Women’s tennis upsets No. 3 Cal, men’s tennis swept

Brandon James

It was a difficult and competitive weekend for the Arizona men’s and women’s tennis teams, as they both faced the challenge of having to play powerhouses California and Stanford in the same weekend.

The men made the trip to Berkeley and Palo Alto, Calif., to face the Golden Bears and the Cardinal, while the women hosted both teams at home at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.

The women began their match on Friday against No. 3 Cal with a lot of momentum, taking two out of the three doubles matches to get the important doubles point before going into singles play. The Wildcats played Cal competitively in the singles competition, but the Golden Bears ultimately came out on top in all six of the singles matches and won the match 6-1.

Arizona lost 6-1 to No. 13 Stanford on Saturday. The Wildcats almost won the doubles point with another win by their No. 1 team Briar Preston and Shayne Austin, but Laura Oldham and Devin Chypyha lost in a well-fought battle to Krista Hardebeck and Lindsey Kostas, 8-6. Inge Hendrikx won the lone match for the ’Cats at the No. 6 singles position, defeating Kostas in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.

When asked about how she felt her team played against two powerhouse programs, Arizona coach Vicky Maes said she liked the way her team played against Cal but felt her team came out flat against Stanford.

“The [Stanford] match was a bit of a letdown,” Maes said. “We need more of a battle in singles. We rolled over in many situations.”

Maes said it is important that her players convert on more opportunities moving forward, because opportunities are scarce against dominant teams, and it is essential to take advantage of them when they do come. The most impressive performance of the weekend came from the Wildcats No. 1 doubles tandem of Preston and Austin. They won their doubles matches both against Cal and Stanford, taking down two teams that are ranked in the top five in the nation. Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr of Cal were the fifth-ranked doubles team in the country, and Taylor Davidson and Carol Zhao of Stanford were ranked No. 2.

Preston and Austin said they believe they will have more confidence going into future matches and said they feel they can make the NCAAs as a doubles team. They went into both of the matches as aggressors, making sure they attacked their opponents before their opponents had an opportunity to attack them. They were happy that they were given the chance to finally prove the high level of tennis they can compete and win at, and they have shown they are capable of beating anybody.

The weekend became even more of an uphill battle for the men when they received the surprising news that their No. 1 player, Naoki Takeda, would be unable to play due to arm and elbow issues. The ’Cats were unable to win any matches, falling 4-0 to Cal on Friday and 7-0 to Stanford on Saturday.

“Whenever you lose your No. 1 guys, it’s a challenge,” Arizona coach Tad Berkowitz said. 

Everyone had to move up a spot with Takeda missing the weekend. Berkowitz said he thought his team fought hard and that it was a great experience for his team to play two great schools but said he felt his team pressed a little too much and committed too many unforced errors.   “No matter who we step on the court with, the guys need to trust their game,” Berkowitz said.

The men will head to Los Angeles this weekend, where they will face off against UCLA and USC. The women will be hosting USC and UCLA this weekend at home.

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