No. 20 Cal Opens Up Pac-10 Play with Washington, Oregon
March 25, 2002
RAIN STOPS, BEARS SET TO PLAY THREE: The well-rested Bears will get back on the courts this week after ten days off to take on BYU on Tuesday, and will stay at Hellman through the weekend to face challengers Washington and Oregon in their Pac-10 opener. Cal's record remains at 10-3 after rain washed out last Friday's scheduled match against the Clemson Tigers. The match will not be made up.
BEARS EXTEND WINNING STREAK TO SIX: Cal extended its winning streak to six matches, including eight of its last nine, against SMU on Saturday. The winning streak is the longest that the Bears have experienced since 1998, when they opened up the season by reeling off seven straight victories. In that season, Cal finished the year ranked No. 11 by the ITA, which is the highest finish in head coach Peter Wright's tenure. The Bears also advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 that season.
DANGEROUS DANE: Freshman sensation Mik Ledvonova continues to wow Bear faithful and opponents alike with his mature play and dominance on the court. Since joining Cal two months ago, Ledvonova has posted a record of 7-1 in dual matches, and has dominated in the second half of the singles lineup. Ledvonova picked up a key victory for the Bears against Stanford, and most recently, dispatched SMU's Eric Cohn in a straight set victory last Saturday, winning 6-2, 6-4.
ABOUT BYU: The Cougars are 6-5 entering this week's west-coast trip, and are currently ranked No. 62 by the ITA. BYU is led by Gert Vilms on the top court, with an 11-3 dual record. Vilms combines with Carlos Lozano to form the tenth-ranked doubles tandem in the country this season. The last time that Cal and BYU met, the 16th-ranked Bears took down the No. 76 Cougars at the NCAA Regionals by a score of 4-1. Cal has the advantage in the lifetime series between the two, with a 14-3 record.
ABOUT WASHINGTON: Cal's match with Washington marks the opening of Pac-10 play for both teams this season. The 26th-ranked Huskies opened up the season by winning 13 straight, but have lost their last two en route to a 13-2 record. Washington has been propelled this season by freshman Alex Vlaski, the ITA's 39th-ranked player, who has posted a 14-3 singles record since joining the team. While Cal owns a 24-4 lifetime series record over UW, the Huskies had the last laugh in 2001 by taking a 4-3 upset in Seattle last January.
ABOUT OREGON: In Cal's second Pac-10 match of the season, the Bears will take on the 11-2 Ducks of Oregon. UO sports a ranking of 52 entering its southern swing. The Ducks are led by freshman Manuel Kost, who has compiled a 7-6 record this season, including tournament play. Cal and Oregon last faced each other on January 27, 2001, with the Bears dropping the Ducks by a 5-2 score in Eugene. Cal has never lost to Oregon, boasting a 17-0 lifetime advantage.
TWO WEEKS AGO AGAINST SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY: The team defeated SMU, 6-1, at the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells two weeks ago. Cal got started quickly by dispatching all three SMU doubles tandems, including an 8-1 thrashing on the top court. Bears John Paul Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk dropped SMU's Brunstrom and Cohn at the top spot. In singles, Cal took five of six matches, including three in straight sets. Fruttero and Kowalczyk carried their doubles momentum into singles, thrashing their opponents 7-6, 6-3 and 6-4, 6-1, respectively.