By Brian Penso
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday Feb. 8, 2002
The Arizona men's tennis team has something going for it this weekend - and it is not the fact that it's 2-0 this season.
Both of its opponents this weekend, Northern Arizona and UC Santa Barbara, have not been able to muster any success against Pacific 10 Conference opponents this season.
UCSB (2-2 overall) was defeated easily by UCLA 1-6 and Washington 0-7; the same holds true for the Lumberjacks(3-3), who lost to Oregon 1-6 and were swept by the Sun Devils at the ASU Invitational.
The No. 41 Wildcats (2-0) are not as concerned with records but are continuing to improve every time they step on the court.
UA assistant coach Bob Helmig said Arizona is coming together as a team and beginning to gel as one cohesive unit.
"They trust each other," Helmig said. "They have confidence in each other right now, and the experience they gained last season has helped. The trust that they have in each other was brought into the light in our first two matches of the season."
Currently, UA is in the midst of a 10-match home stand, which Helmig said will give the Wildcats an opportunity to gain the mental toughness needed before Pac-10 competition begins in a few weeks.
"Each time we step on the court, we gain mental toughness," Helmig said. "That toughness can not be gained in practice. Playing at home with our great fans gives us a great atmosphere to play in. It will allow us to fight that much harder in matches and execute more consistently."
Individually, UA is led by senior Steven Capriati and sophomore Whi Kim, who have been Arizona's top two players during the last two matches.
"Everyone is playing well," Kim said. "We have been real good in our singles play, but we have dropped a bit in our doubles. It is early in the season, and we have been able to overcome it with our singles play."
Helmig said the play of UA's doubles team will improve as the season progresses.
"We have been lacking intensity in our doubles matches," Helmig said. "We were fired up for San Diego, and our played showed it. We came out flat against Utah and it showed. We need to turn that around this weekend."
First serve is set today at 1:30 p.m. against NAU and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. against UCSB. Both games will be played at Robson Tennis Center.