By Craig Sanders
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The fifth-ranked Arizona women's tennis team had perhaps its lowest and highest points of the season as it headed into spring break.
The Wildcats (10-3 overall, 3-2 in the Pacific 10 Conference) lost their second match in a row to No. 2 UCLA 5-1, but rebounded with a 6-0 team victory over 13th-ranked Southern Cal. The Wildcats hosted the Bruins and the Trojans at Arizona's Robson Tennis Center March 10-11.
The Bruins took control of the Wildcats from the opening serve. UCLA used its highly touted lineup to sweep past Arizona's top four players. The UA played tough Ä taking the Bruins to three sets in three of those four matches, but were never able to climb out of early holes. Arizona's Melody Falco picked up the only Wildcat victory in the No. 5 position 6-3, 6-2 over Diana Spadea.
Arizona had already defeated UCLA earlier this year before using the back to back matches. The UCLA team lost the first match without the services of its No. 2 player Keri Phebus.
"Without Phebus they had to move their players up, and that was a big difference," Arizona's Eva Maria Schurhoff said. "They are a much stronger team with her in there. More importantly, I think, is that we didn't pull out the close matches that we did in L.A.. We lost in singles, but it wasn't quick and easy for them. We just weren't able to pull out the close matches we did up there. Sometimes those things happen."
The Bruins seemed strong after their finals appearance in the Team Indoor Championships in Wisconsin in February. Arizona reached the semifinals of that tournament before falling to the Bruins 5-3. The UA had already played UCLA earlier in February when it beat them 5-3 in Los Angeles. The meeting in Tucson was the third between the teams in the span of a month.
Arizona responded with perhaps their strongest performance of the season against USC. Arizona defeated the Trojans 5-4 in Los Angeles in February. The Wildcats dominated from top to bottom despite the occasional rainfall that spotted the courts. They played inspired tennis as they took every singles match, loosing only one set on their way to the victory. Both of Arizona's matches were decided without the need for doubles play.
"We were really concentrating on UCLA," Schurhoff said. "When we lost in singles I think that made us really focus on USC. They weren't quite prepared for the way we played them. It gave us the confidence boost we needed entering Spring Break. This team is really loose and ready now."
The Wildcats will next play Washington tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Arizona's Robson Tennis Center.
Read Next Article