Arizona men’s tennis team looks to keep the momentum going

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Nathanial Stenchever

Teammates Carlos Hassey and Nick Lagaev exchange a high five after gaining a point on their opponent the University of San Deigo on Feb. 4 at the Robson Tennis Center. The pair went on to win their first match.

Ari Koslow

The Arizona men’s tennis team defeated ASU 6-1 last Saturday. They took the first 4 points of the match to clinch the victory, making it the second straight season in which the Wildcats swept the Sun Devils. 

“I really like their coach and I have a lot of respect for their team, and so you know the rivalry and it is a big piece of what we do here within the athletic department, but it’s like I wish I didn’t like their coach and staff as much,” said head coach Clancy Shields. “I have respect for them and they have done a good job, but this was also one of the years where we were expected to win and that is sometimes harder to do in a rivalry game.”

Shields was impressed by the teams performance against the Sun Devils. 

“We took their best punch, settled in and kind of handled them from start to finish,” Shields said. “I was proud of that. It was a really professional performance.”

Senior Jared Horwood talked about the rivalry and what it means to him.

“Whenever you play ASU, you are playing for more than yourself,” Horwood said. “You’re playing for your team, playing for your school and you bring a different energy when you play a rivalry school and I thought that we really brought that and it really shows not only last year sweeping them at their place, but taking care of it when they came over here.”

The Wildcats will take a 15-5 overall record and 2-0 conference record into two huge home matches this weekend against No. 13 Stanford and No. 27 University of California Berkeley.

Shields called Stanford one of the top three most talented teams in the country. Arthur Fery will be one to watch for the Cardinal as he currently ranks as the No. 2 singles player in the country, per ITA.

“We are just going to come out here and play the grittiest tennis we possibly can,” Shields said. “Sometimes that gritty style can really give a talented team some fits and maybe not, but we’re going to come out and do that and do our best.”

RELATED: Despite early season success, doubles remains a point of emphasis for the Arizona men’s tennis team

Arizona currently sits in first place in the conference standings and they want it to stay that way as they have never won the conference championship in the regular season or postseason.

“Stanford is the biggest challenge right now and we’re going to need everyone,” Shields said. “We’re going to need our guys to step up, our guys off the court and the thing I loved about ASU is seeing our stands full of people and bringing that energy for our team and we need that.”

The home courts have been nice for not only the men’s team, but the women’s team as well, as the two teams have combined for a 17-2 home record so far this season. 

“It is tough to play here,” said senior Carlos Hassey. “We try to bring as many people as we can, try to get loud and try to use the crowd with us, use the guys on our bench to help us out as well and just try to bring as much energy as possible just to know that this is our house.”

Arizona will host Stanford on Friday at 2:30 p.m. MST and Berkeley on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. MST.


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