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ASU women's tennis enters Pac-12 play strong, eyes conference title

The Sun Devils ride a three-game win streak entering Friday's matchup versus Washington

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ASU junior Domenika Turkovic prepares to hit the ball against Kansas State at the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. ASU won 4-1.

ASU women’s tennis is exactly where it wants to be heading into conference play after a 7-2 start to the season.

The team has yet to lose consecutive matches this season and concluded non-conference play with three straight wins, including a tight 4-3 win against Kansas.

“I think we’re in a really good position,” senior Domenika Turkovic said. “There have been results all over the place so far and I think we have a really good team that can go far.”

ASU's only two losses have been against No. 7 Oklahoma State and against No. 11 Auburn, who defeated ASU 4-3.

And competition won’t get much easier for the No. 17 Sun Devils. Only two teams in the Pac-12 have records .500 or below, and five teams have suffered two or fewer losses. Cal and UCLA are both ranked ahead of ASU, and USC is ranked four spots behind. 

ASU will begin Pac-12 play without sophomore Marianna Argyrokastriti, who suffered a foot injury. Argyrokastriti has not played since ASU's loss against Oklahoma State.

Turkovic said the injury served as a "wake-up call" for the team. ASU has only lost one game since Argyrokastriti's injury.

ASU's roster across the board has performed well. Senior Cali Jankowski has gone 2-1 since moving up from the five to the four spot in singles after going 4-0 in the five spot. Sophomore Giulia Morlet, who has been starting at the one spot all season, has won two of her last three matches against ranked singles opponents.

“(Morlet is) really is fighting,” Turkovic said. “She’s giving everything she has. She’s fighting for Marianna (Argyrokastriti) and the whole team.”  

Freshman Patricija Spaka has dominated non-conference play and looks to carry the momentum on throughout the season. The Latvia native is undefeated in singles (8-0) and doubles (4-0) with her partner Turkovic. 

“I just want to show my best every single time I play on the court,” Spaka said. “It's really hard and tough being like only five or six players, but we are showing good results.”

Head coach Sheila McInerney praised Spaka's recent performance, calling her a "mainstay in our lineup." 

“(Spaka) doesn’t care where she plays," McInerney said. "She started out at number six and it didn’t really bother her.”

The Sun Devils kick-off conference play on March 4 at 1:30 p.m. in Tempe against No. 33 Washington. 

“The goal for the conference tournament is to make the finals,” Turkovic said. “We want those rings.”

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