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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Match against ASU could land men’s tennis in playoffs

    Playing against a rival always increases the energy put forth by the players. After playing a packed season of 21 matches, the men’s tennis team will not let fatigue slow it down – this weekend in particular.

    “”It always helps energize you by playing your rival,”” said Arizona assistant coach Cory Hubbard. “”It adds fire and a little more emotion to the match.””

    No. 45 Arizona (11-9, 2-4 Pacific 10 Conference) will travel to Tempe for the last regular-season match to face No. 49 ASU (8-13, 2-4) tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

    Not only does the rivalry make it a big match, but a victory almost guarantees the team a place in the NCAA Tournament, Hubbard said.

    “”This is the biggest match of the year,”” he said. “”By looking at the rankings – and we beat them twice – we will stay ranked where we are and get in.””

    Senior captain Roger Matalonga will be playing his last regular-season match for the Wildcats but hopes a win will push them into the post-season.

    “”It adds motivation after playing lots of matches,”” Matalonga said.

    It will be the last time that the seniors will compete against their rivals in regular-season action. Senior Daniel Andrus is still day-to-day, but Matalonga and Jeff Groslimond are ready to compete in their final matchup.

    “”I’m excited and it’s a little bit of relief,”” Groslimond said. “”It’s been a long four years, but it’s exciting with the Pac-10 (Championships) coming up.””

    Even though Groslimond is new to Arizona after transferring from Florida State in the beginning of the spring semester, he still feels part of the rivalry.

    “”I do feel little bit of a part of it from the guys and hearing stories,”” he said.

    The Wildcats almost swept the Sun Devils earlier this season in a 6-1 victory March 25 at Robson Tennis Center.

    “”We played really well when we played here,”” Hubbard said. “”Playing on the road, the conditions are a lot tougher and they will probably have a big crowd, but I think if we take care of what we need to take care of, we will come away with a victory.””

    Sophomore Claudio Christen said he is ready for the competition.

    “”We’re pretty confident,”” he said.

    In doubles, the pair of Groslimond and Christen are ranked for the first time this season at No. 55.

    “”We’re feeling great,”” Christen said. “”We’re doing a great job together.””

    Women’s tennis seniors to compete in final home match

    Seniors Stephanie Balzert and Iza Ferreira will play their final regular-season matches at home tomorrow when the No. 35 Arizona women’s tennis team takes on No. 25 ASU at 1 p.m. at Robson Tennis Center.

    The teams have already met March 25 in Tempe, when Arizona (12-10, 3-4 Pacific 10 Conference) suffered a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Sun Devils (12-8, 3-4). The Wildcats are hoping that their home court advantage will change things this time around.

    “”I’m definitely looking forward to it,”” Balzert said. “”It’s sad it’s already the last match.””

    Balzert is in her second year as a Wildcat after transferring from Baylor before her junior season. It was a decision that has been for the better, she said.

    “”It’s definitely better than Baylor,”” Balzert said. “”I get along with my teammates and coaches.””

    The other women are hoping to pull an upset for their departing teammates this weekend.

    “”She wants to win this one for me,”” Balzert said of sophomore No. 68 singles player Juliette Mavroleon, her partner in doubles. “”She’s pumped for doubles.””

    The other women are also hoping to gain an upset for their departing teammates this weekend.

    “”We have a will to win for the seniors,”” junior Kasia Jakowlew said.

    As in previous years, Jakowlew said that there will probably be speeches given for the seniors to honor them for all they have done for the program.

    “”With it being the last match, we are hoping for a bigger crowd,”” she said. “”There are tough conditions at ASU with their mean comments, but that will be on our side this weekend.””

    The team enters the matchup after losing the last two matches against No. 1 Stanford and No. 11 California. A win this weekend would also help the women who will be competing in the Pac-10 Championships.

    “”We forget about how hard the season’s been and that we have played 22 matches,”” Jakowlew said. “”It gives us extra energy.””

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