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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona women’s tennis hosts Washington, Washington State

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Nick Smallwood
Arizona women’s tennis athletes junior Lauren Marker and senior Shayne Austin exchange words of luck before a match against San Diego in Tucson on Friday, Feb. 12. Austin, Marker and Samantha Czarniak make up a trio that has dominated opponents this spring season.

As Pac-12 Conference play starts up again, the Arizona women’s tennis team will go into the second half of its conference schedule still looking for its first league win of the season.

This week, the team will face both Washington and Washington State, who are ranked No. 61 and No. 62, respectively. Both teams also have an under .500 record in conference play.

Despite the Washington schools’ less-than-impressive records, each teams is stacked top to bottom with talent that could over power the Wildcats, despite Arizona’s strong results last weekend.

The Washington State Cougars will bring with them Friday a roster made up of only foreign players: Something the Wildcats have seen before and have had mixed results with.

Leading the all-foreign squad for the Cougars is Swedish sophomore Donika Bashota, who last week broke the school record for singles wins in a season with 34. Bashota also broke the freshman wins’ record with 31 wins last year.

Bashota’s record speaks for itself. She will cause problems for Arizona in both doubles and singles play. While a loss in doubles this match might not be the biggest surprise, don’t just expect the Wildcats to roll over in doubles like they have been most of the season.

Last weekend it was clear the Wildcats had improved in doubles play, even though they loss the doubles point to UAB Thursday. The overall team’s doubles play was much better then it was when the team started Pac-12 play.

In a press release, head coach Vicky Maes expanded on the results from last weekend and how it will help the upcoming matches.

“We know that every time we play conference matches, it’s going to be very tough,” Maes said. “I think that the win today, as well as the way we played both doubles and singles, was very much what we needed to see in order to have confidence going back into conference play.” 

The Wildcats will have to switch gears Saturday and play the Huskies of Washington in a match that, on paper, looks like it could go either way. 

Washington has one area that it is better in than almost anyone in the Pac-12. As luck would have it, that area is doubles. That’s not good for Arizona.

The Wildcats have improved in doubles play, but the Huskies have two doubles pairings ranked in the top 40 of the ITA. Coming at No. 28, the highest-ranked duo features junior Nour Abbes and sophomore Miki Kobayashi. Their record is 6-2. 

Kobayashi is also on the other doubles pair that’s ranked No. 38 with a 4-1 record, paired with freshman Tami Grende.

This weekend appears to be the team’s best chance of winning its first conference game and on Friday, against the Cougars, that could happen. But that may be as good as the weekend will get for a team at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings.


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