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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Men’s tennis crushes NAU, Nevada”

    For the Arizona men’s tennis team, this past weekend did not have the most auspicious start. Its home opener against NAU – slated for Friday – was rained out and postponed to Saturday, when the Wildcats were forced to compete for court space with the women’s team, which faced UC-Davis that day.

    However, Arizona rolled with the punches and boasts a 2-0 record going into next weekend’s away match against Florida, a team ranked in the top 10 nationwide.

    “”I think we looked good, a good start as a team,”” said sophomore Jay Goldman. “”Everybody got off to a good start in doubles. We all looked pretty sharp, I thought. When the singles came around, we all fought hard.””

    Goldman did not compete Saturday in the match against NAU, but played in the No. 1 position Sunday against Nevada. In the singles match, he beat Nevada’s Laurent Garcin 6-3, 6-4.

    Overall, the Wildcats defeated NAU 5-1 and Nevada 6-1 and head coach Tad Berkowitz described the weekend as a success.

    “”Going into the matches, I thought we were better than the two teams we were playing, but to go out there and win in dominant fashion was nice to see,”” Berkowitz said.

    Both Berkowitz and Goldman extolled Andres Arango, who played in the No. 1 spot on Saturday and No. 2 spot on Sunday, as one of the standout players of the weekend.

    Senior Ravid Hazi, who rolled his ankle in his singles loss to Nevada’s Wessim Deibel but emerged from his doubles match victorious, also weighed in on the increasing difficulty of the team’s ensuing matches.

    “”I think this year, which is different from last year, I think we all believe,”” he said.

    And the Wildcats will have to be believers next week when they take on Florida. Goldman said the team won’t be intimidated by the Gators, despite their No. 10 ranking.

    “”We’re going to battle them, and if we could just hang tough and put matches together all at once, we could sneak out a win,”” Berkowitz said.

    He also stressed the importance of the mental game, saying his players have an aura about them that they won’t back down to anybody, no matter how highly ranked they are.

    “”I think our guys this year we have a confidence knowing that no matter who we play this year, have a belief that we can win,”” Berkowitz said. “”Does that mean we’re going to win every match? No, but I think going in to each match they have the belief that they could come away with the victory regardless of who we play.””

    Women cruise past UC-Davis

    The Arizona women’s tennis team ushered in the 2009 spring season with a resounding victory over UC-Davis on Saturday at the LaNelle Robson Center.

    Adding to the general hectic state of a first match were the time constraints placed upon the players. The UA men’s team’s match against NAU on Friday was postponed because of rain, leading to shared court space and upping the pressure.

    Arizona head coach Vicky Maes was especially pleased with her team’s poise in spite of the circumstances, including the staying power the women exhibited throughout the day.

    “”After the first set’s relatively easy, it’s easy to let up in the second set, start relaxing,”” she said. “”I was really impressed with the fact that the girls didn’t do that, that they stayed fierce.””

    Arizona defeated UC-Davis handily in the singles matches, with senior Danielle Steinberg in the No. 1 position overtaking the Mustangs’ Randi Schuler 6-1, 6-0. Freshmen Natasha Marks and Sarah Landsman also routed their opponents in the singles matches, Marks trumping Herzyl Legaspi 6-1, 6-0 and Landsman over Dahra Zamudio 6-0, 6-0.

    The players were also met with success in the doubles matches, although partners Claire Rietsch and Marsh fell short in a close 6-5 match against UC-Davis’ Schuler and Desiree Stone.

    “”I think we all feel pretty good about (Saturday’s) match,”” Steinberg said. “”Maybe we were the favorite going in, but just the way everyone performed, everyone is really excited about it.””

    Steinberg lauded the team’s freshmen for their performances – both in the doubles and singles matches – saying she was particularly impressed with her doubles partner Landsman.

    “”She told me she was nervous, but she came out there and acted like a mature player. … She was very composed,”” Steinberg said of her freshman teammate. “”After doubles, she came out 6-0, 6-0, and that’s not easy to do no matter who you play.””

    Maes was also pleased with her younger players, admitting there is always uncertainty going into the first match.

    “”It’s so fun to watch these kids compete,”” Maes said. “”They love to compete, and they embrace that pressure and are able to play a full, focused, tough match, and that was my concern for the freshmen. As it turned out, I didn’t need to be concerned.””

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