Men's Tennis Prepares For a Double Set Against USD and SDSU

Jan. 28, 2003

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On the road: The No. 61 Arizona men's tennis team (1-0) will be tested when they travel to San Diego, Calif., to take on No. 49 San Diego (2-0) on Saturday, February 1, and No. 31 San Diego State (0-0) on Sunday, February 2. Both matches will start at 12:00 p.m.

Adding to the roster: Once again, the Wildcats have added a new player to the team. Head Coach Bill Wright recently added a scholarship player, Roger Matalonga, to the roster. Matalonga, a 5-foot-11, 163 lb. freshman from Terrassa, Spain, will fill the final position on the team.

Scouting USD: The Toreros opened their season this past weekend by hosting UC Riverside and Northern Arizona. USD won all nine matches to defeat UCR by a score of 7-0. The next morning they hosted Northern Arizona continuing their dominance against the Lumberjacks, once again sweeping all nine matches. USD will enter the match against Arizona with a perfect mark of 6-0 in doubles and 12-0 in singles play during the early spring season. During the USD All-Collegiate Classic, the Wildcats faced USD players four times, winning three of those matches. Arizona holds the advantage in dual-matches against USD with a record of 15-5. Including a 6-1 victory last season in Tucson.

Scouting SDSU: The Aztecs will open their spring season when they host the Wildcats on Sunday. SDSU are ranked No. 31 by the ITA and also has two men ranked in singles, along with two pairs of doubles. Oliver Mailberger leads the Aztec team, ranked No. 13 in singles and along with partner Ryan Redondo, the pair is ranked No. 6 in doubles. During fall play, Arizona had a 2-0 record against SDSU opponents, Daniel Andrus defeated William LeFever, 6-1, 6-0, at the USD All-Collegiate Classic, while Whi Kim defeated Ryan Redondo, 6-4, 6-2, at the ITA All-American. Arizona holds the overall dual-match record with a 19-3 advantage.

Last time out: The Wildcats opened the season at home when they faced the Broncos of Santa Clara. The match opened with Santa Clara winning two of the three doubles matches, earning the doubles point. The Wildcats bounced back in singles play where they went on to earn all six points. Clinching the match for Arizona was Colin O'Grady who played in the No. 3 position and defeated Frederico Mattioli, 6-4, 6-4.

Wildcats in the rankings: The Wildcats opened the season with the No. 61 ranking by the ITA. Individually for the Wildcats, junior Whi Kim is ranked in singles at the No. 102 position. Kim finished 4-7 in fall competition including two wins at the ITA All-American where he reached the main draw.

Outlook Continued:

Newcomers: Sophomore transfer Paul Warkentin heads the list of Wildcat newcomers. The 6-foot-2 sophomore from Santa Barbara, Calif., played at Ohio State last season and brings a high-energy and powerful game to Tucson.

'He has a big game and a very aggressive style,' Helmig remarked. 'He is competitive every time he steps on the court. I think he is going to have a huge impact on the top end of the lineup. It's always great to have someone with that much intensity and adrenaline.'

Freshman Daniel Andrus already has made an impact for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-1 native of Fallbrook, Calif., opened the fall campaign 6-0 and finished with a 7-4 record. With that kind of start and his ability to compete, Andrus is looking to play with the top six on the team.

'Daniel had a good summer with great results in a lot of tournaments,' Helmig said. 'He jumped in and went 2-0 at Napa Valley against several top-10 teams. He showed that he's not afraid to battle with the best.'

Sophomore Christopher Gessner picked up the final roster spot by making the team during fall tryouts. The graduate of Canyon Del Oro High School in Tucson complied a 23-13 record last season as a freshman at Francis Marion University.

Doubles: The strength for the Cats this season in doubles competition will be versatility. During the fall season, the team experimented with different combinations to see how the new pairs will compete together in the spring.

'What we've seen is that they're all interchangeable,' Helmig said. 'We have strength and depth through our doubles lineup.'

The combination of Lloyd and O'Grady brings experience to the doubles line-up, after capturing the Pac-10 invitational title last season.

'Tom Lloyd and Colin (O'Grady) won the Pac-10 Invitational last year,' Helmig said. 'They also proved pivotal in capturing the doubles points last year in key dual matches.'

At the No. 1 position, the pair of Whi Kim and Paul Warkentin is expected to help lead the team. The combination of power and agility bodes well for the Cats.

'Whi Kim and Paul Warkentin be a combination that could hurt any doubles team in the Pac-10,' Helmig boasted.

While the team looks to those two pairs to compete regularly for the squad, there are still opportunities for other combinations. Players such as Tim Mullane, Daniel Andrus and Carl Hagman will be called upon to bring experience and depth in order to capture the all-important doubles points in dual-match competition.

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