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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona women’s tennis looks to end losing skid

Nick Smallwood
Arizona women’s tennis athlete Shayne Austin serves the ball during a doubles match against the University of San Diego on Feb 12 in Tucson. Women’s tennis will face UAB March 24 at 1 p.m.

Arizona women’s tennis has reached rock bottom this season. The Wildcats are winless at 0-5 in Pac-12 Conference play after losing all three road matches to Utah, Colorado and Oregon last week.

Fortunately for the team, there is a small break in conference play in which the Wildcats will play University of Alabama at Birmingham and Sacramento State this weekend, with the possibility to regain the strong form the team had before this losing streak.

A strong outing is important for the Wildcats — after the break the team jumps right back into Pac-12 play, where it will face a ranked team in each of the remaining five conference matches.

Once again, the area that has held back Arizona is its doubles play, which may be the worst possible flaw a team can have at this level of tennis.

Getting out to an early lead gives a team momentum going into singles play— momentum that has been massively lacking for the Wildcats.

Head coach Vicky Maes has said since day one that doubles play is the Wildcats’ biggest Achilles heel — one that has caused a trickle down effect leading to the sloppy singles play from the team, despite singles play usually being a strength for Arizona.

In a press release, Maes remarked on both the disappointing match results and the horrible doubles play.

“This was a very bad day for us,” Maes said. “We started this match flat in the doubles and we were never able to truly gain any momentum after that. I’m very disappointed with our team effort.”

Changes must be made if the team is to avoid yet another conference loss that would give it a losing record in Pac-12 play for the season.

Whether it’s to change up the players that compete in singles or mixing up the doubles pairs, something needs to change. The two home matches this week could be the perfect way to test out new changes.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham comes to town on Thursday and the 7-10 Blazers have only one player in their roster with a winning record in singles this season: senior Amy Lowther, who brings a 9-7 record to the table.

While the record isn’t the most stellar, she is without question UAB’s best singles player. The Blazers also are a lackluster doubles team, which could prove a nice break for the Wildcats knowing their opponent’s weakness is similar to their own.

The good news continues for the Wildcats, as UAB has a road record of 1-5 for the season. The Wildcats are undefeated on their home turf in non-conference matches this season, going 7-0.

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