Women's tennis to find out NCAA selection
Sophomore Lacey Smyth returns a volley. Smyth fell to Stanford 9-2 with partner Shayne Austin at the Pac-12 Championships on Friday.
Arizona women’s tennis awaits its fate today, when the NCAA Women’s Tennis Selection Show will air and determine which region the Wildcats will end up in for the NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament.
Currently, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranks the Wildcats No. 23 in the country.
“We had a great regular season,” head coach Vicky Maes said. “I feel our team was consistent and better all the way down the lineup than previous years, which allowed us to pull some upsets along the way.”
The selection show will air at 2:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Arizona’s high-profile wins have come against now-ranked No. 41 Purdue, No. 60 Georgia State, No. 39 Washington, No. 38 Utah and No. 24 ASU. Its high-profile losses have come against now-ranked No. 1 UCLA, No. 4 California, No. 9 Stanford, No. 13 USC and No. 30 Texas Tech.
“I knew the strength of our group and certainly didn’t feel like our wins over Washington and ASU, for example, were upsets, but we still had to get the job done when those teams were ranked ahead of us,” Maes said. “Our focus is on the team tournament now, and we are excited to find out where we go.”
The Wildcats have posted an 17-6 record overall, and they hope to bring the momentum from their undefeated at-home streak to the NCAA Tournament.
“I think we need to make wherever we are stationed our home because we won’t have the U of A crowd and atmosphere,” senior Akilah James said. “We need to believe that we can win and that we beat some top teams in the country [already], so we do have that momentum.”
The four senior leaders are ready to bring their previous postseason experience to lead the Wildcats throughout the tournament. Seniors Lacey Smyth and Kim Stubbe are currently ranked the No. 46 and No. 108 players in singles play, respectively.
“All of us can definitely use that NCAA experience to our advantage,” Smyth said. “This is what we look forward to all year long, so I think we can just use these past experiences to move forward.”
Maes said a few regions are preferable to others, but that the team is ready to compete anywhere.
“We will likely be a two seed in the region and thus are expected to advance to the second round,” Maes said. “We cannot afford to look too far ahead, though, so we will find out who our first opponent is and gear all our efforts to being as best prepared as we can.”
—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20