W-tennis jumpstarts in San Diego games
The Arizona women's tennis team started the weekend off right on Friday at the San Diego State University Fall Classic with strong efforts from sophomore Debora Castany and seniors Arianne Masschelein and Claire Rietsch.
All three enjoyed first-round victories, with Rietsch winning her match on Friday in straight sets against Cal State Northridge's Amira Massi (6-0, 6-0) and then defeating SDSU's Naseem Eslami (3-6, 6-3, 7-6) on Saturday. She carried the momentum into Sunday by winning her match against University of San Diego's Laura Claus (3-6, 6-2, 10-8), capping off her impressive weekend performance.
""I was extremely pleased with Claire Rietsch this weekend,"" head coach Vicky Maes said. ""She played smart tennis and kept her cool, even when things got close.
""It's great to see her enjoy herself and find ways to win,"" she added. ""She is an important part of the team and her senior leadership can go a long way.""
Masschelein won her match on Friday by default, as her opponent Marite Raygada of SDSU was forced to retire during the first set. She was then able to take care of business on Saturday against Emma Cioffi of SDSU. Masschelein was not able to capitalize on Sunday as SDSU's Sarah Ellison handed her a straight-set defeat by the score of 6-3, 6-3.
Castany continued to develop her game by defeating USD's Alexandra Demidova 7-6(7), 6-3 on Friday. But she was not able to walk away with a win on Saturday as she fell to the Aztecs' Julia Trunk or on Sunday, when she lost to Raygada 6-3, 6-2.
In doubles, Castany teamed up with Rietsch to take down Cal State Northridge's squad 8-6 on Friday before coming out on top again on Saturday against an SDSU pair. The Wildcat tandem was not able to defeat a Cal State Northridge duo on Sunday, losing 8-1.
In the second tournament of the weekend, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships in Los Angeles, sophomore Sarah Landsman left everything on the court on Saturday, falling just short against Duke's Monica Gorny in sets of 4-6, 6-1 and 6-4. The tournament featured college tennis's finest players, and despite the loss, Maes was pleased with the effort she saw out of Landsman.
""Sarah played a hard-fought match against one of the best up-and-coming players in the U.S. She has learned a lot in the past year but still needs to work on pressing her aggressive play when things get a little tight,"" Maes said. ""Fortunately, we still have a lot of match-play this fall where she can continue to gain experience and confidence.""
Maes reiterated the mantra of gaining experience and confidence to ensure that, come the spring season, the Wildcat women's tennis team will be a fierce competitor in the Pacific 10 Conference.
""Overall, I am pleased with the progress and the effort,"" she added. ""We have a ways to go, but the team is working hard and taking steps forward every day.""
Sophomore, junior men make mark in Oklahoma
The Arizona men's tennis team traveled to Tulsa, Okla., this weekend, matching up against the class of college tennis at the ITA All-American Championships. After playing against tough competition, the Wildcats still have much to learn.
""We had a good year last year,"" head coach Tad Berkowitz said. ""But one thing we need to work on is learning how to play with a target on our backs and understand that this fall so that we are ready for it in the spring.""
Junior Andres Carrasco and sophomore Jason Zafiros came out firing on Saturday, winning both of their matches in straight sets to begin the pre-qualification rounds. Carrasco defeated Southern Methodist University's Tobias Flood (6-2, 6-0) while Zafiros advanced with a 6-1, 6-3 victory.
But, as promised, the Wildcats ran into tough competition on Sunday. Carrasco matched up against Western Michigan's Michael Calderone, where he was able to win the first set before dropping the last two for a final line of 3-6, 6-3, 10-2.
""Regardless, I thought he competed well,"" Berkowitz said. ""I thought he played much better tennis than he did last week at the Pepperdine event.""
Zafiros went head-to-head with Tucker Vorster of Ole Miss University, who handed him a 6-3, 6-3 defeat.
Junior Jay Goldman, ranked No. 36 in the nation, will play in the Main Draw event, which is slated to begin play on Oct. 8.
Although Carrasco and Zafiros would have liked to advance to the qualification rounds to meet their teammate, they can return home from the prestigious tournament with victories and the confidence that they can compete with anyone in the country.