By Kristen Davis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 5, 1997

Wildcats use late rally to earn win over visiting Utah

The 17th-ranked men's tennis team learned yesterday just how crucial it is to win the doubles point.

"When we win the doubles point we come into the singles and feel really strong like we have an edge on the opponent," senior Henrik Wagner said. "When we are down a point (like) last weekend against Washington and Northwestern it (felt) heavy on our shoul ders."

Two of Wildcats doubles pairs won their pro set, giving Arizona the important point on their way to a 5-2 victory over Utah yesterday.

"The team today was a little weaker than the ones we've played and playing a home match makes a big difference," Wagner said.

Head coach Bill Wright switched a couple of the doubles spots after winning just one doubles match in their two matches last weekend at the Great Northwest Shootout.

Senior Roland Kupka and freshman Jean-Noel Lacoste moved up from the number three spot to two and senior Mark Jariabka and junior Mike Mackay played at number three instead of the number two spot.

The usual top doubles combination of Wagner and senior Tom Haugland lost 8-5 to Utah's Christian Svennson, a senior, and sophomore Ben Coates. Kupka and Lacoste defeated the Utes' Cory Dalos, a sophomore, and junior Paul McPherson 8-5. With the doubles sc ore tied at one game each, the third spot match became very intense. Jariabka and Mackay trailed Utah's Brandon Owens, a senior and sophomore Philippe Rodrigue 5-3 but managed to come back and win the doubles point for the Wildcats by upsetting Owens and Rodrigue 9-8 (6).

"I think switching the teams took a little heat off Mark and Mike and they just played a great match at three. That was really the decider," Wright said. "We could have lost this match if we hadn't won that doubles match."

Once the Wildcats won the doubles point they headed into singles competition knowing that they were just three matches away from their first victory of the season.

"We come into (singles competition) positive and happy but if we lose that doubles point we have a whole different attitude," Wright said.

Haugland lost to Svennson in the No. 1 singles position 6-2, 6-2 but Wagner beat McPherson 6-3, 6-3 in the second singles spot. Next, in the sixth spot Rodrigue defeated UA freshman Charlie Bachtell 6-1, 6-3. Mackay defeated Dalos 6-1, 6-4 on the fifth c ourt with Arizona needing only one more victory to secure the win.

Kupka, the only Wildcat with a perfect singles record, improved his streak to 3-0 after getting past Owens 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 3 spot.

Kupka credits his success to his new work ethic and attitude.

"(This season) I've tried to stay after practice to do some extra work and I've tried to be looser and more relaxed on the court," Kupka.

Although Arizona's win was secure, Lacoste and Coates were still battling each other on the fourth court. They would eventually be forced into a tie breaker after Lacoste came form behind. Finally, Lacoste came away with the win defeating Coates 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) and extended Arizona's lead to 5-2.

"We came out strong today in the singles and everybody was fired up," Wagner said.

Wagner said this win should give the team a stronger mentality going into their two dual matches this weekend and with the Pacific 10 Conference matches approaching.

"We have two more kind of easier matches this weekend and that will be good so we can get some confidence going into the Pac-10 matches."