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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tennis weekend preview: Confidence builds for women after win

    For the first time in four weeks, the No. 30 Arizona women’s tennis players will be able to compete after sleeping in their own beds the night before the match and play in front of a crowd that will be cheering them on instead of their opponents.

    “”It’s nice not to travel,”” said Arizona assistant coach Brian Ramirez. “”It’s great to be home in a familiar environment.””

    The Wildcats (12-8, 3-2 Pacific 10 Conference) will host two California schools this weekend at the Robson Tennis Center. Today at 1:30 p.m., No. 1 Stanford (19-0, 7-0) will visit in hopes of ruining the return of Arizona, while the competition will ease up on Saturday at noon, but not by a large margin, against No. 11 California (13-6, 4-1).

    Freshman captain Danielle Steinberg said returning home for the first time since losing to then-No. 63 Pennsylvania on March 8 will allow for more rest and preparation.

    The team enters the weekend after sweeping both Washington schools last weekend.

    “”It was the first time we beat Washington since 2000, and it just shows the girls they are on track and doing things right,”” Ramirez said.

    During that trip, there was a switch with players in the No. 1 and 2 positions, as Steinberg moved into the top spot and senior Stephanie Balzert moved down to No. 2.

    This occurred because constantly competing in the No. 1 slot can be tiring and the coaches wanted to give Balzert a break. Also, Steinberg has been playing well and the coaches thought she could play successfully in the No. 1 slot, Ramirez said.

    “”We move people around for various reasons,”” he said. “”It didn’t have to deal with anyone playing bad.””

    Steinberg said she didn’t feel any pressure in that position.

    “”I don’t see a big difference between (No.) 1 and (No.) 2,”” Steinberg said. “”A point is a point whether it’s at (No.) 1 or (No.) 6.””

    When the Wildcats met the Cardinal on the road on March 4, Stanford took the win in a shutout of the Wildcats. With the visiting Cardinal loaded with seven ranked players, it won’t be easy coming home.

    “”You go out and do your best,”” said Ramirez, a volunteer assistant coach for the Cardinal for two years before joining the Arizona staff. “”You can see where you stack up with Stanford.””

    However, the Wildcats put one point on the board when they played the Golden Bears in Berkeley, Calif., March 3., coming from sophomore Juliette Mavroleon in singles play.

    “”Cal is a competitive match,”” Ramirez said. “”The girls are feeling very good about Cal.””

    Men face tough competition in Northern California

    After splitting eight consecutive home matches, the No. 46 Arizona men’s tennis team hits the road this weekend for a couple of matches in the Bay Area.

    “”It’s tough to go on the road,”” Arizona assistant coach Cory Hubbard said. “”It’s our third trip of the year, and we are used to playing at home.””

    The Wildcats (11-7, 2-2 Pacific 10 Conference) will take on No. 15 Stanford (12-3, 3-1) at 1:30 p.m. today before competing at No. 24 California (12-5, 5-3) tomorrow afternoon at 1 in their second-to-last road trip for the regular season.

    Arizona enters the matches after sweeping Oregon and falling to No. 20 Washington last weekend.

    Even though Arizona didn’t get the win against the Huskies, easily defeating Oregon aided the Wildcats’ confidence, Hubbard said.

    “”We really wanted to win both, especially because the match against Washington was for second place in the Pac-10,”” Hubbard said. “”We are pretty disappointed.””

    The Cardinal enter the weekend coming off a split, as Stanford lost to No. 7 UCLA before beating No. 50 Southern California on the road.

    Previously in the season, Arizona lost to Stanford 5-1 at home, with the lone point coming from sophomore Bruno Alcala.

    In a previous meeting of the teams, Cal beat the Wildcats 5-2.

    During that match, Arizona swept the Golden Bears in doubles to gain the early advantage. However, the team wasn’t as successful in singles matches, and senior Jeff Groslimond was the only player to put a point on the board.

    Against both teams, Arizona held on close and the points were decided at the end of the matches, Hubbard said. Since the team stayed so close in its last meetings, it helps the players’ confidence coming into this weekend.

    “”We’ve seen the players and know how they play,”” Hubbard said. “”We think we can beat both teams, and going 2-0 on the road is always a goal.””

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