Final Season Statistics and Awards
May 25, 2001
NCAA SWEET 16 IN REVIEW:
The No. 16-ranked Cal men's tennis team's run to the Sweet 16 was ended by host and eventual national champions Georgia, in Athens, GA. The Georgia Bulldogs, who defeated the Bears 4-0, made the win their third shutout in a row. The No. 14-seed Bears (16-9, 4-3 Pac-10) started off the day losing the doubles point at the top two courts, giving the Bulldogs the first team point of the afternoon. The Bears were outmatched in singles, as the No. 3 seed in the tournament took the first three singles points in the competition. No. 17-ranked John Paul Fruttero took No. 5-ranked Matias Boeker to a first set tie-breaker, yet could not rally to overcome Boeker. Fruttero ended up losing the match, 7-6(1), 6-4. The Bulldogs took the next point at the No. 2 court, where Adrian Barnes fell in straight sets to No. 8-ranked Bo Hodge, 6-3, 6-0. The fourth and final point of the day came at court No. 4, where Robert Kowalczyk fell to No. 47-ranked Chad Carlson, 6-4, 6-1. All six of the Bulldogs players in the singles lineup are ranked in the Top 60 by the ITA, including the top two spots, where Boeker and Hodge are ranked No. 5 and 8, respectively. In the individual portion of the tournament, Fruttero, who was the only player to represent the Bears, was knocked out in the first round by Middle Tennessee State's Daniel Klementz, 6-2, 7-5.
FINAL WINS AT REGIONALS:
Before losing to Georgia, the Bears grabbed two wins in Provo, Utah, at the NCAA Regionals. With the wins, Cal tallied victories in six of their last eight contests. Their only blemish before losing to Georgia 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, the big victory came at No. 1, where Fruttero went up against his nemesis and high school teammate, Andrew Park. The meetings between the two exceed double digits, yet Fruttero had never defeated Park. That would all change, as Fruttero took his first ever win over Park, doing so in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, helping the Bears grab their first series sweep over USC in school history. Cal ended the regular season winning six of its last nine matches.
HONORS AND AWARDS:
Freshman Balazs Veress earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors in addition to being named ITA Regional Rookie of the Year in 2001. Veress was also named to the Pac-10 Second Team All-Conference after finishing the season tied for second with a 20-14 record in singles, including a 9-7 mark at the No. 2 court for the Bears. In his first collegiate tournament, Veress advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Clay Court Championships, earning him a season-high No. 22 national ranking. Veress also tallied a team-high 13-3 dual match record in doubles with teammate Ben Miles. Sophomore John Paul Fruttero was named First Team All-Pac-10 after helping lead the Bears to their highest conference finish since 1995. Fruttero ended the season with a team and career-high 29-16 record in singles, including a 16-9 mark playing at the No. 1 court for the Bears. Fruttero garnered a career-high No. 7 national ranking in the fall after reaching the semifinals of the ITA All-American tournament, the first Cal player to do so since 1986. Fruttero finished the season ranked No. 17 in the country. Head coach Peter Wright was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2001 after leading the Bears to a 3rd-place finish in the conference, their highest since 1995. Wright also led the Bears to a 16-9 mark on the year, their highest finish since 1998. Wright, a graduate from Cal in 1986, also led the Bears to their first series sweep of USC in school history. Wright reached the 100-win plateau this season after defeating Fresno State in the second round of the NCAA Championships, and has compiled a 100-80 (.555) overall record after 8 years with the Bears.
A LOOK AT THE RANKINGS:
The No. 16-ranked Bears 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 at the beginning of April, 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 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 came to conference foes UCLA and Stanford, who were ranked in the top five for a majority of the season. The Bears gave No. 1 UCLA a scare, April 22, when they took the Bruins to the wire, losing, 4-3. The Bears entered the postseason as the No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and finished the year ranked No. 16.