The No. 49 Arizona women's tennis team (5-6, 0-1 Pacific 10 Conference) dropped another close match yesterday, 4-3.
This time it was to in-state rival No. 28 ASU.
"I hate losing," said Arizona assistant coach Brian Ramirez. "But I'll take this one, because some of the girls who were really struggling showed a lot of progress."
The match started off tough and seemed to stay that way throughout.
In doubles play, No. 23 seniors Maja Mlakar and Dianne Hollands were defeated for the first time this spring, 8-5, to ASU's No. 25 Kady Pooler and Lauren Colalillo.
Junior Stephanie Balzert and sophomore Kasia Jakowlew were upended by ASU's Jessica Leitch and Sabrina Capannolo, 8-5
Senior Kelly Perry and sophomore Jessie Rochefort fell to Joslynn Burkett and Wendy Pilecka, 8-4.
In singles play, No. 38 Hollands visited her old stomping grounds, playing on court one.
In front of a split crowd, Hollands did the court justice, defeating ASU's Capannolo, 7-6, 7-6.
On court two, Mlakar, who is still suffering from the flu, defeated Burkett 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
"Maja gave us an unbelievable effort," Ramirez said. "I told her during the second set, when she was down 1-4, to just take it easy and come on strong in the third. She didn't listen, fought back hard in the second and still had enough energy to beat her opponent in the third."
On court three, Balzert played her best tennis all spring, as she defeated Leitch, 6-2, 6-4.
"That's the way she played in the fall," Ramirez said. "We've been waiting for her to do this, I'm glad it's finally here."
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the victories stopped with Balzert.
On court four, unsung hero Kelly Perry was in a dogfight, facing No. 96 Pooler. Perry had an answer for almost every shot hit at her, but it wasn't quite enough, as Pooler eventually took control.
Perry lost the match 6-7 (8-10), 5-7.
On court five, Jakowlew was in a dogfight of her own against Pilecka. Once again ASU got the best of Arizona, as Jakowlew lost 6-7 (2-7), 3-6.
On court six, freshman Camelia Todorova faced Colalillo. Todorova, who has struggled of late, showed great signs of improvement.
After losing the first set, 6-1, Todorova was down 5-1 in the second, but rallied back, winning the second set, 7-5, but dropping the third set, 5-7.
"I'm very proud of Camelia," said head coach Vicky Maes. "She handled herself very well."
Maes said she was pleased overall with her team's performance and although the team lost another close match, she could see the progress being made.
"This felt like a team effort," she said. "The other matches felt like it was just the seniors stepping up, but everyone stepped up this time."
Arizona plays Minnesota at Robson Tennis Center at 11 a.m. Sunday.