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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Men’s, women’s tennis facing SoCal”

Valentina Martinelli/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Valentina Martinelli
Valentina Martinelli/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

After finally securing its first conference win of the season, the No. 35 Arizona men’s tennis team looks to take its momentum into what might be the most difficult weekend of the season.

The Wildcats will take on the No. 3 USC Trojans on Friday and the No. 10 UCLA Bruins on Sunday at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.

With its defeat of the Oregon Ducks on Sunday, Arizona (12-8, 1-3 Pacific 10 Conference) was able to finally get back on the right track just in time to take on the Trojans (18-2, 4-0) and Bruins (12-5, 3-1), who are currently two of the best teams in the nation.

“”We had a few tough losses prior to the Oregon win,”” said head coach Tad Berkowitz. “”I thought the guys did a great job of rallying and coming together and just competing really hard.””

With help from Geoff Embry and Jason Zafiros in singles action last weekend, the Wildcats’ newfound confidence will be a key part of securing the victory.

Both USC and UCLA will come fighting into this weekend with their heavy stacked arsenal of singles players.

Trojan sophomore Steven Johnson is currently ranked No. 1 in the country for singles and is one of nine singles players ranked in the top 120.

The fury of Los Dos Andres, the doubles team comprised of Andres Carrasco and Andres Arango, will be able to give Arizona some added momentum this weekend based on its win over Washington’s No. 65 team of Tobi Obenaus and Alex Rosinski last weekend.

“”(Carrasco and Arango are) our emotional leaders,”” Berkowitz said. “”It seems like in all of the good wins that we have had this year, they are the guys that really stepped up for us. Those guys should have a lot of confidence because they have been playing well.””

Berkowitz also commented that Ravid Hazi is a strong factor for the Wildcats with his high energy levels on both the singles and doubles courts.

“”We look to those guys as the on-court leaders of the team,”” Berkowitz said. “”They do a good job setting the tone with the high energy level and the emotion that they play with.””

Although USC and UCLA are top programs, the Wildcats remain confident heading into the weekend.

“”We’re playing two of the best programs in the country with USC and UCLA, but we welcome the challenge, and we feel that we can put it together,”” Berkowitz said.

“”When all our guys can play at one particular time, then at home, we can beat anybody.””

Women poised to keep momentum after a successful weekend

With solid wins in both matches over the weekend, the No. 56 Arizona women’s tennis team returns to Southern California again this weekend when it takes on the No. 8 UCLA Bruins and No. 17 USC Trojans.

“”UCLA and USC are top-notch programs,”” head coach Vicky Maes said. “”They have certainly been successful against us in the past several years, but we also have come close to beating them on different occasions. We need to remind ourselves that, any given day, they may be vulnerable enough for us to get the upper hand.””

With improved play in both singles and doubles action over the weekend, the Wildcats (12-6, 1-4 Pac-10) look to lengthen their win column with their games against the Bruins (16-3, 3-1) and the Trojans (11-7, 3-1).

Returning to conference play is never trivial, even if you are coming off a successful weekend, but the Wildcats hope to gain an edge with momentum, considering both USC and UCLA were saddled with tough losses over the past weekend.

“”We played smart last weekend, and that should help with confidence,”” Maes said. “”However, I know this is a different stage, and our girls will be going into it feeling differently too. The bottom line is that we need to keep our heads together, play solid and not try to go for too much.””

No. 105 Natasha Marks and No. 84 Sarah Landsman in the one and two spots, respectively, will lead Arizona’s charge.

In Arizona’s pair of convincing wins against California State University, Northridge and Loyola Marymount last weekend, Marks and Landsman remained undefeated. Their presence and poise in both singles and doubles action will need to continue this weekend if Arizona wants to come out on top.

“”As coaches, we know this team is capable of pulling an upset,”” Maes said. “”It will be tough in their house, but we can do it if we stick together.””

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