The Arizona men's tennis team will send players to Tulsa, Okla., this weekend for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's All-American Championships. Senior Andres Arango, juniors Andres Carrasco and Jay Goldman, and sophomore Jason Zafiros will travel to Oklahoma to compete against elite college talent, as every player currently ranked in the ITA top 10 will be at the tournament.
Goldman comes in to the event ranked as the No. 36 player in the nation and will be playing in the main draw singles event, based on merit. Goldman looks forward to matches against some of the country's top players, as he sees it as beneficial to both him and the team.
""It's the most important tournament outside the NCAA's,"" he said. ""It's a good opportunity for us to get in some important matches and hopefully get through the early stages where competition gets better and better as you move through the tournament.""
Head coach Tad Berkowitz compared the tournament as the equivalent to a Grand Slam event in professional tennis and sees the championships as an event where Arizona can prove itself as a formidable opponent for the upcoming season.
""All of the best players and athletes in the country are going to be playing in this event, and it's important for us and the U of A to go represent ourselves the best we can,"" Berkowitz said.
""We had a very successful year last year finishing in the top 25 for the first time in years,"" he added, ""but this year we need to prove ourselves, and this is a great opportunity.""
The players also said they would make the most out of the fall tournaments to improve their skills.
""It's really important,"" Carrasco said. ""We are talented but definitely hard workers. It's crucial for us to see all the competition we can before the spring. I am excited.""
Play will start with the main draw event on Saturday. The tournament is single-elimination and will continue for Arizona based on the success of the Wildcat players.
Women take on two Calif. tournaments
The Arizona women's tennis team will compete in two different tournaments this weekend as they continue to build momentum towards the spring season.
Seniors Ariane Masschelein and Claire Rietsch, along with sophomore Debora Castany, will represent the Wildcats as they travel to San Diego State for the SDSU Fall Classic competitions lasting today through Sunday.
Masschelein is coming off a solid showing at the New Mexico Invitational last weekend, and she and her teammates will look to gain confidence this weekend in San Diego.
""The fall is a building block for the spring,"" assistant coach Ryan Stotland said. ""(The) girls develop their games the best they can and try to prove themselves on the court.""
The second tournament this weekend, held in Los Angeles, is the beginning of the All-American Pre-Qualification tournament, which will see sophomores Sarah Landsman and Natasha Marks compete for Arizona. The event is an invitation-only tournament that welcomes the best competition in the country.
Landsman, who also comes to the event after a strong performance in New Mexico, recognizes the importance of exposure to good talent early.
""I'm really looking forward to playing against all of the top players in the country,"" she said. ""I feel like it will get me really good experience and help get me ready for the upcoming season.""
The tournament kicks off on Saturday and will continue for Arizona depending on how many matches each player wins.
""The All-American Pre-Qual is obviously a strong tournament in the fall,"" Stotland added. ""We'd like to go there, see top college players and learn.""