Arizona sent eight tennis players to the 1997 Southern California Rolex/ITA Region VIII Tournament, which begins today at the University of California-Irvine in Irvine, Calif.
Seniors Roland Kupka and Michael MacKay, junior Pascal Salasca, sophomores Jean-Noel Lacoste and Charlie Bachtell, and freshmen walk-ons Brian Jackson and Michael Huss are competing for the Wildcats. No. 1 singles player Jerome Oliveri is out with a back injury.
The tournament, Arizona's last for the fall season, is a good measuring stick to see where the team is at going into spring play, which starts at the end of January.
"This will be a good gauge on where we are with our conditioning and match-toughness," assistant coach Bob Helmig said. "We're way ahead of where we were at this time last year, but we can't look too far ahead."
Also competing in the tourney are some of the highest-ranked schools in the country such as USC, Pepperdine, UCLA, and UC-Santa Barbara.
Marisa Baena, the 1996 NCAA women's golf champion, will be out for the remainder of the fall schedule due to a shoulder injury.
The UA junior is expected to be able to play in February, according to coach Rick LaRose. Baena, who started the year ranked No. 1 in the Master-Card Collegiate Golf Rankings, has fallen to No. 19 in the latest poll due to inactivity.
Sophomore Shannon Ingalls is the top-rated Wildcat at No. 13. Arizona still holds the No. 2 spot in team rankings, trailing Duke. ASU, first in the preseason poll, has slipped to No. 5.
By the Numbers
Years since the Arizona volleyball team has been 12 games over .500 percent. At 15-3, the Wildcats have tied the winning percentage they had when they were 21-9 midway through the 1982 season.
In the Pac-10, Arizona is four games over .500 (7-3) for just the second time ever. The only other time, the 1993 season, the Wildcats finished 11-7.