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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Why the forfeits?

Going into its match against the Washington Huskies on March 27, the Arizona women’s tennis team had a 15-3 record and a No. 31 overall ranking. From that game on, things have gone downhill.

Following a closely contested 4-3 loss to the Huskies, the Wildcats went on to get shut out by California 7-0. While the women will probably never admit to being fatigued or overworked, it’s possible that they were, considering the team violated NCAA legislation that restricts the amount of time collegiate athletes can participate in their sport.

According to NCAA Bylaw 17.1.6.1, “”a student athlete’s participation in countable athletically related activities shall be limited to a maximum of four hours per day and 20 hours per week.””

A countable activity is defined in bylaw 17.02.1 as “”any required activity with an athletics purpose involving student-athletes and at the direction of, or supervised by one or more of an institution’s coaching staff (including strength and conditioning coaches).””

As a result of these restrictions, the team was forced to forfeit three games, the first one being an April 2 match at Stanford. The team proceeded to announce its intentions to forfeit two more Pacific 10 Conference matches against Southern California and in-state rival ASU.

“”Because some of our student-athletes completed their maximum participation limits, we were not able to field a team,”” said head coach Vicky Maes. “”It meant we only had three players with paticipation left. As a result, the matches could not have been won, and it made no sense to play the last events.””

The lack of players available to participate led to an unfortunate 7-0 sweep at the hands of UCLA, in what would wind up being the Wildcats’ final home match of the season. In the match against the No. 8 ranked Bruins, the Wildcats were only able to field enough players for two doubles matches and five singles, as opposed to the standard three doubles and six singles. Sarah Landsman, Susan Mc Rann and Jane Huh, who all typically participate in every match, were held out of the match, and as a result the team struggled. Junior Deborah Castany and sophomore Elizabeth Hammond filled in for the missing players.  

In the last six matches, the team has now lost three games and forfeited three games. That certainly is not the way a team wants to enter the Pacific 10 Championships or the NCAA Tournament, but Maes is not too concerned. If anything, she considers all this extra rest a blessing in disguise.

“”I feel our team will benefit from this break,”” Maes said. “”Don’t get me wrong. We would rather be playing, but we need to move forward, and the very positive effect this will have on our group is that they will be rested and they will be hungry.””

Since the Pac-10 tournament is an individual event and there is no team scoring, the tournament will be used as preparation of sorts for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. According to Maes, if the Wildcats, ranked at No. 29 currently, maintain that ranking into the NCAA tournament, they will still be in pretty good shape.

“”(The Pac-10 tournament) is a good opportunity for our girls to get some really strong individual matches in preparation for the postseason,”” Maes said. “”We have a good chance to make it through the first round. In the second round, we would play a school ranked in the top 16, so it’s hard to predict, but surely our group is capable of beating a big team.””

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