No. 11 Cal Returns to Hellman to Take on Arizona Schools

March 5, 2002

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WINNERS OF THREE STRAIGHT: The Bears will face off against the Arizona schools this weekend at Hellman Tennis Complex, where the Bears' are currently undefeated, and are enjoying the chance to play seven of eight dual matches before the home crowd. The Bears, who have won three straight and five out of their last six matches, throttled Utah, 7-0 at home, before traveling to La Jolla.

RANKINGS CHANGE: Following Cal's stunning 4-3 comeback victory over top-ranked Stanford, the Bears surged forward six places in the rankings, jumping from No. 17 to the 11th spot. Stanford was displaced as the top team in the country, dropping from the top spot to No. 3 overall.

STATUS QUO: With seven new players on its roster, Cal head coach Peter Wright might have expected some drop-off in his teams' play in 2002. In fact, the Bears have matched their 2001 counterparts in record through the first ten games (7-3). The Bears' success has been largely due to the contributions of Wayng Wong, along with freshmen Conor Niland and Mik Ledvonova. Wong has come a long way since his freshman campaign in 2001 where he played in only six dual matches. He has already played in eight duals this season, establishing a 5-3 record, including a 3-2 mark at court No. 2. Niland and Ledvonova have been regular players in the lineup, posting 4-4 and 4-1 records, respectively.

ABOUT ARIZONA STATE: The 43rd-ranked Sun Devils took on Arizona last weekend, thumping the Wildcats, 7-0, and improving ASU's record to 5-2. The last time the two teams squared off was last year in Berkeley, where Cal took the day, 5-2. The Bears own a 38-10 career advantage over ASU.

ABOUT ARIZONA: Arizona is ranked No. 47 in the nation, and owns a 4-4 record heading into the week. The Wildcats have lost their last four matches, including the sweep by rival Arizona State. Cal took on Arizona last year in Berkeley, and handed down a 7-0 decision, putting the Bears up 33-12 in the season series.

LAST WEEK AGAINST UTAH: The Bears returned to the courts as heros on Tuesday, for their come-from-behind victory over Stanford on February 23, and treated the home fans to some dominating tennis. On the doubles courts, junior Ben Miles and sophomore Balazs Veress outlasted Utah's Carlson/Poulson duo, winning 9-7. With a loss on the top court and a quick win on court No. 3, Cal claimed the doubles point and the momentum in the match with Miles'/Veress' win. Utah would not come close again, as the Bears swept the singles courts, with not one match extending to a third set. John Paul Fruttero was especially impressive, displaying tight ball control and a series of acrobatic shots to dominate Utah's Nicholas Yip, 6-4, 6-3. Niland rebounded from two straight losses to sweep Ute Daniel Carlsson on the third court, 6-0, 6-0.

LAST WEEKEND AT THE PACIFIC COAST DOUBLES: The team traveled to La Jolla over the weekend to compete in the 113th annual Pacific Coast doubles, hosted by the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. While none of the Bear pairs made it past the round of 16 in the main draw, the duo of freshman Patrick Briaud and Cal assistant coach Lan Bale rebounded from an early round loss to win the consolation draw at the tournament. Briaud and Bale advanced to the final round by defeating another Bear tandem, Ledvonova and Wong, who had met little resistance while sailing through the consolation draw in a pair of straight set victories. In the main draw, three Cal doubles teams advanced to the round of 32, and one advanced to the round of 16. Chase Exon and Niland advanced to the third round by defeating Malhame/Raju of Notre Dame in a straight set victory.

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