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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Women’s tennis seeks to get back on track

    Colin Darland / Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Colin Darland
    Colin Darland / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    As the Arizona women’s tennis team heads to Eugene, Ore., to take on the Ducks, it is clear that they intend to shake the doldrums of last weekend’s losses to San Diego State and San Diego.

    “”They just need to be tougher,”” said UA head coach Vicky Maes. “”They need to have a sense of urgency when they play – not rush through points, but not let opportunities go to waste. Sometimes we’re not in the right mental state – sometimes we’re afraid to win and sometimes we’re afraid to lose. It comes down to fear at the end.””

    As Arizona (5-2) redoubles efforts to sharpen its mental game, it also enters a critical juncture in the season: the start of conference play. Given the high level of competition in the Pacific 10 Conference, fine-tuning must occur quickly.

    “”I think we need to treat it like any other match,”” Maes said. “”We obviously came off a disappointing weekend in San Diego. We just couldn’t play well. … Going in to Oregon, I haven’t made it a Pac-10 focus so much as things we have to focus on individually to be successful as a team.””

    The No. 46 Ducks (6-3) are coming off their first loss at home to No. 39 Ohio State.

    Arizona has consistently struggled to clinch the doubles point in matches. Maes attached a great deal of significance to the doubles point, saying, “”It gives them a better mental edge when they go into singles with that one point out.

    “”… We’ve been practicing our doubles. We’re getting better in doubles,”” she added. “”Both times last weekend we had opportunities to win, we just didn’t close them out. Playing Oregon, it’s going to make a huge difference.””

    Maes also alloted praise to a freshman and a veteran, both of whom she feels have stepped it up a great deal so far during the season.

    “”I think Natasha’s done a very good job. Dani’s done a very good job,”” she said. “”I think both those kids have been very consistent.””

    Men on road trip to face Fresno State

    Statistically, the Arizona men’s tennis team has more than a few causes for celebration. The Wildcats have had two players appear in the national limelight as Pac-10 Players of the Week, they upset No. 26 Texas Tech last weekend and chased it with a win over No. 54 San Diego. They are on a six-match winning streak and they recently moved up in the national standings yet again to No. 35.

    “”Honestly, it’s nice to see that we’re getting better and better every week, but it’s not the most important,”” junior Ravid Hazi said of the new ranking. “”… My goal is to make it to the NCAA and the highest ranking we can get … that’s my goal and the team’s goal and the rankings are not the biggest factor. It’s playing well and winning.””

    Jay Goldman, who is ranked No. 96 individually, also attaches little significance to the rankings.

    “”To me, they’re not important. It just seems very subjective to me,”” he said. “”I guess for us, to really solidify our spot is to keep going out week in and week out and trying to win. That’s all my goal is … win as many matches as we can. The rankings will come if we do well.””

    Hazi attributed a great deal of his team’s success to the versatility of Arizona’s roster.

    “”I really think it’s that all over the lineup, there are great players,”” he said. “”I think the heart of the team … we all want it. Every spot on the lineup, we have the ability to win. Jason hasn’t lost a match yet – he just shows that on any spot we are able to win any match against any team.

    “”We all trust each other,”” Hazi added. “”At Texas Tech it wasn’t my day at all, but I knew I had my teammates and they did a great job. The next meeting at San Diego, it was different guys, but we are all there for each other. We all show up, we are all ready, so if someone doesn’t feel good one day we have other guys to step up and play. That’s what makes us 8-1 right now.””

    Goldman seemed to consider the team’s work ethic the main factor in its elevated performance level.

    “”This week we had a few days off to gather our thoughts and recover a little bit … we had a really good fight both matches,”” Goldman said. “”We’re all rested and continuing the way we’re playing. Everybody’s feeling good, looking forward to another opportunity to keep advancing.””

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