Cal Takes on Fresno, then Pepperdine
Feb. 12, 2002
BUSY BEARS: After competing in three team matches at the National Team Indoors last weekend in Louisville, Ky., Cal returns to the West Coast this week to play two more teams. First up, the Bears will take on Fresno State at Hellman on Friday, then they travel to Southern California to lock horns with the Pepperdine Waves in Malibu. Ultimately, by the time that Cal returns to Berkeley Sunday night, they will have played seven dual matches in just over two weeks.
PRODIGAL SON: The match Sunday against Pepperdine will be the first time that former Wave Chase Exon plays his former squad. Exon, who joined California after transferring from Pepperdine, is the only senior on the Bears' squad this season, and has been a regular in the lineup, compiling a 9-7 overall record. He was a key player for the Waves, putting together a 41-22 dual record in singles during his three seasons there. Exon particularly strong in doubles for Pepperdine, posting an impressive 22-3 dual doubles record during his sophomore year.
11TH-RANKED: Despite the overall inexperience of the roster, Cal's play in the fall did not go unnoticed by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Bears open up their season ranked a stone's throw away from the top 10 in the country, checking in at No. 11. This is a five-position jump for Cal, which finished last season at the 16th spot.
ABOUT FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs stumbled out of the gate this season, but have rallied to even their record at 2-2. Fresno State is led by Nick Fustar, who was named the WAC Player of the Week following his stunning upset of No. 13 Marcin Matkowski (UCLA) on January 24. Fustar owns a 3-1 dual record (9-5 overall) and was moved up to the top court for his efforts.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE: The Waves are currently ranked No. 7 in the nation by the ITA, and enter the weekend sporting a 6-2 record. At the National Team Indoors, Pepperdine lost in the first round, but then defeated No. 53 Brown by a 4-2 mark, and then dropped No. 27 Indiana State to close out the tournament. The Waves are led by Al Garland, who has posted a perfect 7-0 record on the top court in dual singles matches this season. Garland, along with his partner Stefan Suter, are also 5-0 in doubles while splitting time between the No. 1 and 2 courts during the 2002 campaign.
LAST WEEK AT THE NATIONAL TEAM INDOORS: The team suffered a setback at the National Team Indoors in Kentucky, dropping their first two matches of the three day event, but rallied to drop No. 53 Brown on Saturday by a 4-2 score. The Bears had high hopes to establish themselves as a national power at the event, which featured the top 12 teams in the country, including Stanford, USC and UCLA, but were defeated on the opening day by No. 6 Illinois. Cal started off strong by claiming the doubles point, but was swept in singles, losing the four matches which were completed.
Cal opened up strong again on the second day against No. 27 Indiana State, again taking the doubles point to open the match. The trouble came again in singles, where the Bears picked up wins by John Paul Fruttero on the top court and by Exon on the sixth court, but were defeated on courts two through five. The final match against Brown saw Cal break their tournament trends. While dropping the doubles point, the Bears rebounded in singles to overwhelm the Rhode Island school, with only Balazs Veress taking a loss at the third spot, as the Bears claimed a 4-2 victory.