The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

86° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tennis season recaps and playoff previews

    Junior Kasia Jakowlew has her eyes on a backhand return during a straight-set loss to Michelle Mitchell of Penn March 8. Jakowlew lost in the first round of the invitational draw at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships to Jessica Shu of California, and the Wildcats now await a possible entrance into the NCAA Championships.
    Junior Kasia Jakowlew has her eyes on a backhand return during a straight-set loss to Michelle Mitchell of Penn March 8. Jakowlew lost in the first round of the invitational draw at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships to Jessica Shu of California, and the Wildcats now await a possible entrance into the NCAA Championships.

    Men’s season full of accomplishments

    This season was not only full of new accomplishments but also new faces for the No. 43 men’s tennis team. With the previous head coach as well as some key players gone, some huge spaces had to be filled for the incoming coaches and players.

    “”We had new coaches and a young team,”” senior Roger Matalonga said. “”But we came together, and that’s very important.””

    Becoming a head coach can be difficult, but that wasn’t the case for Tad Berkowitz, who was the assistant coach last year.

    “”The guys made the transition easy,”” he said. “”Especially with Roger being the captain.””

    A new face in the coaching lineup was assistant coach Cory Hubbard, who came to Arizona after spending three years at Texas Christian University.

    “”I get less sleep,”” Berkowitz said jokingly about the differences between assistant and head coach. “”It’s great, I love being head coach. The little things bug me at 2 a.m.””

    The guys were able to adapt to the new coaches well, Berkowitz said.

    “”They worked extremely hard and got in good shape,”” he said. “”Cory’s really competitive, and that helped.

    The team started off the year ranked No. 55 and ended up at No. 43 heading into the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament, earning a final record of 12-9, 3-4 Pac-10.

    “”I’m most proud that we showed up at every match to play,”” Berkowitz said. “”We didn’t have any bad losses. … The rankings show we did a good job.””

    Matalonga, currently ranked No. 57, was the

    We had new coaches and a young team. But we came together, and that’s very important.

    – Roger Matalonga,
    senior tennis player

    player to take over the permanent No. 1 slot after alternating between the No. 1 and No. 2 slots last season. He delivered in his role and was named Pac-10 Player of the Week twice. After senior Daniel Andrus suffered an injury in the first match of the season against Montana State Jan. 27 that prevented him from competing in many matches, senior transfer Jeff Groslimond took over in the No. 2 slot. Groslimond also found success in his senior season after transferring from Florida State in the beginning of the spring semester.

    After upsetting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s No. 51 Andrey Kumantsov Feb. 19, a player he had previously lost to while at FSU, Groslimond was named Pac-10 Player of the Week.

    The team also beat Southern California for the second time in school history.

    “”A bunch of the goals so far have been met,”” redshirt freshman Peter Zimmer said.

    Not only has the men’s tennis team filled these empty spaces, such as the one left by departed senior Colin O’Grady, who was second on the team in wins last season for the Wildcats, but this season’s team accomplished almost all of its goals set in the beginning of the year.

    One of the team’s goals was to beat a team in the big three, which is comprised of USC, UCLA and Stanford, Berkowitz said.

    “”USC’s a great program,”” Berkowitz said. “”It was good for the team.””

    The Wildcats accomplished another goal that came at the expense of ASU. The team entered the season wanting to sweep the Sun Devils, and they did just that.

    “”It’s always good to beat a rival,”” Berkowitz said. “”Home and away.””

    One of the biggest objectives every season for the Wildcat tennis team is to make the NCAA Tournament. They will have to wait until the results are announced on ESPNews at 5:30 tomorrow evening.

    The team did fall short on reaching one of its other goals, however; having a winning record in the Pac-10. The team was close though, barely missing it at a 3-4 conference mark.

    “”No one from below snuck up and beat us,”” Berkowitz said. “”I want the program to do well and accomplish new goals and reach new levels.””

    Women prep for NCAA Regionals

    Beginning the season 9-0 put the No. 38 women’s tennis team in the record books for the best start of a season in school history. Although winning was tough in what is arguably the nation’s best conference, the Pacific 10, the Wildcats finished with a record above .500 overall and more importantly saw the emergence of a freshman.

    “”It gave us confidence to play Pac-10 schools,”” sophomore Juliette Mavroleon said of the team’s fast start. “”It was definitely awesome going in with momentum.””

    Throughout the year, Arizona found itself on a roller coaster in the rankings.

    The team started strong, ranked at No. 59, but its highest point came when the Wildcats were ranked at No. 25.

    This occurred after the team ended a four-

    Handling myself as an athlete in competition and the struggle with dealing with losses and issues outside the court … I learned that putting them aside helps.

    – Juliette Mavroleon,
    sophomore tennis player

    game losing streak against then-No. 22 Oregon (now ranked No. 47). The Wildcats never fell further than their beginning ranking though, and the closest they got to their initial ranking was No. 48.

    At the end of the regular season entering the Pac-10 Tournament, the team found itself resting at No. 36 with a record of 12-11, 3-5 Pac-10.

    Junior Kasia Jakowlew and freshman Danielle Steinberg led the Wildcats as the team’s captains this season.

    In her first season at Arizona and in the U.S., Steinberg made a huge impression on her team. By the end of the regular season, she was individually ranked No. 38 and held the team’s best record of 11-4.

    Mavroleon was another player who jumped into the individual rankings. Her season highlight was not a specific win but “”being able to see when I was calm and finding ways to beat girls,”” Mavroleon said.

    “”With four consecutive losses, I learned from it, and as a sophomore I learned a lot,”” she said.

    Not only did she learn a lot; Mavroleon showed her new school what kind of talent she has. A transfer from Miami, she proved she deserved to be competing in the No. 3 slot in singles.

    Heading into the weekend match against the Washington schools, she led the team in singles with a record of 13-4, with wins coming against players with a higher ranking. Her best ranking was at No. 61.

    “”Handling myself as an athlete in competition and the struggle with dealing with losses and issues outside the court”” were a few things Mavroleon said she has changed this season. “”I learned that putting them aside helps.””

    Senior Stephanie Balzert also found herself in the rankings, at No. 92. Balzert was playing in the No. 1 slot for most of the season until the last few matches. Toward the end of the season, Balzert switched with Steinberg in the No. 1 and 2 positions.

    As a team, the Wildcats accomplished many of their preseason goals. One main goal was to stay ranked 60th or better, Mavroleon said. The team was able not only to complete that goal but also stay ranked close to the top 25.

    Mavroleon credited much of the Wildcats’ success to the group’s cohesiveness and ability to work together as a team.

    “”It’s crucial to success,”” Mavroleon said. “”We’re pretty together and close and supporting, and if we continue to do that we can continue to move forward in the rankings.””

    The final step of the season will be determined tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. when ESPNews announces who will be invited to the NCAA Regionals.

    “”We’re looking forward to Regionals,”” Mavroleon said. “”We’re excited, and we’re going to prepare and train hard.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search