Pair of Top-20 League Rivals Set to Visit the Sun Devils
TEMPE, Ariz. – A big weekend awaits Sheila McInerney's Sun Devils, who will host No. 12 Cal (Friday, April 1, 1:30 p.m. MST) and No. 17 Stanford (Saturday, April 2, 12 p.m. MST) at the Whiteman Tennis Center.
With five matches remaining in the regular season, the No. 30 Sun Devils (9-6, 1-4) have two chances this weekend to create some momentum entering the final two weeks of play. They got a big boost last week when Marianna Argyrokastriti returned to the lineup after nursing an ankle injury for six weeks.
An injury sidelined her for six weeks, but Marianna Argyrokastriti returned to the lineup on Saturday.
So good to have you back, Argy ?? pic.twitter.com/upIyGVD98t
— Arizona State Women's Tennis (@sundevilwtennis) March 30, 2022
One more victory will give McInerney 550 in her career, while also securing a double-digit win season for the 17th consecutive year.
Here's a closer look at the two league rivals coming to town this week.
PREVIEWING THE GOLDEN BEARS (10-5, No. 12)
- The Golden Bears have three of the country's top singles players in Jessica Alsola (No. 62), Haley Giavara (No. 101) and Katja Wiersholm (No. 122). They also have a pair of widely-regarded doubles teams in Alsola/Wiersholm (No. 29) and Giavara/Valentina Ivanov (No. 35).
- Cal hasn't lost in over a month since a February 27 setback against No. 1 Texas. Since then, it's strung together five consecutive wins, including the most recent 4-3 triumph over No. 5 Pepperdine.
- Battle-tested: The Golden Bears have played six opponents this spring ranked in the top-10 of the ITA's team polls.
- The Golden Bears are a year removed from their first Pac-12 Championships and a trip to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Championships. Fourteenth-year head coach Amanda Augustus is the reigning Pac-12 Coach of the Year and the ITA Northwest Regional Coach of the Year.
RECENT HISTORY VS. CAL
MARCH 20, 2021: L, 6-1
MARCH 16, 2019: L, 5-2
JANUARY 27, 2019: L, 4-1
MARCH 31, 2018: W, 4-0
MARCH 18, 2017: L, 7-0
PREVIEWING THE CARDINAL (11-3, No. 17)
- Like the Golden Bears, the Cardinal have a trio of singles players ranked in the ITA polls with Connie Ma (No. 13), Alexandra Yepifanova (No. 18) and Valencia Xu (No. 87). The duo of Ma/Angelica Blake are ranked No. 7 in doubles.
- Led by 22nd-year head coach Lele Forood, the Cardinal are 11–3 after a win over Hawaii on Wednesday. Forood earned her 500th career victory in a 7-0 drubbing against Utah on March 20.
- Since 2016, the Cardinal have racked up three National Championship titles, with the latest coming in 2019. They had a four-year stretch from 2016-19 where they captured four consecutive Pac-12 Championships.
- Out of Court 1 in singles play, Connie Ma is 11-1 this spring. Ma has won in straight sets in six of her last seven contests and is 8-1 versus nationally-ranked opponents.
- The Cardinal, who check in the latest ITA polls at No. 17, held a top-25 ranking for all of March.
RECENT HISTORY VS. STANFORD
MARCH 19, 2021: L, 4-1
MARCH 15, 2019: L, 5-2
MARCH 30, 2018: L, 4-0
MARCH 17, 2017: L, 4-0
MARCH 5, 2016: W, 4-3
GUESS WHO'S BACK, BACK AGAIN
For the first time in six weeks, Marianna Argyrokastriti traded her place on the sideline for a spot in the Sun Devils' starting lineup. After an ankle injury sidelined her for a month-and-a-half, the Greece native returned in the team's 4-0 win against Rice on March 26.
It's a welcomed sight for the Sun Devils, who are back to full-strength for the final stretch of the regular season.
The climb continues for the Patricija Spaka-Domenika Turkovic tandem, which is now sporting a No. 26 ranking in doubles play. It's the highest this pair has been ranked this season, largely due to an upset over UCLA's No. 23 ranked duo of Ava Catanzarite and Abigail Forbes on March 12.
Keep up with the Sun Devils and their busy weekend via the team's Twitter account, @sundevilwtennis.