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Tennis hopes to end seasons strong

Men hope for tourney spot; Women seek respect

 by Kyle Odegard
 published on Friday, April 16, 2004

Sophomore Daniel Davies serves the ball during a doubles match against NAU on Wednesday afternoon at the Whiteman Tennis Center. the Sun Devils won 7-0./issues/sports/662833
Sophomore Daniel Davies serves the ball during a doubles match against NAU on Wednesday afternoon at the Whiteman Tennis Center. the Sun Devils won 7-0.
 

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After experiencing more than their fair shares of ups and downs, the ASU men's and women's tennis teams' regular seasons are coming to a close.

The Sun Devils will conclude their schedules with matches against UA on Saturday. The men will host the Wildcats at the Whiteman Tennis Center, while the women will travel down to Tucson.

Currently on the bubble with a 9-11 record for the year, a win over the Wildcats would greatly enhance the men's chances of making the NCAA Tournament.

"Everybody's excited to play, that's for sure," ASU men's coach Lou Belken said. "UA's having a good season, and we look forward to competing against them. I expect a good match."

After a season full of various injuries, the Sun Devils should have their full team on hand for the match against the Wildcats.

Senior Chris Stewart will be back at full strength following a strained neck that limited him to doubles action against NAU on Wednesday. Junior Andy Colombo is still hampered by a recurring right elbow injury, but is expected to play against UA.

ASU has played well as of late, defeating California and NAU in its last two matches by a combined 13-1 score. The Sun Devils did not drop a single set to the Lumberjacks.

"We're having a good late season press," freshman Nick Hegarty said.

In the team's only other match against UA, the Sun Devils lost 6-1 on March 27 in Tucson.

The women's team is trying to end its season on a high note after struggling through a tough 2004 campaign.

The women have lost their last three matches and hold a record of just 6-13 and 1-6 in the Pac-10.

ASU came into the season ranked No. 19, but inexperience and a tough schedule led to a difficult campaign. The team has struggled in close matches, with five of their last eight losses coming by just one point.

Last time out, the women hit the road to face No. 1 Stanford and No. 11 California. The Sun Devils had a rough weekend, falling 7-0 to the Cardinal and 6-1 to the Golden Bears.

ASU played UA in February, falling 5-2 at home in a match that did not count toward Pac-10 standings. Freshman Sabrina Capannolo and junior Lauren Colalillo were the only players with victories against the Wildcats.

UA's record is very similar to that of ASU, as the Wildcats are 5-12 overall and 1-6 in conference play. Both teams beat Washington State for their lone Pac-10 win.

Following the UA matches, both tennis teams will participate in the Pac-10 Championships from April 22-25 in Ojai, Calif.

Reach the reporter at Kyle.Odegard@asu.edu.



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