Men's Tennis Opens Spring Season Against Santa Clara

Jan. 21, 2003

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Opening the Season: The No. 61 Arizona men's tennis team (0-0) opens the spring season on January 25, as the Wildcats host the Mustangs of Santa Clara (1-0). The match will take place at 11:00 a.m. at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.

Strong Fall Play: In singles competition several men competed well for the Wildcats this fall. Leading the way for the team was sophomore Colin O'Grady, junior Carl Hagman and freshman Daniel Andrus. O'Grady, who finished 10-4 had several strong showings in which he won a career high 5 straight matches and finished with the most wins. Hagman, a junior from Frederiksberg, Denmark, finished with an overall fall record of 8-3, including a career-tying six-match win streak. He also laid claim to the best winning percentage on the team at .727. In the midsts of the streak, he earned the Northern Arizona Invitational singles title with a win over Divan Coetzee of New Mexico. Daniel Andrus started his career at Arizona with a six-match win streak and finished the fall 7-3. These three men helped lead the team to a combined individuals record of 39-32.

Scouting Santa Clara: The Mustang's defeated UC Santa Cruz at home by a score of 5-2 in their first match of the season. SCU won four of six individual matches, as well as sweeping the three doubles matches. This will be only the second meeting between the two schools. Arizona holds the series record at 1-0.

Last time out: At the Omni Hotel Southern California Region VIII Fall Championship hosted by Pepperdine, in Malibu, Calif., on Oct. 23-27 was the second national tournament the Wildcats participated in during the fall season. Competing in the tournament were teams from UCLA, USC, Arizona State, UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and San Diego. The six players that made the journey to Malibu, Calif., were Andrus, O'Grady, Gessner, Hagman, Kim, Mullane. Once again, O'Grady lead the Wildcats by earning several wins and advancing to the quarterfinals by defeating Jeff Kazarian of USC, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. Hagman earned two victories by defeating competitors from UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount, but fell to Pim Van Mele of Arizona State, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2.

Season Outlook: Heading into the 2002-03 season, the Arizona coaching staff feels that the team has the necessary depth to compete in the always-challenging Pacific-10 Conference.Arizona returns four of the top six players from last season's 9-12 squad that finished 2002 ranked No. 65 by the ITA and adds much-needed depth with a pair of transfers and a redshirt freshman. Head coach Bill Wright has been impressed with the Cats' depth and competiveness since the start of fall practice.

'The depth is there,' Wright said. 'Everyone is very close in ability. There won't be a drop-off at any position.'

The Returnees: The Wildcats return half of the members from the 2001-02 team, including one senior, two juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.

Assistant coach Bob Helmig is pleased with the returning members.

'Going down the line, if you look at who is returning,' Helmig said, 'We've got four of the top six back and ready to go. Any team is happy to have that many guys returning.'

Senior Tom Lloyd, who was plagued by injuries last summer and fall, played a limited schedule but will look to be a leader for the squad in the spring. With the return of Lloyd, the Wildcats retain a natural leader on the court.

'Tom is the only senior. He has also been our captain for the last two years,' Helmig said. 'There is a lot of leadership coming back in him.'

Junior Whi Kim is expected to occupy the No. 1 position for the Cats this spring. Coupled with his strong play this fall, Kim returns with the best dual record and highest national ranking from last season. The Wildcats look for him to set the tone from the top singles position.

'Kim will be the guy to take on the No. 1's from the other teams,' Wright explained.

Kim, who competed in the No. 2 and 3 positions last season, finished with an overall record of 18-16 and a national ranking of No. 118. Competing in several fall tournaments, Kim faced top-ranked opponents in the country and had a preseason ranking of No. 62 by the ITA.

Two other competitors, junior Carl Hagman and sophomore Colin O'Grady, have already proven successful for the Wildcats in fall action. Hagman won the singles championship at the NAU Invitational and O'Grady advanced to the quarterfinals of the Omni Hotel Region VIII-South Championship. During the fall, the pair combined for an 18-7 overall record.

'Colin (O'Grady) and Carl (Hagman) had a great summer on the circuit,' Helmig said. 'Those positive summer accomplishments show up in the fall, and their records speak for themselves.'

Also returning for the Wildcats is redshirt freshman Tim Mullane. Mullane sat out last season to develop his game and has returned this season an improved player.

'Tim (Mullane) had a good tournament up at NAU, where he won the doubles in the main draw and lost in the singles semifinals,' Helmig said.

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