Arizona tennis celebrates senior day
Senior Lacey Smyth will compete for the last time against ASU at home on Saturday.
Arizona women’s tennis will host arch-rival ASU this Saturday in its last home match of the season.
Four seniors will take the court at LaNelle Robson Tennis Center for the last time: Lacey Smyth, Kim Stubbe, Susan Mc Rann and Akilah James.
Smyth is ranked No. 58 in singles play.
No. 31 Arizona’s senior day match against No. 22 ASU will start at 1 p.m. and is a red-out. The Wildcats trail the Sun Devils 7.5-6 in the Territorial Cup Series competition between the schools’ athletic departments.
The seniors have built up a solid foundation at Arizona. They have gone 56-35 in four seasons, and 41-6 mark at home. James transferred to the UA from South Carolina State in 2012.
The seniors have made it to the NCAA Tournament twice, including a second round appearance in 2012, one of the best finishes in school history.
Arizona men’s tennis will host No. 53 Utah this Friday for the last match of the season as well.
For senior tennis players Mario Urquidi and Kieren Thompson, this will be the last time they compete on the home court as Wildcats.
Head coach Tad Berkowitz said they are leaders in their own ways.
“Kieren is our vocal guy; he’s the one who speaks when he feels the team needs to get something going,” Berkowitz said. “He knows when it is time to pump the guys up and when to get a little tough on the guys as well.”
Last year Thompson was Arizona’s winningest player, and this season Urquidi has won three of his last four matches.
“Mario brings the energy with his work ethic every single day,” Berkowitz said. “It doesn’t matter if his ankle is hurting him or if he has a test the next day. He has always been that ‘blue collar workhorse’ for us.”
Urquidi said he and Thompson have tried to be leaders in the classroom as well.
“We are not only seen as guys who the team can look up to on the court, but the guys who the team can look up to inside the classroom,” Urquidi said. “We are trying to build a legacy and put the team on a good path after we are gone.”
Including those from both men’s and women’s tennis, Arizona will be saluting six seniors this weekend.
—Follow Zoe Wolowitz @zowolko