No. 20 California Looks to Extend Winning Streak In Los Angeles
April 1, 2002
PAC-10 PLAY CONTINUES IN SOCAL: The Bears (13-3, 2-0) enter the second week of their conference season, this time facing tough competition in No. 2 UCLA and No. 18 USC on the road in Los Angeles. With a trio of wins to close out their Berkeley homestand, Cal has emerged as one of the hottest teams in the ITA, the winners of nine consecutive matches, its longest winning streak since the 1989 season. The Bears also have yet to lose a point in conference play.
BEARS BOAST LONGEST WINNING STREAK SINCE 1989: With the 7-0 sweep of Washington followed by the shutout of Oregon, Cal is off to its longest winning streak since 1989. The streak is the longest of Peter Wright's head coaching career, as in '89 Wright was in his third season as an assistant. In fact, nine straight is the fourth largest in the history of the program. The longest winning streak in Bear history came in 1931, when Cal opened its season with 14-consecutive victories. The '89 squad's 11 straight is the second longest such stretch for Cal. Should the Bears win both matches in Los Angeles, they would tie that mark, and look to break it against arch-rival Stanford on Tuesday, April 9.
ABOUT UCLA: No. 2 UCLA (16-1, 3-0) is led by a trio of ranked players in Tobias Clemens (6th), Marcin Matkowski (23rd) and Rodrigo Grilli (35th). Matkowski pairs with Jean-Julien Rojer to form the ITA's No. 2 doubles tandem. The last time the Bears and Bruins faced off, UCLA took a close 4-3 victory in Berkeley (4/22/01). Cal is 34-106-1 in the all-time series against the Bruins.
ABOUT USC: 18th-ranked USC (14-4, 2-1) is highlighted by No. 27 Nick Rainey, who also plays with No. 76 Ryan Moore in doubles, with the pair ranked at the 13th-spot. The last time the Bears and Trojans met, Cal upset the visiting USC squad, 4-3, in Berkeley. The Bears are 30-113-4 against the Trojans.
LAST WEEK AGAINST BYU: Cal defeated the visiting BYU Cougars by a 5-2 score on Tuesday. In doubles, Ben Miles and Balazs Veress improved to 9-2 on the second doubles court with a dominating 8-3 performance against BYU's Jeff Harbach and Jeff Olsen. Cal's duo would hold on to win, 9-8 (4) to set the tone for the team's singles play. Freshman sensation Mik Ledvonova shut down the Cougars' Jeff Olson on court six, sweeping the senior, 6-2, 6-2. Junior team captain John Paul Fruttero also continued his trademark scrappy play, out volleying senior Gert Vilnus's strong serving en route to a 6-1, 6-3 victory.
LAST WEEK AGAINST WASHINGTON: Cal got things started right once again in the 7-0 sweep of Washington, with Miles and Veress dropping UW's duo of Ari Strasberg and Alex Vlaski on the top court by an 8-6 score. Chase Exon and Conor Niland continued to solidify Cal's third doubles spot with an 8-6 victory of their own. The Bears swept through the singles portion of the afternoon by winning 12 out of 13 sets. In the dozen sets that Cal took, only in one did a Husky win more than three games. Niland and Robert Kowalczyk both dominated on their respective courts, each winning in a pair of 6-1 sets.
LAST WEEK AGAINST OREGON: With the 7-0 win over Oregon, the Bears improve to 13-3, and close out their March slate undefeated. The win also propels Cal to 2-0 in Pac-10 play, with the Bears having yet to lose a point since the conference slate began on Friday. Exon and Niland highlighted Cal in doubles, doubling up Oregon's Chris King and Manuel Kost, 8-4, on the third court. While the Ducks did not win a match in singles play, three courts went into the third set, with Oregon refusing to go quietly. After Wayne Wong took care of Swinnen on the third court, 6-2, 7-5, Kowalczyk and Mik Ledvonova closed out their matches in straight sets to clinch the victory.