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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcat tennis preps for UCLA and USC

Nick Smallwood

Arizona athlete Naoki Takeda prepares for his first match against NAU in Tucson on Feb. 13, 2016.The UA men’s team won with a team score of 5-2.

The Arizona men’s tennis team will face some great competition this weekend against No. 4 UCLA and No. 8 USC.

Arizona will play at home this weekend and take on the two Los Angeles universities. There is no doubt these Southern California schools are going to be great competition for the Wildcats, but they are ready for the challenge.

“We’re competing against two of the best programs in college tennis,” Arizona head coach Tad Berkowitz said. “We look forward to the challenge and opportunity.”

Arizona has had a tough streak of matches and these two games will be some of Arizona’s final home games. The main goal going into the weekend is to capitalize on opportunities and close in on opponents.

Senior Naoki Takeda leads the Wildcats with a 9-4 record and junior Will Kneale has moved up to the No. 2 player position with a record of 12-5.

“Our goal this weekend is to improve on closing out opportunities that we give ourselves throughout a match,” said Arizona assistant coach Arron Spencer. “That is something that, no matter who we are playing we, need to do a better job of.”

Playing against top-ranked teams like UCLA and USC will be good matches to test the Wildcats’ tenacity on their home turf. These last three home games are also good preparation for the Pac-12 Conference tournament.

These games are great tests and Spencer is taking it one match at a time.

“It is great to have teams of this caliber at home, but the conference tournament is something that we will prepare for and think about when the regular season is wrapped up,” Spencer said.

Arizona will have one more regular season play against Utah on April 17 in Tucson. The Wildcats’ goal is to finish this regular season play capitalizing on opponents and being more aggressive toward the end of the matches.

The Wildcat’s play UCLA on Friday at 1:30 p.m. and USC on Sunday at 12 p.m.

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