The Daily Evergreen

Tennis takes a trip to Arizona for pair of matches

WSU has best overall record in Pac-12 with five matches remaining

Sophomore+Guzal+Yusupova+plays+in+a+match+against+Eastern+Washington+on+Feb.+24+at+Hollingbery+Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Guzal Yusupova plays in a match against Eastern Washington on Feb. 24 at Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

Sophomore Guzal Yusupova plays in a match against Eastern Washington on Feb. 24 at Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ | Daily Evergreen File

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ | Daily Evergreen File

Sophomore Guzal Yusupova plays in a match against Eastern Washington on Feb. 24 at Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

SAM HEIKELL, Evergreen reporter

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After sweeping two opponents at home, No. 34 WSU tennis will travel to the desert to face Arizona State University and University of Arizona.

With the best overall record in the Pac-12 and a tie for the second best conference record, the Cougars (19-2, 4-1) have been dominating opponents all season, tallying 12 sweeps on the year.

But Head Coach Lisa Hart said the team still has room to improve.

“We’re playing really well as a team. I think every spot is contributing, which is great,” Hart said. “But I actually think we can play better. The next five matches are going to be a little bit tougher than what we’ve been used to, so we need to step up our game a little bit.”

Arizona State (11-5, 3-2) currently sits fifth in the conference standings, coming off a sweep against University of California, Berkley, on Saturday. While Arizona (9-10, 0-5) has fallen to the bottom of the conference standings and is riding a three-match losing streak.

Even though the Cougars have been soaring all season, they will play on back-to-back days in some of the hottest weather the team has seen all year, Hart said, so this weekend will be no easy test.

“They’re both really good teams and it’s really hot down there, so we need to be ready to play,” Hart said. “I think the doubles is going to be really important in both matches. It’s a tough place to play.”

Following their last win against University of Colorado, Boulder, the Cougars have now won the doubles point in 18 of their 21 matches this season.

Hart said the success in doubles is due to a team comradery the Cougars have developed.

“They’re really working well together,” Hart said. “They’re following the game plan and just finding a way to win.”

With the end of the regular season nearing, WSU is looking to build some momentum to carry into the Pac-12 Tournament and, hopefully, a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

But right now, Hart said, the team is focused on finishing the season on a high note.

“We want to go to the NCAA tournament and see what we can do there,” Hart said. “We need to be in the top 40 to be comfortable that we’re going to get in, and this week we’re 34th, so we can’t have any off matches.”

WSU will take on the Sun Devils 1:30 p.m. Friday in Tempe, then make the short trip south to face the Wildcats at noon Saturday in Tucson.

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Tennis takes a trip to Arizona for pair of matches