Bears Host Five Consecutive Quality Opponents
March 23, 2004
WHAT'S ON TAP: The California men's tennis team host five top-notch opponents, including No. 3 Baylor and No. 14 Harvard, over the next seven days. Despite a 4-7 record, the No. 23 Bears have a chance to improve their 2004 fortunes with a good showing at home this week, starting Tuesday against the Bears of Baylor.
A LOOK AT CAL'S OPPONENT: Baylor enters the week ranked No. 3 in the nation, behind the strong play of the nation's No. 1 player Benedikt Dorsch. Dorsch is not alone, however, as he is followed on court No. 2 and No. 3 by the nation's No. 5 player Benjamin Becker and No. 73 Matias Marin, respectively. The Bears also have two Top 20 doubles teams in No. 16 Dorsch and Ivan Lovrak and No. 18 Marin and Becker. BYU is the only unranked opponent the Bears play on this current homestand. However, the Cougars do boast No. 75 Erick Nyman, who continues to improve in Provo. The Bears resume Pac-10 play on Friday against No. 50 Oregon. Oregon is led by No. 43 Sven Swinnen and No. 50 Manuel Cost. The Ducks are followed by the Huskies of Washington, who have the No. 3 and No. 44 players in the nation, Alex Vlaski and Alex Slovic. The two together make-up the No. 35 team in the nation in doubles competition. To conclude the homestand, the Bears challenge No. 14 Harvard which has won matches this season by committee and with a workman-like attitude. They are led by David Lingman, who ranks No. 35 nationally. Lingman is also one-half of the No. 26 doubles team in the country, when he teams with partner Jonathan Chu.
PREVIOUSLY: The Cal men's tennis team suffered its seventh loss of the season, on Saturday in Indian Wells, CA, falling to SMU, 4-3. The Golden Bears drop to 4-7 on the year and will look to regroup on Tuesday against a very good Baylor squad at the Hellman Tennis Complex. The doubles team of Balazs Veress and Patrick Briaud continue to roll for the Bears, picking up their 11th victory of the year. Individually, Veress was able to stretch his winning streak to five matches, defeating Henrik Soderberg in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Jacob Leivent wasn't as lucky. His win streak was snapped at four matches as he lost in straight sets to Fede Murgier, 6-3, 6-3.
BRIAUD/VERESS A LEATHAL COMBINATION: Briaud and Veress were not even suppose to be doubles partners in 2004, but an unfortunate injury suffered by junior Conor Niland, forced Coach Peter Wright to call on his two veterans to occupy court No. 1 in doubles competition. Briaud and Veress are no strangers to each other, as the two played together in 2003 to compile a 10-4 record, including a 9-3 record in dual match competition. Thus far in 2004, the pair have continued their superb play, winning five of their last six matches, moving their record to 11-5 on the season.UNLUCKY 4-3: The Bears have been involved in four 4-3 decision this season, falling in three of those contests. Perhaps some better bounces and Cal could be easily, 7-4, instead of 4-7. The Bears 4-3 losses came at the hands of ranked opponents Pepperdine, Arizona State and SMU.
VERESS FINDING HIS STROKE: After falling four consecutive times, Coach Wright made the decision to move Veress from court No.1 to court No. 2. Since that move, Veress has been on fire, winning five straight matches, dropping just two sets in his last 12. His record has improved to 10-9 on the year, moving back into the rankings at No 85 (Mar. 9).
COACHES CORNER: Considered one of the best teachers and tacticians in men's collegiate tennis, Wright has developed a reputation for getting more out of his players than perhaps any coach in the country.Wright's coaching talent hasn't gone unnoticed. He has been named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2001 and 1997, and received his first coaching award in 1994, when he was named Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year for guiding the Bears back to postseason play after Cal had missed the Big Dance the previous two seasons. Wright and the Bears have been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament almost every year since. The ninth coach in the 111-year history of Cal tennis, Wright has compiled a 140-92 (.603) career record during his tenure in Berkeley.