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Thursday, August 21, 2014 | Last updated: 4:56pm

Arizona women's tennis faces Florida State to open NCAA tournament



No. 27 Arizona women’s tennis (17-5) will take on No. 37 Florida State (15-12) in Athens, Ga., on May 9 for its first round matchup of the NCAA Tournament.

This NCAA Regional selection marks the 22nd time in history the Wildcats have made the NCAAs and the eighth time for head coach Vicky Maes.

“We are thrilled to be heading to the tournament once again,” Maes said in a press release. “We have had a stellar year, and it’s only fitting that we are going to the toughest region in the country.”

If the Wildcats can get past the Seminoles, they will either play Elon (15-8) or Georgia (21-4), which is the No. 1 team overall. In the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament history, they have made one semifinal appearance and two quarterfinal appearances.

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By Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat
Arizona sophomore Shayne Austin hits the ball during the doubles match of Arizona's 4-2 win against ASU at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center on April 19. The Wildcats face Florida State this weekend in the opening match of the NCAA Tournament.

This season, Arizona’s five losses all came to teams ranked in the top 30, but the Wildcats have also defeated five ranked teams.

“I think we need to go into practice with the idea that we are going to play some really tough teams,” senior Kim Stubbe said. “I think it is important to focus on our strengths and things that we need to improve on in order to play our best in Georgia.”

Facing the Seminoles will be no easy feat. This will be the Seminoles’ eighth consecutive NCAA appearance and the first time that these two teams have played each other since 1994. Florida State head coach Jennifer Hyde is in her 10th season on the job and even took the Seminoles all the way to their first-ever Sweet Sixteen in 2010.

Florida State juniors Daneika Borthwick and Kerrie Cartwright make up the No. 30 doubles ranked pairing, and Cartwright is also ranked No. 120 in singles. Yet the Wildcats have their fair share of ranked players in senior No. 45 Lacey Smyth, freshman No. 79 Lauren Marker and No. 106 Stubbe.

“We’ll be facing a really challenging first round against FSU, but we’re very excited with this matchup,” Maes said. “We play our best when we know it is going to be a battle.”

— Zoe Wolkowitz contributed reporting to this article

—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20


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