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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    M-tennis’ winning streak snapped at 14 matches

    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

The University of Arizona tennis team plays the Northwestern tennis team.
    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona tennis team plays the Northwestern tennis team.

    The Arizona men’s tennis team began conference play on Friday, and have emerged 1-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference from a weekend that included competing against two different teams in two different locations in a two-day span.

    Throughout Friday’s away match against Oregon, the Wildcats were dominant in every facet of play that they had considered all season long to be the ticket to victory. They secured the doubles point and they swept the singles play. With a final score of 7-0 they trounced a team from the Pac-10, arguably the nation’s most competitive college conference.

    “”It was a nice start,”” said UA head coach Tad Berkowitz. “”It was our first Pac-10 match. To beat them in the fashion that we did, that was nice. … From the beginning, the guys took it to ’em. It was a nice win, especially the first Pac-10 match.””

    Arizona hit the road again to face No. 26 Washington in Seattle on Sunday. They dropped the doubles point to the Huskies to begin the contest, with doubles partners Jay Goldman and Ravid Hazi the only pair to win their doubles match. Arizona was also overwhelmed in singles play, with freshman Jason Zafiros the only one to come up with a win. The final score of the match was 6-1 in favor of the Huskies.

    “”Washington’s a good team,”” Berkowitz said. “”They just beat us. They played well. In the future, could we beat them? Absolutely. The match on Sunday, they played well. They were just too good that day.””

    Berkowitz acknowledged the toll of the road trip on his team, but did not rest the sole responsibility for Sunday’s loss on that factor.

    “”The Washington-Oregon trip is always a tough trip,”” he said. “”Our guys were ready to play, regardless. We don’t really make excuses. We were prepared, ready to go.

    It’s obviously tougher when you play on the road than playing at home. That’s part of college tennis,”” he added. “”Hopefully we get the chance to play them again, because our guys know that that’s a team we could beat.””

    Berkowitz, whose team has consistently secured the doubles point all season, credited Washington’s uncompromising doubles play.

    “”They had a good day. One and two doubles … they were on,”” he said. “”They were attacking, playing really well. … They played doubles the right way. … They just beat us.””

    He also praised Zafiros for coming away with a 2-0 singles record after the first weekend of Pac-10 play.

    “”It was good for him,”” he said. “”Being a freshman, going up against them and winning – Washington had a loud, boisterous crowd, and to come up with that win is going to be great for his confidence.””

    The Wildcats now look ahead to next weekend, which will be fraught with competition. On Friday, they face Stanford and on Saturday they will take on California. Both matches will take place at home at the Robson Tennis Center.

    W-tennis stays hot in upset of Hornets

    It was a great weekend for UA women’s tennis.

    On Friday, the No. 62 Wildcats took on No. 39 Sacramento State in a match that head coach Vicky Maes would call a “”must-win.””

    Now, Arizona (10-5, 1-2 Pac-10) has a tough schedule approaching, including several conference matches.

    However, Arizona played with the urgency that it has sometimes lacked throughout the season in critical matches as it defeated the Hornets 5-2 in dominant fashion. Arizona jumped out to a commanding start, with the respective duos of Danielle Steinberg and Sarah Landsman and Ariane Masschelein and Jane Huh claiming two of the three doubles matches, securing the doubles point to put the Wildcats on top early.

    “”I was very pleased with doubles,”” Steinberg said. “”Sometimes we play good, and then it’s on and off.””

    “”Yesterday was one of our better games because we played solid throughout the match. I’m really glad we got the doubles point,”” she added. “”We were up against a pretty decent doubles team too.””

    In singles, freshmen Natasha Marks and Landsman handled their matches quickly. Marks defeated Maria Meliuk 6-2, 6-4, while Landsman took down Melissa Valenzuela 6-2, 6-0.

    Steinberg fought off exhaustion to finally overpower Katrina Zheltova 7-5, 6-7, 7-5, in what she called a match that she will never forget due to its longevity.

    “”I don’t even know how long I played,”” she said. “”It was one of the longest times I had played this year. … Every rally was really long, like twenty or thirty balls. We were both exhausted at the end.””

    Assistant coach Ryan Stotland considered the fortitude that Steinberg displayed throughout the match a fair indication of her leadership role on the team.

    “”It was a good match. … Dani, even through exhaustion, showed a lot of heart and finished the match,”” Stotland said. “”She showed all the girls that a lot of extra effort can go a long way. It was a big match for her as far as individual rankings is concerned.””

    With the second half of the season underway, and teams jockeying for position at Nationals, Stotland indicated that Friday’s win was particularly critical.

    “”We need to be at a certain spot to get into Nationals. We need to get a couple big wins and that was a start,”” Stotland said. “”We should move up in the rankings.””

    “”We know we need one more big victory and we can be in the tournament which is our goal,”” he added. “”And we know we have a team that can definitely do it.””

    Steinberg was also pleased with the position in which her team has placed themselves after Friday’s successes.

    “”That’s definitely the first time we beat a team ranked above us. … Playing at home really helped,”” she said. “”I feel like we just need one more big win and we can make it to the tournament.

    “”The tough part is we only have really hard teams left,”” Steinberg said. “”… We definitely need to step up our game the next few weeks and get one more big win.””

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