No. 16 Men's Tennis Heads to Sweet 16, Faces Host No. 1 Georgia
May 14, 2001
NCAA REGIONALS IN REVIEW: The No. 16-ranked Cal men's tennis team (16-8, 4-3 Pac-10) traveled to Provo, Utah this weekend for the first two rounds of the NCAA championships, May 11-12. In their first match, Cal squared off with host and No. 67-ranked BYU. Cal and BYU began competition by splitting wins at No. 1 and 2 in doubles. Then at No. 3, BYU's Jeff Olsen and Jeff Harbach took the match, defeating Ben Miles and Balazs Veress in a tie-breaker, 9-8(7). After BYU took the doubles point, Cal won the first three singles points for a 3-1 lead. In the last three singles matches, the Cougars were up at No. 2 and No. 5, before Kowlalczyk sealed the victory at No. 4, winning a tie-breaker in the third set, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(3). Next, Cal would match up with No. 20-ranked Fresno State. California started the match by winning an exciting doubles point. Fresno State's Peter Luczak and David Mullins defeated Scott Kintz and Adrian Barnes at the top spot, while Berkeley's Ben Miles and Balazs Veress won at the No. 3 spot. With doubles tied, 1-1, Cal's John Paul Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk defeated Nick Fustar and Sean Cooper, 8-6 to take the point at the No. 2 court. In singles, Cal won at the No. 2 and 5 spots, while Fresno State won at the No. 1 and 3 courts, bringing the score to 3-2. The match was decided at the No. 6 spot, where Cal's Ben Miles defeated Alex Krohn, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, to give the Bears the 4-2 victory.
A LOOK AT NO. 1 GEORGIA: Currently the No. 1-ranked team in the country and the host site for the NCAA championships, are the Georgia Bulldogs (24-1, 14-0 SEC). With a pair of wins in the NCAA regionals in Athens last weekend, the Bulldogs stamped their ticket to the NCAA Championships for the 17th time in the last 18 years. In the first round, they shutout Furman, 4-0, before repeating the feat against Georgia Tech in the second round. No. 3-seed Georgia will square off against 14th-seed California on Saturday, May 19, at 2 p.m., in the round of 16. This is only the fifth meeting between the Bulldogs and the Golden Bears, with Cal holding a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series. The two last faced each other in the semifinals of the 1991 NCAA Championship with Georgia coming away with a 5-4 victory. Should Cal win on Saturday, they would face the winner of the Duke-Miami match.
BEARS ON A ROLL: With two wins in Provo, Utah, at the NCAA Regionals, the Cal men have tallied wins in six of their last seven contests. Their only blemish in the last seven matches came when the team fell to UCLA, 4-3, April 22. Before the loss, the Cal men's team was 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. Cal's duo of Ben Miles and Balazs Veress cruised to an easy 8-1 victory at No. 3, while 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 series sweep over USC in school history. 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 four weeks ago, and peaked among the Top 15 with No. 13 national ranking, April 23. 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. The Bears are currently the No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament.