By Craig Sanders
Arizona Daily Wildcat
When a team is traveling on the smooth road of collegiate athletics, it is almost inevitable that it will suddenly hit a bump. For the Arizona women's tennis team, that bump has come at exactly the wrong time.
The fourth-ranked Wildcats' 6-3 loss to No. 7 Arizona State Saturday was their third straight loss to a top-10 team.
The Wildcats (16-6 overall, 5-5 in the Pacific 10 Conference South) lost only three matches all season before last weekend's trip to the Bay Area. They were fresh off a victory over No. 2 Texas when they suddenly fell to seventh-ranked Stanford 7-2 and No. 10 Cal 6-0. The Wildcats didn't have a chance to get back on track against 39th-ranked New Mexico when the final home match of the season was rained out. That meant they would have to travel to Tempe Ä where they would suffer another defeat.
"No one likes losing to the Sun Devils," freshman Betsy Miringoff said. "This really stings. We really wanted a win because it was our senior's last match."
The Wildcats were unable to repeat the 6-0 drubbing of ASU (14-8, 3-7) they had delivered at home less than a month before. UA's top two players lost in critical matches as ASU's No. 1 singles player, fourth-ranked Joelle Schad, defeated Arizona's Vicky Maes 6-1, 6-0. The Wildcats' Eva Maria Schurhoff played a tough three sets, but couldn't catch Reka Cseresnyes, who won 6-2, 2-6, 5-7. Only UA's No. 3 player, Stephanie Sammaritano, and sixth-seeded Miringoff picked up victories.
"I don't think we're playing as well as we were earlier," Arizona head coach Becky Bell said. "We've had injuries and illness and it was very difficult to get a full week of practice in, but at this level there are no excuses."
Arizona entered doubles down 4-2 and needed to come up with strong performances to stop the Sun Devils from picking up the one victory that would clinch the match. The Wildcats were spiked early as Schad and Julie Coppinger teamed up to defeat the No. 3 team of Miringoff and Angela Bernal. Perhaps the highlight of the day for the Wildcats came when the fourth-ranked duo of Maes and Schurhoff defeated ASU's eighth-ranked doubles team of Anna Moll and Kara Schertzer 6-1, 7-5.
ASU's Cseresnyes and Stephanie Lansdorp finished out doubles play with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Sammari-tano and Melody Falco.
The Wildcats will be without Schurhoff when they compete in the Pac-10 championships, which run April 27-30. Schurhoff has returned to Germany for personal reasons. She is expected to be back in time for the NCAA championships May 12-20 in Malibu, Calif.
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