By Brian Penso
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Mar. 5, 2002
After losing four consecutive matches, the UA men's tennis team faced a gut check yesterday against Loyola Marymount.
The Wildcats (7-4 overall, 0-3 Pacific 10 Conference) entered the match looking to conclude their 10-match homestand with a victory before heading on their first road trip of the spring season.
That is exactly what Arizona did, jumping on LMU early and never looking back.
The Wildcats won the doubles point and five of the six singles matches to earn a 6-1 victory, which marked the first time they have won in almost three weeks.
"It was really good to get back on track," UA senior Steven Capriati said. "LMU was not that tough of an opponent, but we had to step up and play ball. It is nice to go on the road coming off a win. It gives us a lot of confidence."
UA head coach Bill Wright said he realized the team had lost some confidence and that beating LMU helped it regain the confidence it had earlier in the season.
"There is no question that this was a big win for us," Wright said. "LMU is a tough team, and we played really well. We hit some good ground strokes and we definitely regained our confidence."
Capriati, coming off an individual loss against Arizona State, came out and dominated his opponent to earn a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory.
Capriati lost the first two games of the first set, but he eventually gained control and won the first set.
The second set started out the same as the first with Capriati losing the first two games.
Capriati once again regained control and tied the match at 6-6.
Once he tied the match at six, Capriati was on top of his game and he breezed to a 7-4 victory in the tiebreaker.
"I think I played all right today," Capriati said. "I served well, which has been my Achilles heel as of late. All in all, I did what I had to do to win."
With their long homestand concluded, the Wildcats are set to travel to the Bay Area to take on No. 3 Stanford Friday and No. 11 California Saturday.
"Going on the road will be good for us," junior captain Tom Lloyd said. "It has been nice to be at home for 10 matches, but now it is time to go on the road like every other team. It is nice that we will be on spring break so we don't have to worry about homework. We will be able to concentrate on the Bears and the trees."
Capriati said he is excited to go up to Stanford because he thinks UA has a chance to upset the Cardinal.
"We all have to play our best ball and prepared to fight," Capriati said. "If we execute, I know that we have the players to beat them."