By Chris Wuensch
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Graduate student Emilie Scribot reaches to make a backhand hit. Arizona will have to be on top of its game as it plays at Stanford and California.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday March 6, 2003
The UA women's tennis team will look to extend its two-game win streak away from home, but the road to four in a row goes through two top-five teams.
Coming off a sweep of Texas schools, Baylor and TCU, Arizona (4-3, 0-3) will face Pacific 10 Conference rivals No. 4 California and No. 3 Stanford on Friday and Saturday respectively.
"The key now is building more consistency," head coach Vicky Maes said. "The girls know it will take 100 percent to take control of the team. I know we have the talent, I know we have the strength."
The second-year coach said she doesn't feel intimidated by the high ranking of both Cal and Stanford and likes how her Wildcats match up to the Northern California schools.
"I certainly don't consider rankings when it comes to playing Stanford or Cal, we're just going out there and giving our best effort," Maes said. "I think we match up very well, especially at California where we've played that lineup before and the team is much stronger than the team we had last year. Stanford is very young they don't have a lot of experience as a team right now, so I feel very confident going into the weekend."
Maes' players are feeling confident as well.
"We've been practicing on and off the court all week," said sophomore Kelly Perry. "I think our team has really come together lately."
The sweep of the two Texas schools has built confidence in the No. 26-ranked Wildcats, but Arizona will have their hands full against the two conference powerhouses.
"I think it gives us a lot of confidence, as far as mental toughness goes," Maes said. "We won 6-1 at Baylor and 6-0 at TCU, which kind of implies the matches were easy but they were a lot of three-setters. That benefits our girls and their mental toughness, having that pretty tough road trip and being challenged mentally I think that is only going to help us going into the weekend."
When Arizona takes the court on Friday in Berkeley, the Wildcats will be looking for their first Pac-10 win of the season. Again, Maes was quick to point out the lack of importance numbers hold.
"I don't think of it as wins and losses," she said. "We're trying to get the team ready for postseason play. We are such a tough conference. You look at the rankings and see so many Pac-10 teams are in ranked the top 10. It shows we are the toughest conference."
For the players, however, earning that first win is on their minds.
"I think it's one of the biggest motivations for us," said freshman Kristy Randono.
Win or lose, the team will keep an eye on the bigger picture.
"We're not going to hang our heads if we lose," Maes said. "We're just going to keep going, keep trying. I know we've come close a few times, I'm sure eventually toward the end of the year we are going to turn these matches around."