ASU’s next three matches will be the last that it plays at Whiteman Tennis center until April.
The No. 21 ASU tennis team wraps up its seven-game home stand this weekend against Utah State, Saint Mary’s and No. 22 Memphis on Friday, Saturday and Monday.
Friday will mark the first time that Utah State (2-2) will visit Tempe and is also the first time the Aggies will leave their home state this season.
Friday will also be a bittersweet reunion of sorts for freshman Desirae Krawczyk. She will be playing doubles against two high school friends of hers, the Utah freshmen pairing of Ashley and Amber Stuhlmann.
“It’s going to be fun. I’m excited to see them. It’s been a while,” Krawczyk said.
However, when it comes to game time, she will put her friendship aside for a short while.
“It’s hard to play your friends, but you just have to go out and play your best,” Krawczyk said. “It’s common to play your friends, but if you want to win, you better (beat them).”
Utah State hasn’t played a lot of top-tier competition, but the Sun Devils’ two other opponents, Saint Mary’s (5-4, 2-0 WCC) and No. 22 Memphis (6-2), have.
The St. Mary’s Gaels and the Memphis Tigers have both beaten top-25 teams recently and should provide a good measuring stick for the No. 21 Sun Devils at this point in the season.
Saint Mary’s beat then-No. 7 Stanford on Stanford’s home court Feb. 16 and handed the Cardinal their third home loss in 14 years.
Memphis won five consecutive singles matches after losing the doubles point to beat No. 16 Virginia on Feb. 24.
“Any team that’s beaten Stanford at Stanford obviously is good, they’re deep,” head coach Sheila McInerney said of Saint Mary’s. “We don’t know as much about Memphis, (but) we’ll get more notes on them as the week goes on.”
The depth for the Gaels starts at the No. 1 position with the No. 24 singles player in the country, junior Jenny Jullien.
Senior Jacqueline Cako will look to even her record against top 25 singles players against Jullien. Cako is currently 0-1 against players ranked in the top 25.
While Cako will look to get back on the winning track against top players, sophomore Leighann Sahagun will be looking to get back to her winning ways in general.
After a hot 6-0 start to her season, Sahagun stumbled in her last two outings against Santa Clara and Pepperdine.
It was the loss to Santa Clara with which the Sahagun struggled.
“A week later it was still on my head, it really affected me so much. I hate losing,” Sahagun said. “I feel like I lost some of the edge I had since Miami.”
For Sahagun, the key to getting back to winning is changing the reason why she plays.
“I’m playing to win instead of playing not to lose. I have to remember that,” Sahagun said.
ASU’s Friday and Monday matches against Utah State and Memphis start at 1:30 p.m., and the Sun Devils’ Saturday match begins at noon.
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