No. 18 Cal Locks Horns with San Diego, Stanford
Feb. 18, 2002
BEARS BACK IN THE BAY: This week, the Bears return to the Bay Area to take on a pair of California teams. On Wednesday Cal will take on the Toreros of San Diego, then will head down to Palo Alto to play Stanford, in the team's Pac-10 season opener. The Bears split last weekend, throttling the visiting Fresno State squad at home, 7-0, before dropping a heartbreaker, 4-2 at Pepperdine.
MEDIA LUNCHEON: Preceding Wednesday's match with San Diego, Cal head coach Peter Wright and team captain John Paul Fruttero will be available to the media at Cal's Olympic Sports Media Luncheon, which will feature 11 of the university's spring sports. The lunch will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the Club Room at Haas Pavilion.
TWO HEADS BETTER THAN ONE: While the Bears have had some flux in their singles lineup, using a series of different combinations featuring 10 of Cal's 12 players, the doubles lineups have remained virtually in tact this season. In fact, only seven different players have participated in doubles in the dual meets, and the team sports a 9-4 record in the early matches. Juniors Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk have been rock-solid in the No. 1 court, pulling down a 3-1 record there. Ditto Ben Miles and Balazs Veress, whose gutsy win on the second court over Fresno State keyed the Bears' 7-0 rout of the Bulldogs.
ABOUT SAN DIEGO: San Diego is currently ranked 49th in the country by the ITA. The Toreros own a 2-4 record heading into the week. Most recently, the fifth-ranked UCLA squad defeated them by a score of 6-1, despite the fact that USD took the doubles point. Playing in the top court for San Diego is Ricardo Rizo, who was defeated 6-3, 6-2 by UCLA's Tobias Clemens last week.
ABOUT STANFORD: Stanford enters the week ranked No. 1 in the country by the ITA. The Cardinal has rolled out to an early 6-0 record, and has won their last 73 home matches, dating back to 1996. Most recently, the Cardinal played Fresno State, and defeated them by a 6-1 count. 1999 doubles champion K.J. Hippenskee leads the way for Stanford, having put together a 5-0 record on the top court this season.
LAST WEEKEND'S ACTION IN REVIEW: The team throttled the visiting Fresno State Bulldogs, 7-0, at Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley. The Bears are now a perfect 3-0 in front of the home crowd. A hard-fought doubles match on the second court, and Conor Niland's performance at the fifth spot keyed Cal's win. Ben Miles and Veress took on FSU's top singles player, Nick Fustar, and freshman Dustin Ilic, and defeated them by an 8-4 score. Niland, a freshman from Limerick, Ireland, has played in the majority of Cal's matches this season, and continued his already impressive Cal career with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Ilic.
The Bears took all of their matches on the day, winning the doubles point after taking all three sets. In the singles portion of the afternoon, Fruttero dropped the Bulldog's top player in Nick Fustar by a 6-2, 6-0 mark. In addition, three other Bears, including Niland, also won in straight sets. Veress and Wayne Wong both rebounded from early setbacks to complete the sweep. Wong's win was especially impressive, winning the last five games of the third set to comeback and defeat Stefan Suta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on the second court.
Cal then traveled to Pepperdine to take on the No. 9 Waves in Malibu. The Bears were defeated there, 4-2. Veress and Mik Ledvonova both picked up straight set wins in the loss.