Cal Men's Tennis Heads to Napa

Sept. 24, 2001

Berkeley - COMING UP: Napa Valley Tennis Challenge, September 28-30th All Day

TO THE WINE COUNTRY: The Cal men's tennis team face their first competition of the year this weekend in the Napa Valley Tennis Challenge at the Meadowood Resort. A collegiate individual event, the Napa Valley Tennis Challenge will host Cal and USC from the Pac-10 conference, and Illinois and Minnesota from the Big-10 conference. Illinois was the highest ranked team of the group last season, finishing 12th in the country. Cal finished last season ranked 15th, USC finished 20th and Minnesota finished 47th.

ABOUT CAL: Balazs Veress, who is currently ranked 36th in the country, leads the charge for Cal this weekend. Veress closed out the 2001 campaign with a 29-15 mark in singles and was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. He will be joined by junior Ben Miles, freshman Conor Niland from Ireland, and senior transfer (Pepperdine) Chase Exon. Cal finished 15th in the nation last season, with an overall record of 16-9, good enough for 3rd in the Pac-10 behind Stanford and UCLA.

ABOUT USC: The Bears and the Trojans met twice last year in regular season play, with Cal beating the higher-ranked Southern California team both times 4-3 and 4-2. USC looks to be a top contender this season, with five players ranked in the preseason top 100. The top returner is Andrew Park, who jumped from 18th to eighth. The newcomers to the rankings are Damien Spizzo (63) and Prakash Amritraj (97). USC finished the season with a 125-85 record in singles play, and 57-34 in doubles play.

ABOUT ILLINOIS: The last and only time that the Bears and the Fighting Illini met on the courts was April 7, 1998 in Berkeley. Cal claimed the day, beating Illinois by a 5-2 mark. This season, the Fighting Illini showcase Amer Delic ranked number 88 in the country. Last season, Illinois closed out the season with 176-109 record in singles play, and a 100-40 mark in doubles play.

ABOUT MINNESOTA: Cal has only faced the Golden Gophers once, that match coming back in 1986. The Bears emerged with a 5-3 victory over the visiting Minnesota team. The teams were scheduled to play in the 1997 season, but the match was rained out. The Gophers have two ranked players this season, with Harsh Mankad improving from the 43rd slot last season to 22nd overall this year, and Thomas Haug jumping in the preseason polls from his final position of 84 last season, all the way up to #51. Minnesota closed out its 2001 campaign with a 127-89 mark in singles play, and a 31-40 record in doubles competition.

GOLDEN BEAR NOTES: This season looks bright for the Cal men's tennis team. Returning in the spring is junior All-American John Paul Fruttero, who was named to the 2001Collegiate All-Star team. Fruttero made the jump from 20th to 10th in the pre-season ITA Tennis rankings. He concluded last season with a final tally of 29 wins and 16 losses and was First Team All Pac-10. Also rejoining the team in the spring will be junior Robert Kowalczyk.

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