No. 10 California Travels to Duke for NCAA Regional Action

May 7, 2002

CROSS-COUNTRY TO DUKE: This weekend, the California men's tennis team will open post-season play at the NCAA Regionals in Duke. The team has been seeded 10th in the 64-team draw, which features a total of 16 seeds, one playing at each regional location. Cal opens up with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the first round on Saturday, and should the Bears win, they would face the victor of the Duke/American match the next day (Sunday). The team that wins its regional action will then advance to the NCAA Championship, which kicks off with the Round of 16 next Saturday at Texas A&M University. Two weeks ago, the Bear men performed well at the Pac-10 Championships, highlighted by the success of John Paul Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk in doubles.

TWO SELECTED FOR NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP INDIVIDUAL PLAY: The play of Cal's top doubles team Fruttero and Kowalczyk (10-8 dual) has not gone unnoticed by the NCAA, which have selected the pair to compete at the NCAA Championships at Texas A&M later this month. The 12th-ranked tandem has held its own against some of the best doubles teams in the country, including a defeat of Stanford's then-top-ranked duo of Scott Lipsky and David Martin. Fruttero (15-6 dual), the team captain, will also compete in the singles portion of the competition. He is currently ranked 13th in the nation, and has twice defeated top-ranked players this season in Stanford' K.J. Hippensteel and Pepperdine's Al Garland.

ABOUT UMBC: The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (18-7) received its bid by winning the Northeast Conference, which garnered the Retrievers an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The team is led by Josef Novotny on the No. 1 court. Novotny has compiled a 19-3 dual record this season. Novotny and Eric Nudo are UMBC's top doubles tandem, having posted a 10-3 dual record. Cal and UMBC have never met before in team competititon.

ABOUT DUKE: Despite finishing with a perfect conference record, No. 17 Duke (15-11, 8-0) did not receive the automatic bid from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Blue Devils are led by a trio of ranked singles players and one ranked doubles tandem. No. 11 Phillip King (18-5 dual), No. 43 Michael Yani (13-10 dual) and No. 111 Alex Bose (3-4 dual) headline the squad. King and Yani are also the nation's 28th-ranked doubles squad with a 14-9 record at the top court. The Bears and Blue Devils have not met since 1990, when Cal improved its all-time record against Duke to 4-0 with a 7-2 win.

ABOUT AMERICAN: American University (Washington D.C.) finished with a near-perfect 19-1 record, while sweeping the Patriot League, 6-0, to receive the NCAA nod. The Eagles are led by Bence Hamon of Budapest, Hungary, who compiled a 11-5 dual record this season at the top spot. Jonah Fliegelman and Guliaume Tarralle hold down the top spot in doubles for the squad, with a 3-7 overall record there. Cal and American have never met in team play.

TWO WEEK AGO AT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Bears performed well at the Pac-10 individual championships two weeks ago at Ojai. Fruttero and Kowalczyk advanced to the doubles semifinals by thumping Washington's duo of Matt Hanlin and Dillon Ruby, 8-2. In the invitational competition, teammates Balazs Veress and Patrick Briaud had similar success in their draw, advancing to their own semifinal competition by dropping Washington State's Christolf Palmanshofer and Peter Schaeler in an extended 9-7 set. In singles, six of the seven Bears competing in the competition advanced to the second round in their respective draws. In the main draw, Fruttero, Kowalczyk and freshman Conor Niland made it out of the opening stanza. In the invitational bracket, Briaud, Chase Exon, and Ben Miles all won their first matches.

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