No. 3 Cal Hosts Arizona, Arizona State in Final Homestand
April 9, 2003
WHAT'S ON TAP: The California men's tennis team (16-3, 2-1, Pac-10) is off to its best start since 1989 when the squad posted a 16-3 record en route to a 24-8 finish and an appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Bears will test their Pac-10 resolve this weekend as they challenge Arizona Friday, April 11 at 1:30 p.m. and Arizona State Saturday, April 12 at 11:00 a.m. in the final homestand of the season. Both matches will take place at the Hellman Tennis Courts in Berkeley and will count towards Pac-10 Conference records.
THE LAST TIME: The Bears enter this week as the #3-ranked team in the nation, while the women's squad checks in at #4 in the country. The last time that both the men and women's teams were simultaneously ranked in the Top 5 of the USTA/ITA rankings was Sept. 18, 1991.
YESERDAY AGAINST STANFORD: The Bears did something that they weren't able to do in the first Bay Area rivalry - win the doubles point. #25 Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk remained strong, claiming their fifth consecutive win while handing #4 Scott Lipsky and David Martin only their fourth loss of the year. The newly formed duo of Conor Niland and Balazs Veress were also impressive, recording their third consecutive win while defeating Phil Sheng and Sam Warburg, 8-4. Stanford and Cal then traded singles victories for a 3-3 tie entering the final match between Or Dekel and Warburg on court four. Immersed in a 4-1 lead in the third set, Dekel looked primed to claim the Cal victory, but Warburg had something to say about that. The Stanford sophomore rallied to take five straight games to win the match, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, and ultimately the victory for the Cardinal.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats, immersed in a three-match win streak, are fresh off an upset victory over #11 Washington, improving their record to 8-8 overall and 2-2 in conference play. Sophomore Colin O'Grady leads the squad in overall wins with an 18-12 record while freshman Roger Matalonga holds the edge in dual match play with a 12-4 mark. Junior Carl Hagman comes in ranked #112 in the nation.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils (8-9, 4-1, Pac-10) are led by #81 Pim Van Mele who has compiled a 15-11 overall record, including 9-8 in dual match play. Chris Letcher checks in at #106 in singles while the doubles combination of Olivier Charroin and Chris Stewart is ranked #24 with a 14-6 overall record.
LAST OUTING IN THE DESERT: In early March, Cal traveled to Arizona and left a dust cloud in its wake, completing its first desert sweep since 1998. On Friday, March 7, the Sun Devils swept the doubles matches, but the Bears claimed four of the six singles contests to edge ASU, 4-3. On Saturday, March 8, Cal claimed two of three doubles matches and five of six singles contests for the 6-1 victory. The last time that California swept all four matches with the Arizona schools in a single season was 1995.
DOUBLES COMING ON STRONG: After suffering consecutive setbacks in doubles play vs. Illinois (3/25) and Oregon (3/28), the Bears have rallied to take four straight doubles points, including sweeps in two of the last three. The brand new combination of sophomore Patrick Briaud and John Paul Fruttero has been successful, as the pair has compiled a 3-1 record on court No. 2. Conor Niland and Balazs Veress have also been on fire, claiming three wins in a row. After claiming five consecutive victories on the top court, Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk moved up in the national rankings, taking over the #10 spot. Overall, the team has claimed 13 of a possible 18 doubles points.