Arizona women's tennis defeats No. 22 ASU
No. 31 Arizona women’s tennis upset arch-rival No. 22 ASU 4-2 on senior day at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center on Saturday.
The Wildcats finished the season undefeated at home, a proud accomplishment for seniors Lacey Smyth, Akilah James, Kim Stubbe and Susan Mc Rann.
“We look forward to this match all season, and to end it the way that we did was such an amazing feeling,” Smyth said. “We lost to them last year, so to get some revenge on our home court on Senior Day, you can’t ask for anything else.”
The Sun Devils took the doubles point quickly, forcing the Wildcats to fight back in singles.
Arizona women's tennis head coach Vicky Maes recognizes the Wildcats' four seniors, Susan McRann, Lacey Smyth, Kim Stubbe and Akilah James, on senior day. Maes gave each player flowers, a poster with photos and a speech before Arizona's 4-2 win against ASU at LaNelle Robson Tennis Center on Saturday.
“We started off with doubles just a little bit shaky and didn’t really go after our chances,” Stubbe said. “As soon as we were down, we didn’t let it affect us, and we just kicked butt in singles.”
In singles matches, Stubbe defeated No. 51 Desirae Krawczyk 6-3, 6-2, and sophomore Shayne Austin defeated Ebony Panoho 6-3, 6-2. Once No. 74 freshman Lauren Marker fell to Kassidy Jump 3-6, 3-6, all three remaining matches went into third-set tiebreakers.
Coming out on top were No. 58 Lacey Smyth and junior Laura Oldham, who were able to secure the victory for the Wildcats as their matches finished 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) and 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, respectively.
“I did not know that [my match] was the match point for the whole match,” Smyth said. “Having everybody there really calmed my nerves because I got more confidence, and being able to close that out and have everyone come running over was incredible.”
For Smyth, it was her fourth win over a ranked player at the No. 1 spot this season. However, the Wildcats’ strength over other teams has come from the players at the five and six positions.
“Winning at five and six has really been all the difference for us,” head coach Vicky Maes said. “To be undefeated and to beat ASU in this kind of way, I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
The win narrowed the Sun Devils’ lead in the Territorial Cup, a competition between the schools’ athletic departments, to 7.5 to 7.
The men’s team upset No. 53 Utah 4-1 on Friday on its senior day. The match marked the last time that seniors Dominic Bermudez, Kieren Thompson and Mario Urquidi will play at Robson.
Starting off fast on doubles, Urquidi and Thompson defeated Ben Tasevac and Devin Lane 8-2.
Junior Sumeet Shinde and sophomore Naoki Takeda defeated Slim Hanza and Cedric Willems 8-5, clinching the doubles point for the Wildcats.
Arizona fought hard in singles, clinching every match except for the No. 6 position, when Matt Cowley defeated Robin Chou 6-4, 6-3.
“This was huge,” head coach Tad Berkowitz said in a press release. “The guys have been through so much this year, but they’ve continued to fight. They never give up, and it showed today. Utah is a good team.”
Up next, the both teams will head to Ojai, Calif., to compete in the Pac-12 Championships. The men will face Utah in the first round.
—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20