Arizona women's tennis gets a tough draw
No. 23 Arizona women’s tennis (17-5) will head to Athens, Ga., to face the Florida State Seminoles (15-12) in the first round of the Division I NCAA Tournament on May 9.
This is Arizona’s 22nd NCAA tournament and eighth under head coach Vicky Maes.
“Honestly, I am a little bit disappointed,” Maes said. “We really did not want a region where we will potentially be facing the No. 1 team in the country. I think we have done much better than to deserve that particular region, but it is what it is.”
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association currently ranks Florida State No. 42 in the country. Juniors Kerrie Cartwright and Daneika Borthwick lead the team with singles records of 22-13 and 18-13, respectively, and were both named to All-ACC teams.
“Clearly, we have a tough matchup with Florida State,” Maes said. “They are a very good team and have been ranked in the top 20 for most of the season. To be honest, I’m very disappointed in the region, but we have to recover from it and deal with it to do the best that we can.”
If the Wildcats can get past their first round matchup against Florida State, they may have to play Georgia, which is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.
“I think we are all a little surprised that we are going to Georgia, but we also have the opportunity to play the No. 1 team with the No. 1 rank,” senior Susan Mc Rann said. “We obviously are going to go out there and give it our best shot and hopefully make the Sweet Sixteen.”
The Wildcats were dominant, 14-0, at home this season and must transfer that momentum if they want to advance in the tournament.
“We have had a really good year, so first of all it is exciting that we made the NCAA Tournament,” senior Kim Stubbe said. “Being there and giving us another opportunity to shine will be fantastic, and we just need to make the most out of it.”
With 64 teams in the tournament, the Wildcats expected to travel, but not necessarily more than 1,500 miles across the country.
“Traveling on the road is always challenging, but traveling across the country — time difference, the humidity — it is not an easy place to travel to, but we have been to Georgia before,” Maes said.
“Our kids are excited to go to the tournament, and we are just going to play to the best of our ability.”
Although Georgia seems to be a huge roadblock on the Wildcats’ path, Maes is only focused on the first round matchup.
“We first need to get past Florida State, and they are a very good team, so I am not going to focus at all on the second round; we need to get past the first round,” Maes said. “If we do get the opportunity to play Georgia, then we go out there and play with nothing to lose.”
—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20