No. 11 Cal Travels to National Event in Kentucky
Feb. 5, 2002
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After spending the entire fall competing in tournaments away from Berkeley, Cal is once again back on the road, heading 2,000 miles across the country to compete in the National Team Indoors. The tournament opens on Thursday, with No. 6 Illinois as the Bears' first challengers. In their brief homestand, the Bears opened their season 2-0, throttling Saint Mary's by a score of 6-0, and then dropping No. 75 Santa Clara by a 4-3 mark.
THE SKINNY ON THE NATIONAL TEAM INDOORS: The tournament is hosted jointly by the University of Kentucky and the Louisville Tennis Club, and begins on Thursday, February 7. Competition runs through Sunday, February 10. The top 11 teams in the country will be in attendance, including Pac-10 rivals No. 2 Stanford, No. 12 USC and No. 3 UCLA among the 16 team field. No. 7 Pepperdine and No. 52 San Diego State will also represent California at the tournament. For complete coverage of the tournament and team previews, point your browser to the official Intercollegiate Tennis Association website at: www.itatennis.com.
BEARS AT THE INDOORS: Cal has a record of 20-15 at the event, which draws some of the best competition in the nation. The Bears were crowned champions of the tournament in 1980 and 1989, and have competed a total of 11 times. Cal will be making its first appearance since 1992.
ABOUT ILLINOIS: Illinois is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation, with a 1-0 start to this season. Their top players include Phil Stolt, Brian Wilson and Amer Delic. Delic made a name for himself on the national scene by reaching the semi-finals this fall at the ITA All-American championships. The Illini are 10-7 in five stints at the Indoors, including a pair of final appearances in 1998 and 1999. In their only match together, Cal defeated Illinois by a 5-2 mark in 1997.
LAST WEEK AGAINST SAINT MARY'S AND SANTA CLARA: Cal (2-0) opened its season Saturday, spending the morning beating up on Saint Mary's, 6-0, and then finishing off Santa Clara in the afternoon by a score of 4-3. Wetness on the courts delayed the match with the Gaels (1-2) on most of the courts for almost an hour. Cal freshman Balazs Veress was able to start his match on the number one court against Frank Schmitt first, and consequently got the first victory of the season, 6-1, 6-3. That match started a trend, which saw Cal win all 12 sets played against Saint Mary's, as the Bears cruised to the win. Freshmen Conor Niland and Mik Ledvonova also shined for Cal. Niland ousted Arturo Planell on the No. 2 court, 6-1, 6-0, and Ledvonova dropped Filip Sarovic 6-1, 6-3. Doubles were not played.
Cal coach Peter Wright rotated his players throughout the day, with 11 out of 12 Bear tennis players seeing action on opening day. Cal opened its match with the Broncos (2-2) by taking the doubles point in three hard-fought battles. In the top singles court, John Paul Fruttero, who rejoined the team after playing in professional events during the fall, defeated Bronco freshman Chris Lam in a pair of 6-3 sets. Veress, who was the only Bear to play three matches on the day, lost on the second court, 6-4, 7-5. Niland once again performed superbly, defeating Taylor Gedillion, 6-2, 6-0. Niland, who played in two singles matches, only lost a total of three sets on the afternoon.
11TH-RANKED: Despite the overall inexperience of the roster, Cal's play in the fall did not go unnoticed by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Bears open up their season ranked a stone's throw away from the top 10 in the country, checking in at No. 11. This is a five-position jump for Cal, which finished last season at the 16th spot.