ASU tennis to begin Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday

The Sun Devils will look to carry some late-season momentum into the postseason as a four seed in the Pac-12 tourney.

After winning 11 of their final 12 matches to end the season, it's tournament time for ASU tennis.

The No. 22 Sun Devils arrived in Ojai, California, on Wednesday for the Pac-12 tournament after wrapping up their regular season with a 7-0 sweep over in-state rival Arizona last Saturday. The Sun Devils finished the year 8-2 in conference play to earn the four seed in the tournament behind Stanford, USC and California, respectively.

"I just think the kids are really excited to get out there," head coach Sheila McInerney said. "It's something we've been working toward all year, so we'll be ready to go."

Unlike some of the other major conferences across the country, the Pac-12 does not have a team tournament for women's tennis. Instead, players compete individually in singles and doubles play for the conference crown. In the singles draw, 32 players are selected from across the conference. The top 10 teams in the standings are each awarded three participants, while the team finishing last is only allotted two. Seeding of the players is then decided based on where their respective teams placed during the regular season.

The doubles competition will consist of 16 participants. Each of the 11 teams will be represented by one pairing, with the final five spots being decided by the draw committee. Junior Kassidy Jump, who has participated in both singles and doubles at the Pac-12 tournament during her career, said the transition from team play can be a difficult one.

"It almost feels lonely in a way," she said. "We're all spread out, so you don't have the whole team right there cheering you on like you usually do."

Although the draw has yet to be made, ASU will send out its top three players for the singles competition. Seniors Desirae Krawczyk and Ebony Panoho will participate in singles along with Jump. Krawczyk comes into the weekend ranked 28th in the latest ITA singles poll, while Jump as broken into the rankings once again at No. 119.

In doubles, ASU will be represented by the 22nd-ranked duo of Panoho and junior Alexandra Osborne. Although the pairing lost just three times all season, they'll look to rebound after falling to Arizona's top tandem of Lauren Marker and Shayne Austin last weekend. Krawczyk and fellow senior Stephanie Vlad will also be under consideration for one of the five pairings decided by the draw committee.

First round play will begin Thursday from the Ojai Valley Athletic Club, with Sunday's finals to be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. Krawczyk said the tournament will be a good measuring stick to show the rest of the conference exactly what they are capable of.

"It's a great opportunity because you get to go up against the best the Pac-12 has to offer," she said. "We've built up some good momentum coming down the stretch, so obviously we want to keep that going, even if it is individually."

Related links:

ASU tennis spoils senior day for Arizona with 7-0 sweep

ASU tennis to face Arizona in Pac-12 finale

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