By Kevin Clerici
Arizona Daily Wildcat April 15, 1996
When junior Stephanie Sammaritano took a volley in the stomach during her No. 2 doubles match from Stanford's Julie Scott, she had the wind knocked out of her.
But it was the three doubles match losses that eventually took the wind out of the team.
No. 4 Arizona (18-3 overall, 7-2 in the Pacific 10 Conference) lost 7-2 to No. 2 Stanford, for the third time this year, Saturday at the Robson Tennis Center.
"You have to give credit where credit is due. Stanford played extremely well," UA head coach Becky Bell said. "I wanted our team to walk out with their heads high. We gave it all we had, and we lost. That is how it goes."
The Wildcats went down 4-2 after singles play, losing at the second, third, fifth, and sixth positions. Tenth-ranked Katie Schlukebir defeated Stephanie Sammaritano 6-3, 6-0 at No. 2, and Julie Scott beat Khristen Pietrucka 6-3, 7-6 at No. 5.
The bright spots for the Wildcats were provided by freshman Karen Goldstein with her 7-5, 6-3 win over Kim Shasby at the No. 4 position and by All-American Vicky Maes.
The No. 1-ranked Maes (40-6 overall, 20-1 in dual matches) went three sets with No. 11 Ania Bleszynski before winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
"I was a little nervous. I knew how important this match was, and I got on myself a little," said Maes about the first set.
Down 3-2 in the second set, Maes had to rally to claim the second. But Bleszynski then took an early 3-1 lead in the third.
Breaking Bleszynski to get back to 3-2, Maes changed the momentum for good. Four straight points and the set was tied at three all.
With Arizona down 3-1 as a team, Maes or Betsy Miringoff -who was in a three-set match of her own- had to win to force doubles play.
Maes took a 5-3 advantage after Bleszynski hit an unforced error to lose her serve, and Maes held. Bleszynski then held serve to put the match to 5-4, but Maes held for the win and forced doubles play.
"I look at the scoreboard all the time. I don't know if that is the right thing to do, but I knew that I had to win to give us a chance in doubles," Maes said.
"Vicky Maes is one of the few players in college tennis that I would pay to watch. She is an unbelievable athlete," Stanford's head coach Mike Brennen said.
In doubles play, senior Olivia Gravereaux played in her first match all year, teaming with Maes in a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Bleszynski and Schlukebir. Gravereaux was a highly-touted recruit, expected to fight Maes for the No. 1 position, but surgery on her right wrist has kept her out of action until doctors OK'd her to play doubles in the middle of the week.
"She was tough. It was her first match. She hasn't played all year, and we could have beat these guys," Maes said. "We just didn't finish off our points. Once she gets some match rhythm, she is going to be extremely tough."
"She (Gravereaux) came here not only for school but for tennis. She has put in so much time in rehabilitating her wrist," Bell said.
On Friday, the Wildcats defeated No. 22 California 5-1, ending the match in singles play after Goldstein defeated Nicole Elliot 6-7, 6-1, 7-6 for the fifth victory.
Miringoff also won in three sets, beating Stephanie Tibbits 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
Monique Allegre won her 11th-straight singles match with her 6-4, 6-2 win over Nicole Ja before losing to Stanford's Amy Chiminello 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday.
"We gave it everything that we had, and I am proud of how the team played this weekend," Bell said.
The Wildcats take on New Mexico Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Robson Tennis Center. UA concludes the regular season Saturday against Arizona State at 1 p.m. at Robson.