Cal Closes out 2002 Regular Season with Visitors from SoCal

April 16, 2002

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END OF THE ROAD: The Bears (16-6, 3-2) complete their 2002 home schedule this weekend at home, facing a challenging two-game series against the Los Angeles schools. Cal takes great momentum into the two matches, having defeated No. 5 Pepperdine on Monday. Last week, the Bears dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to No. 6 Stanford, before splitting in Arizona.

PLAYER/REPORTER: After the team's matches against USC and UCLA this weekend, Jeff King will scribe his first-hand post-match report, which will be available on King, a junior from St. Helena, CA, moved up to the varsity squad from Cal's club team this season, and is 1-0 in dual matches.

ABOUT USC: 33rd-ranked Andrew Park leads the charge for USC (18-4, 4-1). Park has posted a 10-7 record at the top court in 2002. The last time that Cal and USC met came two weeks ago, with the Trojans defeating the Bears in a tough 4-3 match in Los Angeles. USC owns a 113-30-4 advantage in the all-time series.

ABOUT UCLA: The Bruins (18-3, 5-0) are led by No. 10 Tobias Clemens and No. 15 Marcin Matcowski. Two weeks ago, the Bears won their first road match in 49 years against UCLA, stunning the second-ranked Bruins, 4-3. However, UCLA owns the advantage in the all-time series, with a 106-34-1 record against Cal.

MONDAY AGAINST PEPPERDINE: On Monday, Cal destroyed the fifth-ranked Pepperdine Waves, 6-1, in Berkeley. Balazs Veress and Patrick Briaud won their first five games en route to a 8-5 win in their first match together. In singles, No. 22 John Paul Fruttero ran top-ranked Al Garland ragged on court number one, dispatching him in a tough first set before sweeping him in the second set, 7-5, 6-0. Veress, ranked 83rd, ended the day with an upset of his own, dropping Stefan Suter in a pair of tiebreak 7-6 sets. Ben Miles improved his record to 6-0, playing on the sixth court and taking an impressive 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 win over Graeff.

LAST WEEK AGAINST STANFORD: Cal's bid to sweep Stanford for the first time since 1962 fell one point short last Wednesday, as the Cardinal exacted revenge by defeating the Bears in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss before a packed house at Hellman. Fruttero played Stanford's K.J. Hippensteel at No. 1 singles, but the fourth-ranked Hippensteel battled back for a three-set victory. Fruttero led 4-1 in the third set before losing the match, 7-6, 2-6, 4-6. Cal's three points came from wins on the Nos. 4 through 6 courts, including three-set wins from Wayne Wong and Mik Ledvonova.

LAST WEEK AGAINST ARIZONA: Cal rebounded from its tough 4-3 loss to Stanford to defeat conference rival Arizona on Friday, sweeping the season series. After the Wildcats took the doubles point, Veress took the top court to give Fruttero a rest. At the second spot, freshman Conor Niland continued his impressive rookie season, dropping Whi Kim in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Cal swept through the remaining singles courts, rounding out the win with a rare singles appearance by Miles, who performed like he lived on the sixth court, winning 7-6, 6-4 over Colin O'Grady.

LAST WEEK AGAINST ARIZONA STATE: On Saturday, the team was upset by the No. 38 Arizona State squad, 5-2. The Sun Devils clinched the doubles point by beating Cal's Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk in a 9-8 (11) tiebreak win. In singles, Fruttero's aversion to tiebreaks continued, as he was defeated in a three-set match that was completed in a 7-6(6) near-deadlock. Veress got things back on track on the second court, winning in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. Kowalczyk rebounded from a rough start to defeat Olivier Charroin, 0-6, 6-3, 6-2.

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