No. 20 Men's Tennis Travels to NCAA First and Second Rounds
May 9, 2006
The No. 20 California Golden Bears men's tennis team (15-6, 5-1 Pac-10) will travel across the Bay to play Santa Barbara at 9 a.m. (PDT) on Saturday, May 13, in the first round of the NCAA Team Championship at Stanford. If the Bears are to win against the Guchos, they will play the winner of the Stanford vs. Quinnipac match in a second round match-up which begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 14. All matches will be played at the Taube Tennis Center.
THE BEARS AND THE NCAA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS:
This will be the sixth consecutive year the Golden Bears travel to the NCAA team Championships and the 41st appearance by the Golden Bears in the career of the program. Cal was the NCAA Champion in 1925 and has advanced to the finals five times. Last season the Golden Bears advanced to the first round and defeated San Diego State, 4-1, but fell to the eventual national champion UCLA in the second round, 4-2.
FIRST AND SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE:
The first and second round site at the Taube Tennis Center will host both a men's and women's opening two rounds. In that case, the men will play in the morning on Saturday. The California vs. Santa Barbara match will begin at 9 a.m. (PDT) and the Stanford vs. Quinnipac match will follow at 11 a.m. (PDT). Sunday's second-round match up will begin at 11 a.m. (PDT).
TAUBE TENNIS CENTER:
The Taube Tennis Center is the most beautiful and functional facility in Northern California, and is home to both the Stanford men's and women's tennis teams. Originally built in 1926, the Taube Tennis Center has undergone many renovations and additions over the years, and today its two sites (the Taube Family Tennis Stadium and the adjacent Taube South Courts) seat approximately 3,500. The Taube Tennis Center has hosted several major tennis championships over the years, both on the collegiate and professional levels, including over 10 years of the Bank of West Championship, a WTA tour event. - Compliments of Stanford Athletic Media Relations
COMING TO YOU LIVE:
Live scoring and video will be available on the Stanford website during the two rounds this weekend. Please visit http://www.gostanford.com for more information.
SCOUTING THE FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS:
UC SANTA BARBARA:
Cal's first-round opponent UCSB will be making its sixth appearance in the NCAA Championships and its first since 2003. The Gaucho's enter Saturday's match with a 14-11 dual match record and a 71st-national ranking. UCSB is led by Big West Player of the Year Nick Brotman and Freshman of the Year Bijan Hejazi. The Gauchos are in their seventh season under Marty Davis, the 2006 Big West Coach of the Year. Brotman own's a 14-7 record in the first position this dual season.
NO. 13 STANFORD:
If Cal should defeat UCSB and Stanford outlast Quinnipac, they would face each other for the third time this season. Stanford owns a 2-0 record so far this season, with a 6-1 win in Stanford, Calif., and a 5-2 win in Berkeley. The Cardinal is led by the Pac-10 singles champion Matt Bruch and K.C. Corkery. Stanford had a successful run in the Pac-10 Championships, Bruch defeating teammate James Wan in the singles final. Both Cal's first and second position players, Conor Niland and Tyler Browne, have picked up wins against Bruch and Corkery.
Earning their third straight NEC title last week, the Quinnipac Bobcats earned their third birth into the NCAA Championships. Quinnipiac boost a 14-7 record entering its first round match against the Cardinal. Junior Andrew Chan holds a 11-8 record in the first position, but lost in the title match against Farleigh Dickinson. Junior Michael Racioppo is 10-7 in the second position.
LAST YEAR AT THE NCAA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS:
The 24th-ranked Cal men's tennis team edged San Diego State, 4-1, in first-round action of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at UCLA's Los Angeles Tennis Center. With the win, the Golden Bears (12-9) advanced to the second round and faced eventual NCAA Champion UCLA. Against San Diego State, Cal jumped out to an early lead after winning doubles matches at court Nos. 2 and 3 to claim the doubles point. Daniel Sebescen teamed up with fellow sophomore Tyler Browne on court two to defeat the Aztecs' Daniel Jung and Dontia Haynes, 8-4. The Bears tallied their second doubles win on court three, where Lennart Maack and Dean Wallace were victorious over Markus Dickhardt and Eugenio Romero, 8-2. Once singles play began, Cal's Conor Niland, ranked No. 13 in the country, gave the Bears a 2-0 lead when he dispatched 77th-ranked Benedikt Stronk, 6-2, 6-2. San Diego State then got on the board when Daniel Jung posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Cal's Ken Nakahara at court No. 6. At court No. 2, Cal's Maack, ranked 82nd, was a 6-4, 6-1 winner over 94th-ranked Markus Dickhardt, giving the Bears a 3-1 advantage. The match was clinched at court No. 4, where sophomore Sebescen defeated SDSU's Christian Groh, 6-3, 6-4. In the second round, Cal dropped a hard-fought match to No. 9 UCLA, 4-2. With the loss, the Bears ended their season at 12-10, while the Bruins improved to 23-3. Cal dropped a tight doubles point, with UCLA winning two of three matches. The Bruins clinched the point on court two, where the Bears duo of Browne and Daniel Sebescen were edged by Phillip Gruendler and Benjamin Kohlloeffel, 9-8. In singles play, the Bears picked up two victories. Niland upset UCLA's No. 7 Luben Pampoulov in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, on court one. Nakahara tallied Cal's other win on court six, where he upset No. 85 Phillip Gruendler, 6-1, 6-3.
The Bears are No. 20 in the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released Tuesday, May 2, by the ITA. Senior Conor Niland and Junior Tyler Browne are the only Bears ranked in the individual poll. Niland is No. 6 and Browne is No. 89. In doubles Niland and Browne rank tied for No. 30.
LAST TIME ON THE COURT:
The last time the Golden Bears played together as a team was on April 26 against Washington in their final dual match. The No. 23 California men's tennis defeated the Huskies, 4-3, in Santa Barbra, Calif. For the first time this season Cal won the match, but fourth-ranked senior Conor Niland lost his singles match. On the singles court, senior Lennart Maack defeated Jean-Noel Insausti in two sets, 7-6, 7-5 on the third court. In the fourth position, junior Daniel Sebescen beat Andy Kuharszky in two sets, 6-3, 6-2. In his last Pac-10 dual match, senior Dean Wallace defeated Klaus Jank, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, in the sixth position. Niland was upset for the first time this season, by Alex Slovic in the first position, 7-5, 6-1. No. 74 Tyler Browne was defeated in the second position by Pierre Metenier, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. In the fifth position, Ken Nakahara fell to Daniel Chu, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2. On the doubles court, Maack and Wallace picked up a win in the second position defeating Jank and Kuharszky, 8-1. Niland teamed with Nakahara in the third position to beat Insausti and Ricks, 8-3. Junior John Pettit and Sebescen did not finish their match with Chu and Slovic in the first position.
PAC-10 HONOR ROLL:
The Pac-10 announced their all-conference teams and players of the year awards. Senior Conor Niland earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors and was named to the first team. Junior Tyler Browne was second team all-conference.
SUCCESS IN THE MAKING?
In the 20 dual matches this season Cal posted an impressive 15-6 record. This is the best start since the 2003 season, when the Bears went 15-1. That year the Bears were ranked No. 4 but lost to Stanford in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships.
During the dual season the Golden Bears managed six clean sweeps over their opponents for the first time since the 2003 dual season. In 2003, Cal advanced to the regional quarterfinals, but lost to Stanford, 4-0, in Athens, Ga. Their last came against Arizona in Berkeley on April 15, when the Bears defeated the Wildcats 6-0. Doubles were not played that match due to inclement weather.
In his final dual match then-fourth-ranked senior Conor Niland sufferered his first dual-match loss to Washington's Alex Slovic in two sets, 7-5, 6-1. Niland bounced back advancing to the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament, but lost to the eventual Pac-10 singles champion, Stanford's Matt Bruch. On Senior Day then-third-ranked Niland extended his winning streak to 19-0, which was the best in the country. With his singles victory on Saturday, Niland closed out an undefeated homestand. The Limerick, Ireland, native defeated No. 26 K.C. Corkery in three sets. Niland won the first set, 6-4, but fell to Corkery 6-3 in the second. In the deciding set Niland breezed past Corkery, 6-2. A week before Niland swept both the first-position Arizona players. Niland picked up his biggest win over UCLA's top-ranked Benjamin Kohlloeffel in two sets, 6-4, 6-3, on April 8. This was the second time this season he had recorded an upset over Kohlloeffel. The then-No. 41Niland defeated then-No. 3 Kohlloeffel in two sets, 6-3, 6-2, on Feb. 2, in Berkeley. On April 1, Niland collected his 14th win over Oregon's Markus Schiller, 7-5, 6-1. On March 26, Niland continued his streak, defeating No. 4 Scott Doerner of Pepperdine in two sets, 6-4, 6-3. On Feb. 26, Niland defeated then-fourth-ranked Lars Poerschke of Baylor, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Niland has been named men's tennis Pac-10 Player of the Week three times so far this season.
No. 89 junior Tyler Browne keyed in on his biggest victory this season with a win over then-15th-ranked and Pac-10 singles champion Matt Bruch of Stanford in the last home dual match of the season. Browne, who had a 12-5 record on the second court, took three hotly contested sets to edge Bruch. Browne lost the first set, 7-6, but rebounded and topped Bruch in the final two sets, 7-6, 6-1, recording a victory for the Bears in the second position. Browne injured his hip flexor in the final dual match against Washington and was unable to play in the Pac-10 Championships, but he will be ready to go for the NCAA Championships.
Senior Lennart Maack closed out his dual matches with a 10-3 record in the third position. The Langwedel, Germany, native posted his biggest upset this season over UCLA's 78th-ranked Mathieu Dehain, 7-6 (10), 6-1.
Senior Dean Wallace is 8-3 in the sixth position this season. Wallace went on a tear through the invite singles bracket of the Pac-10 Championships, posting wins against Stanford's Chris Rassmussen, USC's Whit Livingston and Washington's David Chu. Wallace lost in the semifinals to Stanford's Blake Muller, 7-6, 6-3. Wallace went undefeated during the Arizona schools homestand. Wallace defeated Arizona State's Ryan Waits, 6-1, 6-3 and Arizona's Peter Zimmer, 6-4, 6-4.
Junior Daniel Sebescen has posted a 10-6 record this season in the fifth position. The Yugoslavia native went on a five-match winning streak after his loss to Baylor's Will Ward, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, notching several match clinching victories in the dual season.
THE RIGHT MIX:
At the first position doubles, the Bears seem to have their best match in senior Conor Niland and junior Tyler Browne who posted a 6-5 record during the dual season. The duo recorded 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. Niland and Browne now are now ranked 30th. The pair suffered its first lost this season to Arizona's Claudio Christen and Jeff Groslimond, 8-5 on March 10 and continued to struggle, but they are pulling out of the rut in time for the NCAA Championships. Browne was injured in the final dual match against Washington and was unable to play with Niland in the Pac-10 Championships; however the two earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Doubles Championships, which will be held May 24-29 at the Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif.
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.
If Cal should advance past the second round, the Golden Bears will play in the regional held at Stanford on May 20 (9 a.m., noon, 3p.m., 6 p.m.).