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Women's tennis hits the road to face Cal, Stanford

April 02, 2009

No. 21 Arizona State Women's Tennis hits the road to face No. 8 Cal, No. 10 Stanford Devils seek to remain undefeated in conference play The 21st ranked ASU Women's Tennis team will do battle with two top-10 conference opponents this week: No. 8 Cal on Friday, April 3 at 1:30 p.m. and No. 10 Stanford at noon the following day.

About the Teams
The Sun Devils (10-4, 3-0 Pac-10) head to the bay area confident, coming off a stellar win that saw them trump No. 39 Sacramento State in a 6-1 decision. Among the Devils' arsenal this week will be No. 3 Kelcy McKenna, a consistent performer who is 11-1 on the dual season, playing every match on the No. 1 court. The Devils will also look to No. 53 Nadia Abdala who has dropped only two matches this season and upset three nationally ranked players: USC's Sarah Fansler (then No. 22), UCLA's Andrea Remynse (then 27th) and Cal's Mari Andersson (No. 42). The team also boasts two ranked doubles teams: No. 13 Kelcy McKenna and Micaela Hein and No. 71, sisters Laila and Nadia Abdala. McKenna/Hein are 16-6 overall this season, while the Abdala sisters are holding their own at 12-8.

Eighth ranked Cal (12-4, 3-1 Pac-10) enters into Friday's match confident after a strong 6-1 win over UCLA last week. The team has an astounding five players ranked in the nation's top 50: No. 10 Jana Juricova (9-3), No. 21 Bojana Bobusic (15-1), No. 25 Marina Cossou (2-4), No. 42 Mari Andersson (11-3) and No. 47 Claire Ilcinkas (12-4). Andersson and Bobusic are also undefeated in the Pac-10 this season, both holding 4-0 records. The Golden Bears also have a strong doubles lineup starting with No. 6 Mari Andersson and Jana Juricova (10-1, 3-0 Pac-10), followed up by No. 20 Claire Ilcinkas and Marina Cossou, and No. 38 Bojana Bobusic and Jana Juricova. While all are strong teams, Ilcinkas and Cossou have yet to win a Pac-10 matchup this season.

On March 13 the Devils faced Cal in non-conference play, falling 5-2 at home. Cal's Jana Juricova handed Kelcy McKenna her only loss of the dual season. However, Nadia Abdala rallied back to upset 42nd ranked Mari Andersson in singles action.

Like Cal, the No. 10 Stanford Cardinal (12-3, 3-1 Pac-10) will by no means be short on talent Saturday when they square off against the Sun Devils. No. 11 Hilary Barte is 15-1 in dual play, seeing all of her action on the No. 1 court. No. 83 Jessica Nguyen (12-3 duals) has won seven consecutive matches and will undoubtedly be looked to this weekend to help lead the Cardinal after losing 5-2 to in-state rivals USC last week. Stanford also boasts two ranked doubles teams: No. 11 Lindsay Burdette and Hilary Barte, as well as No. 57Carolyn McVeigh and Jessica Nguyen.

Although the teams have not met in dual play this season, Stanford overcame the Maroon and Gold 6-1 in their last meeting on March 8, 2008.

Up Next
The team returns to home action next weekend for back-to-back matchups against two southern California schools. On Friday, April 10th they will match up against the UCLA Bruins at 1:30 p.m. The following day they will suit up to take on the USC Women of Troy--Head Coach Sheila McInerney's alma mater--at noon. Both games will take place in Tempe at ASU's Whiteman Tennis Center.

Legends of the Fall
The Fall 2008 season saw ASU dominating competition at the Cal Nike Invitational, where sophomore Kelcy McKenna took home the ITA Singles Gold crown as well as the ITA Doubles Gold title with teammate Micaela Hein. ASU also collected its third ITA All-American in two years with McKenna.

Double Duty
The 2009 season has seen exciting doubles action from Arizona State, with the return of partners Micaela Hein and Kelcy McKenna, who finished with an impressive 17-4 overall record in 2008. They have lost only one match, holding at 6-1 record on the season. Senior Laila Abdala will also pair up for a final season with her sister, junior Nadia Abdala. The sisters will be in quest of success after posting 10 wins last season.

To Be the Best...
The Sun Devils have traditionally played one of the most rigorous schedules in the nation and this season has been no different. The team has been tested with a mixture of strong non-conference play and strenuous Pac-10 matchups, including this week's contest against two top-10 teams.

Where They Stack Up
Last year, the Sun Devils finished the season ranked at No. 23 posting a 15-8 overall record, a fourth place conference finish and making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Arizona State is currently ranked 21st with four returning letter winners and powerhouse Kelcy McKenna, coming in at No. 3 in the nation.

At The Helm
Coach Sheila McInerney enters her 25th season at the helm of the Sun Devil program. In 2008, she led the team to a university record 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance following a winning 15-8 season. Those wins saw ASU upset NCAA Champion UCLA, as well as conquer Stanford for the first time in program history.