No. 16 Cal Men's Tennis Travels to the Pacific Coast Doubles

March 1, 2006

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The No. 16 California Golden Bears men's tennis team will travel to the Pacific Coast Doubles in La Jolla, Calif., on March 3-5. The Bears hosted No. 9 Baylor and BYU in the last few days. Cal dropped the match to Baylor, 4-3 on Sunday but defeated BYU on Tuesday, 4-1. Senior Conor Niland was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 21-26.

The Bears slipped from No. 14 to No. 16 in the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released Tuesday, Feb. 28, by the ITA. Senior Conor Niland is the only Golden Bears ranked in the individual poll. Niland is No. 47. The individual poll will be released again on March 7.

A LOOK AT THE TOURNAMENT:The tournament will be played at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif. Originally called the Pacific Coast Tennis Championships, this is the second-oldest tennis event in the United States. The tournament was first held in 1890 at the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, Calif. The event was created to promote the sale of real estate on the Monterey peninsula. The original concept pitted the best players from the East versus those from the West. The La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club has hosted the Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championships since 1942. Past winners include Don Budge, Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer, Pancho Sergura, Ted Schroeder, Tony Trabert, Dennis Ralston, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith and John McEnroe.

The first round matches for local players begin on Thursday afternoon. The balance of first round matches will be on Friday morning beginning at 8 a.m. (PST). The second round and consolation matches are played in the afternoon. The semifinals takes place Sunday morning, with the final scheduled for early Sunday afternoon. There is a first match consolation event associated with this tournament. If a team loses its first match, it is automatically placed in the consolation draw that begins on Friday afternoon.

Nationally ranked NCAA men's teams that will join the Bears at the tournament include, UCLA, Stanford, Pepperdine, USC, San Diego State, UC San Diego, Texas A & M, Rice, Williams & Mary, Notre Dame, Toledo, San Jose State and Saint Joseph's.

No. 47 senior Conor Niland boasts a 7-0 record in singles matches. This past weekend Niland was very successful. He defeated fourth-ranked Lars Poerschke of Baylor, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 On Tuesday against BYU Niland went into three sets again for only the second time this season against James Ludlow. Niland ended winning the match 6-0, 2-6, 6-1. The Limerick, Ireland native has been named men's tennis Pac-10 player of the week twice so far this season.

At first position doubles, the Bears seem to have their best match. Senior Conor Niland and junior Tyler Browne teamed up to defeat the sixth-ranked Baylor duo of Matija Zgaga and Jon Reckewey 8-4 on Sunday. The pair is 2-0, with its win against Zgaga and Reckewey and a victory against Fresno State's Sergiu Modoc and Sam Gibbs, 8-4.

Rain at the Hellman Tennis Center on Sunday morning prevented the California men's tennis team from taking the court against No. 9 Baylor. The match was moved to indoor courts in San Francisco later Sunday evening. However, the Golden Bears could not hang on, dropping the match 4-3 to Baylor. Singles were played first, with Cal securing three matches. No. 47 senior Conor Niland extended his dual match winning streak to six by beating his second top-10 ranked opponent of the season. Niland defeated fourth-ranked Lars Poerschke, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the first position. In the second position junior Tyler Browne easily slipped past Matija Zgaga in the last two sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, to secure the win. Junior Daniel Sebescen won his first set in the third position but fell 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, to Will Ward. Baylor's Michal Kokta slipped past sophomore Ken Nakahara, 7-5, 6-0. Freshman Eoin Heavey won the Bears' third point of the day, as he defeated Jon Reckewey in two sets, 6-3, 6-4. In the sixth position Baylor's Matt Brown won in two sets over junior John Pettit, 6-3, 6-4. Tied going into doubles, the Bears could not hang on as they dropped two doubles matches. In the second position, Poerschke and Kokta defeated Heavey and Sebescen, 8-2. Senior Dean Wallace and Pettit fell to Ward and Brown, 8-0. The lone doubles match victory on Sunday came in the first position, as Niland and Browne defeated Zgaga and Reckewey, 8-4. Zgaga and Reckewey were ranked sixth in the nation.

The California men's tennis team started its match against visiting BYU on Tuesday with singles because of threatening weather. Cal had a 3-1 lead before rain hit the Hellman Tennis Center. After a brief intermission, the Golden Bears won their final match, notching a 4-1 win over the Cougars. No. 47 senior Conor Niland continued his success on the singles court by defeating BYU's James Ludlow in an energized match. Niland easily skipped past Ludlow, 6-0, in the first set, but struggled in the second as he fell, 6-2. The native of Limerick, Ireland, bounced back in the third set to seal the first position victory, 6-1. In the second position junior Tyler Browne defeated Dominik Kaufhold in two sets, 6-3, 6-2. Playing in the fifth position freshman Eoin Heavey disposed of Ivan Kokurin in two quick sets, 6-0, 6-2. Junior Daniel Sebescen secured the 4-1 victory for the Bears, with his 7-5, 7-6 (2) win over BYU's Christian Hand in the third position. The lone victory for the Cougars was Jose Luis Lechuga's victory over sophomore Ken Nakahara, 6-0, 2-6, 3-6 in the fifth position. The only match that did not finished was in the sixth position, where junior John Pettit squared off against Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez won the first set 6-3. The second set was tied at 5-5 when the rain hit.

Considered one of the best teachers and tacticians in men's collegiate tennis, Peter 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. In 1997 and 2001 he was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. He received his first coaching award in 1994 when he was named Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year. Wright and the Bears have been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament almost every year since. The ninth coach in the 110-year history of Cal tennis, Wright has compiled a 149-110 (.576) career record during his tenure in Berkeley. Wright currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as well as the Youth Tennis Advantage and the Arthur Ashe Tennis Foundation of the Bay Area. He established the Bear Trax program at Cal, which brings inner-city children from Oakland to Berkeley for academic tutoring with Cal students and tennis tutoring with the Cal men's and women's teams. Wright is also currently the chairman of the NCAA men's tennis committee. He is assisted by Patrick Briaud, who enters his first season.

The Bears will resume Pac-10 play, traveling to the desert to face Arizona on March 10 and Arizona State on March 11.

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