By Brian Penso
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday Apr. 19, 2002
School pride will be on the line for the UA women's tennis team as it concludes the regular season at home against in-state rival Arizona State.
"There is going to be pride on the line this weekend," sophomore Debbie Larocque said. "It will be a special match, and everyone is so excited."
In the first meeting of the year, the No. 8 Sun Devils scorched No. 25 Arizona 1-6, earning the right to call themselves the best tennis team in the state of Arizona.
The Wildcats (10-12 overall, 3-9 Pacific 10 Conference) were displeased with their performance, and they will be looking for redemption against their rival.
A win against the higher-ranked Sun Devils would give UA a boost of confidence going into the postseason.
" We lost big in our first match against them," UA head coach Vicky Maes said. "I think playing at home gives us a huge advantage. We are all ready to play and I am confident if we show up and play our game that we can beat them."
This match also marks the last time that seniors Laresa Marino and Brooke Taylor will suit up at home for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats will need freshman Maja Mlakar and Larocque to be on top of their respective games in order to come out victorious.
In singles, Mlakar is the on-court leader as she is No. 18 in the nation.
In the Wildcats' first match against ASU, Mlakar and Larocque were both unable to muster a singles victory.
The strength of Arizona lies in its doubles play, where the team of Mlakar and Larocque are No. 9 in the nation.
"If we can come out and win the first point in doubles, it helps everyone else," Larocque said. "Maja and I have a lot of chemistry on the court, and we are playing well right now. We all feed off of everyone, and winning in doubles is so important."
Both teams are guaranteed to make the postseason, so the only thing on the line this weekend is pride - and state bragging rights.
First serve is set for tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the Robson Tennis Center.