No. 5 Cal (8-1) Blanks Utah, 7-0

Feb. 26, 2003

Berkeley, Calif. - The California men's tennis team (8-1) returned home with a vengeance this afternoon with a 7-0 blanking of the Utah Utes at Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley. The Bears now own a 25-6-1 all-time advantage over the Utes, including two consecutive 7-0 victories.

The match commenced with Cal claiming the doubles point after sweeping competition on all three courts. First to finish with an 8-2 decision was Or Dekel and Conor Niland on court No. 3. The duo claimed its first victory of the year in fine fashion, jumping out a 7-1 lead and never looking back for an 8-2 final over Kaisorn Chaichana and Daniel Lohff. On court one, Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk had a fight on their hands, finding themselves deadlocked at 4-4 with Roland Brateanu and Nick Coutts. But the Cal tandem took the next four games to hold on for the 8-4 win and claim the doubles point for the Bears. On court two, the duo of Patrick Briaud and Balazs Veress rebounded from their first loss of the season at the team indoors, defeating Tyler Poulson and Thomas Gryzyb, 8-6, to finish things off. Briaud and Veress are now 8-1 in dual match play.

Cal, equipped with an early 1-0 lead, quickly took advantage of the momentum jumping out to an early 2-0 lead. No. 61 Balazs Veress made quick work of his opponent Daniel Lohff, defeating the Swede in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1. On court No. 1, the 27th-ranked Niland posted his first victory of the year at the top spot, taking out Brateanu in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. The Irishman Niland improved to 7-2 in dual play with the win. On court No. 5, Berke improved to 3-2 in dual match play with his match clinching 6-2, 6-0 win over Nick Coutts. With Berke's victory, the Bears went up 4-0 to claim the match, but there was still work to be done on the final three courts.

No. 49 Robert Kowalczyk eased past Tomasz Gryzyb, 6-0, 6-2, to give the Bears point number five on the day. But freshman Or Dekel had to earn his victory the hard way. After finding himself down 3-4 in the first set to senior Tyler Poulson, Dekel rallied to take three straight games to win the first set 6-4. In the second set, however, Dekel went up three games to none and seemed to be in control. But the feisty Poulson clawed his way back into the match, tying the second set at three games apiece. Once again, though, Dekel rallied back to win the final three games to walk away with the 6-4, 6-3 victory.

On court No. 6, perhaps the fiercest battle of all was being waged between Briaud and Chaichana. Briaud lost the first set 6-0 and had seemingly lost control of the match. But a quick pep talk from assistant coach Jun Hernandez between sets and Briaud came out a new man. The sophomore Texan only lost four more games the rest of the match and came away with an impressive 0-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory to give the Bears the sweep over the visiting Utes.

Cal hits the road this weekend, Feb. 28 - March 2 to take part in the Pacific Coast Doubles in La Jolla, CA. The Bears' next scheduled dual match is against Arizona State on Friday, March 7 at noon in Tempe, AZ.

RESULTNo. 4 California 7, Utah 0

SINGLES1. No. 27 Conor Niland (CAL) def. Roland Brateanu (Utah), 6-2, 6-12. No. 61 Balazs Veress (CAL) def. Daniel Lohff (Utah), 6-0, 6-13. Or Dekel (CAL) def. Tyler Poulson (Utah), 6-4, 6-34. No. 49 Robert Kowalczyk (CAL) def. Tomasz Gryzyb (Utah), 6-0, 6-25. Steve Berke (CAL) def. Nick Coutts (Utah), 6-2, 6-06. Patrick Briaud (CAL) def. Kaisorn Chaichana (Utah), 0-6, 6-1, 6-3

DOUBLES1. Berke/Kowalczyk (CAL) def. Brateanu/Coutts(Utah), 8-42. Briaud/Veress (CAL) def. Poulson/Gryzyb (Utah), 8-63. Dekel/Niland (CAL) def. Chaichana/Lohff (Utah), 8-2

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