Women's tennis trio prepares for NCAA tourney

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Emily Gauci | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona women's tennis player Lauren Marker hits a forehand during Arizona's 5-2 loss to USC at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center on April 3. Marker is among three Wildcats competing in the NCAA Championships taking place May 20-25.

Arizona’s women’s tennis team concluded its regular season with three players being selected to participate in the NCAA Championships in both singles and doubles, despite the team as a whole finishing in eighth place in the Pac-12 Conference at 13-8 overall.

Sophomore Lauren Marker will play in singles, while senior Briar Preston and junior Shayne Austin will play in the doubles competition.

Marker is ranked No. 55 in the country, while the Preston and Austin tandem is ranked No. 27 heading into the tournament. The NCAA Championships begin on May 20 in Waco, Texas.  

“I was so excited and can’t even explain, but I was lucky enough to be with my coaches and close friends when I got the news, which made it even more special,” Marker said. “Making it to NCAAs individually has been a huge goal of mine since before coming to college. Reaching this goal of mine has made me want to work even harder to reach my other goals.”

Marker also played in the tournament as a freshman when the Wildcats took on Florida State in the first round of the team event.

She said she hopes to keep improving on her tennis and fitness before traveling to compete in the tournament to make sure she is completely ready.

Marker was also named an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.

“It’s always nice to be recognized by the conference,” Marker said, “especially the Pac-12 Conference, since it is such a prestigious and elite conference. It’s an honor.”

Marker said she’s going to keep working hard on and off the court while keeping her focus on the tournament and getting match ready.

She has played in the No. 1 spot all year and has six victories against nationally ranked opponents, which was the most on the team this season. Marker has an overall record of 23-9 this season and went 16-5 in dual play.

In just 15 days, she competed against four players ranked in the top 11 of the ITA polls. Marker went on to defeat the 11th-ranked Giuliana Olmos out of the top-ranked USC.

Marker has an overall record of 38-14 in singles play through her first two seasons at Arizona.

Marker is tied with Preston for the most conference match victories this season with five.

The doubles team of Preston and Austin finished the season with an overall record of 13-7 and went 3-3 against nationally-ranked teams, further validating the strength of their season.

The three nationally-ranked victories consisted of then-No. 2 Taylor Davidson and Carol Zhao from Stanford, then-No. 5 Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr from California and then-No. 23 Jennifer Brady and Robin Anderson from UCLA. 

Last year, Austin and Marker both competed in postseason play, but this year will be Preston’s first year.

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