No. 4 Cal (3-0) Hosts UC Santa Barbara, Fresno State
Feb. 11, 2003
WHATS ON TAP: Off to its best start since the 2000 squad opened the season 4-0, the fourth-ranked California men's tennis team looks to surpass that mark this weekend, Feb. 15-16, when the Golden Bears tackle UC Santa Barbara on Saturday and No. 63 Fresno State on Sunday. Both matches take place at noon at Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley.
ABOUT CALIFORNIA: The Bears are fresh off a 5-2 weekend victory over No. 35 TCU. In the win, Yale transfer Steve Berke claimed his first dual match victory as a Golden Bear with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 defeat of TCU's Daniel Scholten. Through three contests, Cal owns a 12-6 advantage over its opponents in singles competition and a 6-3 edge in doubles. With his victory over TCU's Rafael Abreu, Cal's Mik Ledvonova improved to 3-0 on the season in singles play while teaming with Conor Niland for a 1-0 doubles record.
ABOUT UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gauchos enter this week with a 3-2 record, including wins over USF, Loyola Marymount and Northern Arizona. Most recently, UCSB was swept, 7-0, by No. 48 Arizona. Junior Mike Placek owns a 4-1 record on court No. 4 to pace the Gauchos. Teamed with sophomore Alex Anselme, the duo is 4-1 on No. 2 doubles.
ABOUT FRESNO STATE: Fresno State enters this week as the 63rd ranked team in the nation with a 4-1 record. The Bulldogs won two matches at home last week, shutting out Sacramento State 7-0 before cruising past San Francisco 6-1. Hector Almada, Stefan Suta and Alex Krohn all went 2-0 in both singles and doubles over the weekend. Greg Shearer also won his two singles matches to improve his team-leading dual match victory total to four. Almada also moved to 3-0 on the year in singles duals.
HOME, SWEET HELLMAN: While the Bears' record of 19-7 last season was certainly impressive, Cal was a definite force to be reckoned with on their home courts. The Bears compiled a 13-1 record at home during the 2002 campaign, including a 10-match winning streak that spanned two months. The run was broken by Stanford (4/9) - then No. 6 in the nation - which only narrowly defeated the 17th-ranked Cal team by a 4-3 score. Cal has kicked off the 2003 home slate where it left off last year, starting the season 3-0 at Hellman.
DOUBLE TROUBLE?: Entering the 2002-03 season, Cal head coach Peter Wright pointed to doubles competition as a possible team weakness. But through three matches, the Bears have compiled an impressive 6-3 record while taking the doubles point in two of the three matches. Cal's tandem of Patrick Briaud and Balazs Veress leads the pack with an unblemished 3-0 start.
OFF TO THE RACES: The last time that a Cal team opened the season 5-0 was 1998 when the squad started 7-0.
STAR PERFORMANCE: Balazs Veress was named Daily Cal Athlete of the Week (2/3-2/7) for his performance in the 4-3 come from behind win over Stanford. Veress clinched the match for the bears in a three set thriller.
INJURY REPORT: Senior All-American John Paul Fruttero has returned to the courts for light hitting for the first time since his wrist surgery January 10th. If his recovery goes to plan, he should see action in March - just in time for the Pac-10 season.