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Questionable officiating stops tennis' bid to pick up first conference win

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Junior Debbie Larocque returns a serve in her doubles match against UCLA. Laroque and sophomore Maja Mlakar won their contest, but it was the Bruins that ultimately took the match over the Wildcats.
By Christopher Wuensch
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday February 24, 2003

UA women's tennis fell short in its bid to tally its first wins over conference opponents, losing to USC and UCLA over the weekend.

After being swept 7-0 by the Trojans on Friday, Arizona dropped an emotional Saturday afternoon bout with the ninth-ranked Bruins.

Looking to avenge Friday's sweep, the Wildcats started Saturday strong, winning all three doubles matches and earning the first point of the afternoon. Playing on court number one, the duo of Dianne Hollands and Emilie Scribot defeated the pair of Jackie Carleton and Susi Wild. Hollands' lunging backhand in the first set drew big applause from the crowd and put Arizona up 5-1. The pair never looked back after that winning 8-3.

The highlight of the afternoon proved to be the marathon match between number-one singles players Scribot and Carleton. The match, that lasted well over three hours, saw a roller coaster of emotions from the graduate student Scribot. After dropping the seesaw first set to the 19-year old Carleton in a tiebreaker, 6-7, Scribot bounced back and looked to take control of the match.

After going up on Carleton after five games, the chair umpire wrongly ruled the score 3-2 instead of the actual score 4-1. During the 25-minute delay that ensued, Scribot and assistant coach Simon Thibodeau vehemently argued to no avail. Upon consulting the head umpire, a replay of the fifth game was settled. The original umpire, who had drawn the ire of the crowd from the onset of the match, was frequently wrong throughout the entire match, often confusing Arizona's Scribot for UCLA's Carleton.

The confusion wasn't over at that point. After the replayed fifth game, another altercation with the umpire broke out over who was to serve and where. The chair umpire was eventually replaced mid-way through the second set.

After losing that replayed fifth game, Scribot fell behind Carleton 4-5. Scribot would eventually battle her way back, scoring seven unanswered points in the tiebreaker to force a third and final set.

As the second set was winding down on court number one with the Wildcats clinging to a 3-2 team lead, Kristy Randono of Arizona failed to close out her match against Shilpa Joshi -7-5, 5-7, 6-7- tying the best-of-seven points meet at three.

While Scribot battled, Hollands and Debbie Larocque cruised to singles victories for Arizona.

With the afternoon shadows consuming the court, Scribot dropped the first three games of the third set. Down 5-2, she double faulted twice, and as her final groundstroke sailed wide, so did Arizona's chances of winning its first Pac-10 match.

"I shouldn't have lost it," Scribot said. "I don't know if it cost me the game, but I think I probably would have won the second set more easily - and that would have been better for me in the third set. In the third set I think she was more aggressive than me, and that's why she won."

The loss dropped the Wildcats to 2-3 on the season. Arizona's next match is at home against Arizona State on Wednesday.

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