No. 4 Seed Cal to Face Ohio State at NCAA Championships
May 12, 2003
BEARS TRAVEL TO GEORGIA: The #4 California men's tennis team (20-4, 4-2, Pac-10), fresh off a weekend sweep of Sacramento State and Boise State in the NCAA Regionals, advances to its 31st Sweet 16 appearance in the program's history. The Bears will face #17-32 Ohio State in the Round of 16 Saturday, May 17 at 3 p.m. (PST) at the University of Georgia in Athens. A win Saturday pits the Bears against the winner between #5 Stanford and #12 Tulane in the quarterfinals Sunday, May 18.
WHAT & WHERE: The University of Georgia will host the 2003 Division I Men's NCAA Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens. Each team match will be played on six courts and will be stopped immediately when an overall winner is determined. Tickets may be obtained by calling the Georgia athletic ticket office at 1-877-542-1231 or by logging on to the website at www.GeorgiaDogs.com. Daily tickets cost $5 for a youth/student pass and $8 for adults.
CAL AT THE NCAAs: The Bears make their fourth consecutive postseason appearance and 37th showing overall in 2003. Cal owns a cumulative postseason record of 103-37 (.736), with four appearances in the championship match, five in the semis, 11 quarterfinal showings and this being its 11th Sweet 16 appearance.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP INDIVIDUAL PLAY: Sophomore Conor Niland (#36, 25-10) was selected as one of 64 individuals to compete in the 2003 NCAA singles competition, while senior Robert Kowalczyk (#57, 23-9) was selected as the No. 1 alternate. The eighth-ranked duo of Kowalczyk and senior Steve Berke (10-7) was selected to compete in the doubles competition, being named as one of the 5-8 seeds. All-American Kowalczyk makes his second consecutive doubles trip, as he and John Paul Fruttero advanced to the Round of 16 last season. The Bears have never won a NCAA singles competition while claiming nine doubles championships - the last being Matt Lucena and Bent-Ove Pedersen in 1991. Round of 64 singles play will commence Wednesday, May 21, while Round of 32 doubles competition will begin Thursday, May 22.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes are in the midst of only their fourth ever NCAA postseason appearance - all coming in the last four years. In first round action, Ohio State shut out SEC squad Arkansas, 4-0. The Buckeyes then upset #13 Kentucky in the Round of 32, 4-3, to mark the first time in school history that the Buckeyes advanced to the round of 16. Ohio State is 4-3 in four NCAA appearances with a 0.571 winning percentage. The Bears and Buckeyes have never met in competition.
LAST WEEKEND vs. SACRAMENTO STATE: Against the Hornets in first round NCAA action, the Bears were never really threatened from the get-go. Commanding victories on doubles No. 1 & 2 gave Cal the early 1-0 lead heading into the singles competition. From there, the Bears claimed first-set victories on all six singles courts, setting the table for a 4-0 sweep. Freshman Or Dekel claimed his first career postseason victory while Niland and Fruttero claimed their respective decisions to win the match.
LAST WEEKEND vs. BOISE STATE: Cal received an early scare, as the Broncos rallied to claim two of three doubles matches to earn the early 1-0 advantage. But the Bears came out fighting on the singles courts, jumping out to a 3-1 lead with straight-set victories by Balazs Veress, Dekel and Niland. The last three matches were all extended to third sets, but Kowalczyk ended the upset bid with his 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory on court five to clinch the match.