By Kevin Clerici
Arizona Daily Wildcat April 3, 1996
When the Wildcats take on Arizona State, no pep talk is necessary.
"Arizona State is a match that the coaches don't have to get the guys fired up about. There is that nice rivalry between the two schools that spurs us on," UA head men's tennis coach Bill Wright said.
The Sun Devils swept UA last season € a 5-2 win on April 5 and a 4-3 victory on April 22. But this year the No. 21 Wildcats (9-6 overall, 1-5 in Pacific 10 Conference) cannot afford to lose as they host the 38th-ranked Sun Devils today at the Robson Tennis Center at 1:30 p.m.
"ASU is our biggest rivalry by far. They swept us last year, so we owe them a bit," senior Vuk Tapuskovic said.
"There is no love lost between our guys and their guys. We have never gotten along," senior James Rey said.
Coming off their win against 15th-ranked California last weekend, a victory today will move the Wildcats one step closer to securing a regional bid for the NCAA Tournament.
"This week should decide our fate. With the win over Cal and if we beat Arizona State and (16th-ranked) UNLV, we deserve to be in the top 20," Wright said.
Playing its third match in six days, and coming off a 7-0 defeat by Stanford, the team is still positive on how they are playing.
"Our guys are playing pretty darn well, but we do need to focus on this match," Wright said. "They (ASU) are good. They are a very underrated team for what they are ranked."
Losing to No. 1 UCLA 4-3 and taking two games from second-ranked Stanford, the Sun Devils have shown they can play in the big match.
Having to deal with the loss of last year's national champion Sargis Sargsian, the Sun Devils feature senior Oscar Bustos at the No. 1 position. Arizona's No. 1, Jan Anderson, and Bustos will most likely meet today and are tied for the 87th-ranked position nationally, according to the ITA/Rolex rankings. Junior Sergio Elias and senior Paul Reber will most likely play at the No. 2 and 3 singles spots, respectively, against UA's Henrik Wagner and senior captain Chris Jenkins.
Arizona's Edward Schwartz, a 17-game winner last year, looks to be back on track after missing five duals with a leg injury. He beat the Golden Bears' Dave Sutton 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 Friday.
Sophomore Roland Kupka, who has seen time at the No. 5 singles position as well as No. 3 doubles, is recovering from the flu and will most likely participate today.
The Wildcats are 4-3 since the beginning of their nine-game home streak and have six matches remaining on the schedule.
"We are better than them on paper, but they always play us well at home," Tapuskovic said.