By Christopher Wuensch
EMILY REID/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA sophomore Dianne Hollands returns a forehand during her 6-2, 6-2 win over Cal's Catherine Lynch.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday April 14, 2003
Wildcats drop No. 4 Golden Bears, 4-3, in dramatic fashion
UA women's tennis stunned the highly ranked Golden Bears of California on Saturday, powered by the rackets of two of the Wildcats' best.
After being handily beaten by top-ranked Stanford on Friday, Arizona rebounded strongly the following day, led by Emilie Scribot and Maja Mlakar. The Wildcats, ranked 39 in the nation, defeated the No. 4 Golden Bears 4-3 in a match that went down to the wire.
The duo of Scribot and Mlakar started the Wildcats' upset by knocking off No. 3 doubles pair Raquel Kops-Jones and Christine Fusano. Arizona sealed the crucial doubles point with a victory by Dianne Hollands and Kelly Perry over Nicole Havlicek and Catherine Lynch, 9-8.
The Wildcats got off to a slow start in singles play, however, going down to the Golden Bears with losses in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions. Hollands pulled the Wildcats within one point at 2-3 with the sophomore's 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lynch.
Down one match with two to play, Scribot and Mlakar took center stage with the chance of an upset resting squarely on their rackets. No. 10 Scribot, winner of her past six matches in the number one slot, was looking to upset her second top-10 ranked player in as many days.
On Friday the graduate student from Toulouse, France, earned the sole victory for the Wildcats against the Cardinal when she came from behind to defeat No. 4 Amber Liu 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Wildcats' backs to the wall, Scribot fended off No. 7 Kops-Jones, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to tie the match for Arizona at three apiece and set the stage for the upset. Jones struggled at the net in the first and third sets, allowing Scribot to overpower her with strong baseline play.
Mlakar did the rest. The sophomore from Maribor, Slovenia, did not disappoint her Wildcat teammates, overwhelming No. 31 Fusano 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 for the upset.
"It's amazing," said sophomore Kelly Perry. "All the gratitude goes to Emilie and Maja."
The victory for the Wildcats is their second in the Pac-10 this season and improves their overall mark to 8-11.
"It's huge," head coach Vicky Maes said of her squad's upset. "To come out a get a win against a Cal team that's been tough all year."
The second-year coach and former Wildcat star attributes the team's win to execution, jumping out to early leads and winning the vital doubles point, a task the Wildcats have failed to do in past matches.
After the match, Maes sang the praises of her top two players, Scribot and Mlakar.
"Emilie has been so consistent all year," Maes said. "Maja, when she battles can be just as tough as Emilie."
The Wildcats will conclude their regular season this weekend in Tempe. On Saturday, Arizona will take on a No. 16 Sun Devil Squad that has two Pac-10 wins as well. The Pac-10 championships will start April 24 in Ojai, Calif.