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Friday April 13, 2001

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Wildcats face huge test in final homestand

By Dan Komyati

Arizona Daily Wildcat

NCAA tournament hopes on the line

Two of the Pacific 10 Conference's best teams will come to Tucson this weekend as the UA women's tennis team wraps up its final homestand of the season.

Arizona will meet No. 9 California this afternoon at 1:30 and top-ranked Stanford tomorrow at noon at Robson Stadium Center.

Coming off a tough 4-3 setback against No. 11 Texas Wednesday, Arizona is in need of an upset victory in one of their final three contests to secure a berth in next month's NCAA tournament.

This weekend provides an immense challenge for Arizona as they face two teams that defeated them by a combined 13-1 last month in California.

Since 1985, the Golden Bears are 23-8 against Arizona, while perennial powerhouse Stanford will bring a 33-match winning streak against Arizona into Saturday's matchup.

UA head coach Brad Dancer knows his squad will have to be on the top of its game and catch its opponent on an off day in order to be successful.

"To beat Cal would even be a substantial upset because they've played so well this year," Dancer said. "If we can perform better than we did (against Texas), and if Cal comes down a notch, then there is no doubt that we can win some of those matches."

Although young and going through what was thought to be a rebuilding year, the Golden Bears own a 13-2 record and bring a nine-match unbeaten streak to Tucson.

As for the Cardinal, four of their singles players are ranked in the top 35, including No. 1 Laura Granville. They boast the nation's top two doubles pairs and are an unblemished 19-0 this season.

"Stanford is just so good every year that it would be a monumental upset for us to beat them," added Dancer.

Though playing the underdog role lately, Arizona (6-11 overall, 1-9 Pac-10) has shown unwavering confidence while competing with the most talented teams in the country.

"We have three tough matches to finish the season," said freshman standout Debbie Larocque. "I'm looking forward to it. We are going to go in there and fight hard and do what we can."

No. 8 California at Arizona

When: today, 1:30 p.m.

Where: Robson Tennis Center