizona women's tennis team will hit the road for the second week in a row, opening their Pac-10 conference schedule against No. 18 Washington and Washington State. The Cats will take on the Huskies on Friday, March 5 at noon before heading to Pullman to take on Washington State on Saturday, March 6, also at noon.

'As we head into our first Pac-10 weekend, I feel we are in good shape to put up a great fight.' Said head coach Vicky Maes, 'Surely we'd love to play the Washington schools at home, but we have some indoor experience already this season so the adjustment should come easier. Washington is the better of the two on paper, but we certainly expect WSU to be challenging as well. We just need to be ready to play tough and battle hard both days.'

About the Huskies: No. 18 Washington's trip to southern California was halved last weekend, as their match at UC Irvine was rained out. The next day, the Huskies (8-1, 0-0 Pac-10) took on Long Beach State, and won 6-1. Washington took two doubles wins in the No. 1 and 3 positions to clinch the point, and then continued to win five of six doubles matches. The Wildcats are likely to face their toughest challenges in the No. 1 and 2 singles positions, against No. 7 Denise Dy and No. 16 Venise Chan

About the Cougars: Last weekend, Washington State traveled to Boise, Idaho to take on New Mexico and Boise State. In their first road match of the season, the Cougars (7-4, 0-0 Pac-10) defeated New Mexico 6-1 with two of three wins in doubles, and five of six wins in singles. A day later, Washington State was hit with their first road loss, in a 6-1 decision that went Boise State's way. The Cougars' only win came in the No. 2 singles position, where Elisabeth Fournier took down Boise State's Lauren Megale 6-4, 7-5.

Last Time Out: The Cats took a win and a loss last weekend in their second road trip of the season. Against Brigham Young last Friday, Arizona dropped all three doubles matches before rebounding in singles to win 4-3. Senior Claire Rietsch was last to finish, and her 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Romina Nedakovic in the No. 5 position clinched the match for Arizona.

The Wildcats struggled in their 5-2 loss to Utah the next day. Arizona lost the doubles point for the second match in a row, and only won two singles matches.

Cats in the Rankings: Despite last weekend's struggles, Arizona jumped up eleven spots in the ITA team rankings to a season best at No. 39.

In singles rankings, sophomore Natasha Marks dropped down from No. 88 to No. 89, and was joined by fellow sophomore Sarah Landsman who is ranked for the first time since the preseason rankings at No. 106.

Returning Cats: Arizona has seven players returning to the Wildcat roster this season. Seniors Ariane Masschelein, Claire Rietsch, and Natalia Toporowska, junior Jane Huh, and sophomores Natasha Marks, Sarah Landsman, and Debora Castany.

New Additions: New to the Wildcat roster are freshmen Shannon Cassidy and Elizabeth Hammond, who joined up in the fall, and University of Georgia transfer Alexandrina Naydenova, who joined before spring play. Also joining the Wildcats is Volunteer Assistant Coach Danielle Steinberg, who led the Cats last season in the No. 1 singles position.

Head Coach Vicky Maes: Vicky Maes enters her ninth year as the head women's tennis coach. One of the greatest players in Arizona women's tennis history, Maes has been at the University of Arizona since 1994. She got her start as a student-athlete, then continued on as a coordinator for the model Life Skills Program and has served as the head coach of the women's tennis team since October 2000. As a student-athlete, Maes was the squad's No. 1 singles and doubles player throughout her entire career. She was named the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year in 1996, as well as being tabbed a four-time first team All-Pac-10 selection. A native of Belgium, Maes has brought great success in her first eight seasons at the helm of the program. Maes led the Wildcats to team and/or individual postseason competition each year, won the 2003 Pac-10 Championships for the first time since 1994, and produced several first team All-Americans and All-Pac-10 players.

Fall Action: In the fall semester, the Wildcats participated in seven events: the Miner Fall Invite, the New Mexico Invitational, the SDSU Fall Classic, the All-American Riviera, ITA Regionals, the Southwest Collegiate Invite, and the CSUN Invitational. At the Miner Fall Invite, Masschelein won out her singles flight, and at the ITA Regionals, No. 4 seed made it to the semifinal round.

Next Week: Next week, Arizona will return home to host Memphis on Friday, March 12 at 1:30. On Saturday, the Cats will resume Pac-10 play against Oregon at noon. Both matches will be held at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.

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