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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Men’s tennis gears up for Pac-10s

With the 2010 regular season chapter already scribed, the No. 28 Arizona men’s tennis team completes its conference narrative this weekend at the Pacific 10 Championships at the 110th Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament in Ojai, Calif.

The conference championships will pit the Wildcats against some of the best players in the nation. Arizona’s (13-10, 2-4 Pacific 10 Conference) conference confidence had never been higher after its historical win over the No. 10 UCLA Bruins on April 11.

But after the Wildcats’ loss to the No. 48 Boise State Broncos last weekend to close out the regular season, Arizona is determined to seek redemption this week, where tournament play is on an individual level.

“”It’s an individual tournament, but really the guys are fine,”” said Arizona head coach Tad Berkowitz. “”We’ve reflected on our season as a whole the past two days as opposed to just the loss against Boise State.

“”We’re happy how the season turned out, and happy where we’re at now,”” Berkowitz added. “”The guys are upbeat and are excited about the postseason, and we’re a team that, if we can put it all together on the same day, then we can beat a lot of good teams.””

As the season commenced, the Wildcats were right on par, but as conference prowess continues to grow each year, Arizona needed to follow suit.

And with their win over UCLA, the Wildcats did.

Despite their 2-4 conference record, the tumultuous weight of UCLA tennis has finally been lifted.

“”(Beating UCLA) definitely gives us confidence and that added edge, knowing that we do have the ability to beat top-10 teams,”” Berkowitz said. “”But we need to make sure that we’re ready, no matter who we play, because a team ranked a little bit lower can get us if were not playing collectively as a group.””

In tournament singles action this weekend, the Wildcats will call upon anchors Andres Carrasco and Jay Goldman, two standouts Arizona needs for momentum.

In last season’s tournament, Carrasco made it all the way to the quarterfinals until finally succumbing to Stanford’s Alex Clayton, and although Goldman was defeated in the second round by UCLA’s Matt Brooklyn, his revenge was fulfilled when Goldman took home the honors in his defeat of the No. 60 Brooklyn this season.

Goldman, Carrasco and the rest of the Arizona team will have to be gunning for four days straight if they hope to be conference champions in a league containing 14 players ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Top 125.

“”We definitely have experience going for us, and that’s key,”” Berkowitz said. “”I think the guys know what the Pac-10 Championship is about. They’re going into it knowing that, individually, the guys in the conference are really strong, and collectively as a group can do well. We look to build on that and hopefully try and improve on that for this weekend.””

Natasha Marks and the Arizona women need confidence in Ojai

With only one conference win this season, the No. 50 Arizona women’s tennis team is looking a little worse for the wear as they join their male counterparts in the Pacific 10 Conference Championships beginning today in Ojai, Calif.

Regardless of their regular season results, the Wildcats (13-8, 1-7 Pacific 10 Conference) will be poised to elevate their game in the tournament setting.

In Southern California this season, the Wildcats had some success against lesser teams.

“”We are happy to be in California again,”” said Arizona sophomore Natasha Marks. “”We’re looking forward to competing in one of our last matches together as a team.””

Although the Pac-10 Championships are individual in terms of scoring, Arizona is looking to use their team unity as a support to each Wildcat match-up.

In last year’s tournament, Marks fought her way to the singles final before being stopped by USC’s Amanda Fink. Her success last year is proving to be the driving factor in her preparation for this year.

“”I’m really looking forward to competing in the tournament,”” Marks said. “”It’s a great place, and I did really well last year so I am excited to play. I’m going to try and have fun, and see if I can go a step further than last year.””

Marks’ desire to increase her court mobility and short game should be prevalent this weekend.

“”I have tried to get to the net more and take more risks,”” Marks said. “”(I just want) to play a bit more unpredictable.””

Along with Marks, seniors Claire Rietsch and Natalia Toporowska — who had Arizona’s only wins against ASU last weekend — will be looking to bid Ojai and the Pac-10 tournament a fond farewell with wins of their own.

“”Ojai is a great tournament that allows for our players to get some good individual wins,”” said Arizona head coach Vicky Maes. “”It is separate from team competition so players tend to go into it relaxed and without fear. We have done well at Ojai in the past, and I feel our girls are playing well going into this last part of the season.””

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