ASU tennis to play two top-25 teams

The Sun Devils are holding onto the possibility of winning out and potentially hosting a match in the NCAA tournament.

ASU tennis is the winner of nine straight matches and has just one loss in conference play, but the team still has plenty of work to do as the season winds down to a close.

The No. 26 Sun Devils will get started on that work this weekend when they head to Los Angeles for arguably the toughest road trips of the season. The team will face No. 23 UCLA Friday before a tough turnaround against No. 24 USC the following day.

"Those two teams are both perennial powers not just in the Pac-12, but nationally," head coach Sheila McInerney said. "We're going to have to play really well on the road, and we've done that this season so I think the kids are excited."

Both matches this weekend will have a huge impact on the Pac-12 standings. ASU, UCLA and Stanford each have only one loss in conference play. They sit at third, fourth and fifth place in the conference, respectively.

The Trojans of USC have yet to drop a decision in the conference, defeating all five opponents they've played. They're in second place, behind only 17-0 Cal.

The Sun Devils are coming off two victories last weekend, capped by a 6-1 win over No. 62 Washington State on senior day at the ASU Whiteman Tennis Center. Although ASU took both matches fairly easily, junior Kassidy Jump struggled to find her game amidst the celebration, suffering the lone defeat for the team in both matches. Coming into the weekend ranked 66th nationally, Jump fell out of the rankings in the latest ITA singles poll. Jump said that while she may not have played her best tennis, the team is clicking at the right time.

"This isn't an individual thing, it's a team thing," Jump said. "I just think our team has gotten so much closer tennis-wise after that Stanford win. No matter who's winning we're taking care of business."

While Jump will look to rediscover her game this weekend, fellow teammate Stephanie Vlad has seemingly found hers. Vlad dominated during her senior weekend, picking up two wins in straight sets in what were most likely the final home matches of her career. The Scottsdale native has now won five consecutive singles matches since an up and down return from a foot injury that kept her out for two weeks.

ASU will play each of its final three regular season matches on the road, finishing against in-state rival Arizona after the two matches this weekend. The Sun Devils have all but wrapped up a berth in the NCAA tournament, and still hold out hope for hosting a match in regional play.

"The goal is to keep getting better," said senior Desirae Krawczyk. "If we do that then we'll be ready for the Pac-12 tournament and NCAAs, which is when you want to be playing your best tennis."

Related links:

Seniors lead ASU tennis past Washington State in final home match

ASU tennis wins its eighth straight game


Reach the reporter at mfaye@asu.edu or follow @mattGfaye on Twitter.

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