January 26, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. - With Pac-10 play just on the horizon, the Washington State tennis team prepares for its most challenging weekend of all to start the season off.
The Cougars, ranked No. 52 in the nation, will match wits against No. 5 Stanford Friday, Jan. 29 and No. 4 California Saturday, Jan. 30. Both are top conference opponents as well as regional opponents. The Stanford and Cal roster combined is home to five of the nation's top 50 doubles teams and 10 of the top 100 singles players in the country.
"There is no doubt they will be two of the toughest duals of the year, but we are using that to our advantage," WSU coach Cari Groce said. "Playing at that level right away will make it that much easier when we come up against opponents in the following weeks."
WSU remains winless against both schools with Stanford (0-5) and Cal (0-4) holding the edge. The Cougars saw the same schedule format last year, with the Cardinal and Golden Bears headlining its opening weekend of the spring season.
The Pac-10 Indoors on Jan. 8-11 gave the Cougars a chance to scout out some of this week's opponents along with the conference in general. Overall, the Pac-10 has eight of its nine tennis participating schools ranked among the nation's top 75 teams.
"The gap between the (Pac-10) teams has gotten so small and that's due in part to our players' ability level and their confidence," Groce said. "It was very exciting to see WSU and UW competing at indoors and defeating a lot of players from those teams."
The Cougars meet the Cardinal at 1:30 p.m. and Cal at Noon.
"Everything is in place for our team," Groce said. "If we want it bad enough, we'll make it happen."
Tennis NotesSophomore Erica Perkins (Seattle, Wash.) and freshman Sarah Burrows (Lakewood, Colo.) are currently No. 50 in the nation in doubles competitionWSU coach Cari Groce will be on the Tuesday press conference call at 1:45 p.m.