By Michael Isaac Jacobs
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 10, 1998

Win column welcomes men's tennis against Utah

As night fell on the Robson Tennis Center yesterday, the men's tennis team put No. 65 Utah to sleep with a sweet lullaby.

After a rain delay pushed the serve time back two hours to 4 p.m., the Wildcats sent the Utes back to the high altitude with a 5-2 defeat in the first of a ten match homestand.

"We didn't play an unbelievable match today by any stretch of the imagination," head coach Bill Wright said. "Everyone was tight at the beginning, but the team fought, came back and played hard."

Arizona (1-2) lit the scoreboard with five singles wins before losing the doubles point in a frigid nightcap.

"It was a difficult start since it was the first home game and some of the new guys were nervous at the beginning, but things worked out in the end," said senior and team captain Jerome Oliveri, who did not play. "I think that we'll be pretty sweet at home."

Oliveri, who has been suffering from a back injury for the last year, sat out because he severely re-injured himself last weekend against Southern Cal. Oliveri is doubtful in this weekend's match against Texas-El Paso.

"We need Jerome back as we get ready for the Pacific 10 schedule," Wright said. "However, the team found a way to win and put pressure on Utah to make them hit winners every point."

In a momentary lapse of athleticism, adverse weather conditions froze some of the hometown players' strokes.

"At the beginning, it was really cold," senior Roland Kupka said. "I found what I needed to get me fired up when I fell down 4-2 in the opening set."

Kupka rallied to strike down Paul McPherson with a thunderous 6-4, 6-2 comeback.

Other Wildcats singles winners include Jean-Noel Lacoste, Michael MacKay, Pascal Salasca and Adnan Nova.

"The main goal was to get a 'W' after battling hard and coming up short the last couple of weeks," Kupka said. "The team can definitely get stronger against non-conference teams."

"We're using the non-conference games to build a base and get ready for ASU on (Feb.) 27," Oliveri added.

UTEP, Marquette and San Diego, three non-conference teams, will grace Robson's hardcourts before UA returns to Pacific 10 Conference play against the Sun Devils in the middle of its 10-match homestand. The Wildcats play their final five matches on the road.

"You get some sort of rhythm when you don't have to travel," Wright said. "We don't have the most ideal schedule, but we'll just have to ride with it."

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