No. 24 Men's Tennis Travels to No. 53 USC and No. 11 UCLA

April 4, 2006

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The No. 24 California Golden Bears men's tennis team (11-4, 4-2 Pac-10) will travel to No. 53 USC and No. 11 UCLA this weekend. The Bears will take on the Trojans on Friday at 1:30 p.m. (PDT) and the Bruins on Saturday at 1 p.m. (PDT). Last weekend, Cal's match against No. 33 Washington was rained out on Sunday. However, the Bears did sweep Oregon 7-0 on Saturday.

The No. 53 USC Trojans will face Cal after losing last weekend to Arizona (4-3) and Arizona State (4-3). When the Bears and Trojans met last in early February, California got the best of USC, earning a 5-2 victory. USC is led by Dejan Cvetkovic and Jamil Al-Agba.

No. 11 UCLA will take on the Bears after it faces Stanford on Saturday. The Bruins are 13-4 on the season and undefeated so far in conference play. The two teams met in early February to open the conference schedule, with UCLA taking the victory, 6-1 over the Bears. Senior Conor Niland recorded an upset victory over then-No. 3 Benjamin Kohlloeffel (now No. 1-ranked), 6-3, 6-2 in the first position.

The Bears are No. 24 in the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released Tuesday, April 4, by the ITA. Senior Conor Niland and Junior Tyler Browne are the only Bears ranked in the individual poll. Niland is No. 11 and Browne is No. 98. In doubles Niland and Browne rank No. 22. The individual poll will be released again on April 18.

In the first 14 dual matches of the season Cal posted an 11-4 record. This is the best start since the 2003 season, when the Bears went 12-1. That year the Bears were ranked No. 4 but lost to Stanford in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships. In 2004, Cal was 4-8, and in 2005, the Bears opened 6-7.

No. 11 senior Conor Niland boasts a 14-0 record in singles matches. Last Saturday, Niland collected his 14th win over Oregon's Markus Schiller, 7-5, 6-1. Two weekends ago Niland continued his streak, defeating No. 4 Scott Doerner of Pepperdine in two sets, 6-4, 6-3. Last weekend's win over Doerner is not Niland's first upset victory of the season - Niland defeated then-fourth-ranked Lars Poerschke of Baylor, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, and had already posted an upset win over UCLA's then-No. 3 Benjamin Kohlloeffel, 6-3, 6-2. The Limerick, Ireland, native has been named men's tennis Pac-10 Player of the Week twice so far this season.

No. 11 senior Conor Niland currently holds the best winning streak in the country. Niland, who is 14-0, earned the honor this weekend after defeating Markus Schiller of Oregon in two sets. Prior to this Niland was tied with Tulsa's No. 10 Arbau Brugues for best winning streak in the country at 13-0 on the season. This weekend's match will pit Niland off against UCLA's Benjamin Kohlloeffel when Niland beat earlier this season in two sets, 6-3, 6-2.

Juniors Daniel Sebescen and John Pettit have posted fours wins in the last four matches. Against Oregon, the duo defeated Vlad Pino and Hugh McDonald, 8-1. Playing in the third doubles position against Pepperdine, the pair defeated Omar Altmann and Richard Johnson, 8-4 and against TCU defeated Alex Brink and Jacopo Tezza, 8-2.

At first position doubles, the Bears seem to have their best match in senior Conor Niland and junior Tyler Browne. The duo has already posted an upset victory over the then sixth-ranked Baylor duo of Matija Zgaga and Jon Reckewey, 8-4, en route to a No. 42 ranking by the ITA. The pair suffered its first lost this season to Arizona's Claudio Christen and Jeff Groslimond, 8-5. Niland and Browne are 5-1 on the season, after picking up three wins in the last five matches.

The No. 30 California men's tennis team (11-4, 4-2 Pac-10) swept Oregon, 7-0, on Saturday afternoon at Hellman Tennis Center in Berkeley. With his singles victory today No. 11 senior Conor Niland expanded his record to 14-0 in the first position and stands currently with the best winning streak in the country. Niland defeated Oregon's Markus Schiller in two sets, 7-5, 6-1. No. 122 junior Tyler Browne beat Thomas Bieri in two set, 6-1, 6-2 in the second position. Senior Lennart Maack picked up a victory over Gustavo Loza in the third position, 6-3, 6-1. In the fourth position, junior Daniel Sebescen defeated Eric Pickard, 6-2, 6-3. Sophomore Ken Nakahara easily defeated Fernando Freitas in two sets, 6-2, 6-0. Senior Dean Wallace picked up a victory in the sixth position, 6-1, 6-1. The No. 58 duo of Niland and Browne outlasted Schiller and Loza in the first position, 8-6. In the second position, Maack and Walalce defeated Freitas and Pickard, 8-5. Junior John Pettit and Sebescen easily beat, Pino and Hugh McDonald, 8-1, in the third position

On the 2005-06 men's tennis roster, the Bears host seven athletes from a different country other than the United States. Two are from Ireland, senior Conor Niland and freshman Eoin Heavey. Seniors Dean Wallace hails from Manila, the Philippines, and Lennart Maack is from Germany. Junior Daniel Sebescen is from Yugoslavia. Sophomore Ken Nakahara hails from Japan. Sophomore Vaclav Burger is from Czech Republic.

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 former Cal standout Patrick Briaud, who enters his first season.

The Bears will return home to host Arizona State on Friday, April 14 at 1:30 p.m. (PDT) and Arizona on Saturday, April 15, at 1 p.m. (PDT).

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