No. 16 Men's Tennis Prepares for NCAA Regional Championships
April 30, 2001
PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS IN REVIEW: The No. 16-ranked Cal men's tennis team (14-8, 4-3 Pac-10) traveled to Ojai, CA this weekend to play for individual titles, in addition to score points for the team in the Pac-10 Championships, April 26-29. Eight singles players and four doubles teams combined to play in the tournament's two brackets: the Pac-10 Championship tournament and the Invitational Tournament. In the Pac-10 Championships, John Paul Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk advanced to the quarterfinals of the 32-player singles draw before falling to Stanford and UCLA opponents, respectively. Both doubles teams in the Pac-10 draw fell in the quarterfinals of the 16-team draw. In the Invitational Tournament, Cal's duo of Ben Miles and Balazs Veress reached the semifinals after one win and a bye in the first round, yet lost to UCLA, 8-4. For the Invitational singles players, three of four advanced to the second round, however the remaining three fell in the Round of 16, including senior Erik Dmytruk, who fell to UCLA's Derrick Nguyen, 6-4, 6-4. The Bears will now focus on the NCAA Regional Championships, which will take place May 12-13. A location is still pending.
BEARS TOOK FOUR IN A ROW: Before falling to UCLA, 4-3, April 22, the Cal men's team were riding a four-match winning streak, all of which were played at the Hellman Tennis Courts. The Bears started it off with a sweep of the Arizona schools, April 13-14, before taking on Pepperdine, April 16. Pepperdine had recently dropped from No. 7 to No. 12 in the rankings, yet the Bears gathered up their strengths in singles to upset the Waves and grab a 4-3 victory. In the Bears 4-2 win over USC, April 21, Cal switched up the doubles teams, as seniors Scott Kintz and Erik Dmytruk grabbed a tough win for the Bears at the No. 2 spot, defeating Parker Collins and Andrew Park, 8-6. Cal's duo of Ben Miles and Balazs Veress cruised to an easy 8-1 victory at No. 3. In singles, the big victory came at No. 1, where Fruttero went up against his nemesis and high school teammate, Andrew Park. Fruttero has competed against Park numerous times, matching up with him in junior national competitions, collegiate tournaments and in April 6th's matchup in Los Angeles. The meetings between the two exceed double digits, yet Fruttero has never won a single contest against Park. That would all change, as Fruttero took his first ever win over Park, doing so in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Fruttero's play gave the Bears an added boost and helped propel the team past USC, giving Cal its first sweep over USC in school history. Cal's other two singles points came at No. 4, where Kowalczyk won, 6-0, 6-1, and at No. 6 where red-hot Ben Miles won, 6-3, 6-2. Cal ended the regular season winning six of its last nine matches, including four in a row at the Hellman Tennis Courts.
A LOOK AT THE RANKINGS: The No. 16-ranked Bears have had considerable success against teams with high rankings, and made a considerable jump in the rankings during a two-week stretch. The Bears were ranked No. 26 just two weeks ago, and last week sat among the Top 15 with No. 13 national ranking. On April 6, Cal handed No. 18-ranked USC a 4-2 defeat in Los Angeles. Cal repeated the feat April 21, when they handed the No. 18-ranked Trojans a 4-2 defeat at the Hellman Tennis Courts. On April 16, Cal upset then No. 12-ranked Pepperdine in Berkeley, defeating the Waves, 4-3, behind four wins in singles. The Bears biggest win came on March 17, when Cal defeated No. 8-ranked Southern Methodist in Indian Wells, 4-3, after winning the doubles point and three singles matches at No. 3, 4 and 5. Despite a loss to No. 4-ranked Texas Christian, March 27, and a season-opening loss at No. 16 Washington, the Bears only major losses have come to conference foes UCLA and Stanford, who have been ranked in the top five for a majority of the season. The Bears gave UCLA a scare, April 22, when they took the Bruins to the wire, losing to the No. 1 team in the country, 4-3.
CAL TAKES 3RD PLACE IN PAC-10: Cal solidified a third place finish in the Pac-10 with a 4-3 conference record. The last time the Bears finished the conference in the top three dates back six years to 1995, when the Bears tied for 3rd in the conference with a 5-5 Pac-10 record. That year, the Bears ended their season in the Round of 16 at the NCAA championships, while garnering a No. 13 national ranking at the end of the season. It was the second year with Head Coach Peter Wright at the helm, who in the year before, was named Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year for guiding the Bears to the postseason after Cal had missed the Big Dance the previous two seasons.