No. 4 Seed Cal to Host NCAA Regional Action, May 10-11
May 6, 2003
BEARS HOST REGIONAL ACTION: The California men's tennis team (18-4, 4-2, Pac-10) enters its fourth consecutive and 37th all-time postseason tournament this Saturday and Sunday, May 10-11, as it hosts one of 16 national regional sites at the Hellman Tennis Center in Berkeley. The Bears, the #1 seed in the region and #4 seed in the NCAA tournament, will face regional #2 seed Sacramento State (12-15) Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in the Round of 64. The victor will challenge the winner between #3 seed Arizona (9-10) and #4 Boise State (17-7) in the Round of 32 Sunday at noon. The champion of the four-team regional will advance to the Sweet 16, held at the University of Georgia in Athens, May 17-26.
WHAT & WHERE: Each team match will be played on six courts and will be stopped immediately when an overall winner is determined. On Saturday, Cal will square off against Sacramento State at 10:00 a.m. while Arizona and Boise State will play at 2:00 p.m. The winners will face each other at 12 p.m. Sunday for the rights to advance to the Sweet 16 in Athens, GA, May 17-26. Ticket will be available in advance or on game day and prices are as follows: Adult ticket - $5, child/senior/college student - $3, and students with I.D. - $3. There are no complimentary tickets available for this event. For more information call 1-800-GO-BEARS.
CAL POSTSEASON HISTORY: The Bears are making their fourth consecutive postseason appearance and 37th showing overall in 2003. Cal owns a cumulative postseason record of 101-37 (.732), with four appearances in the championship match, five in the semis, 10 quarterfinal showings and 10 Sweet 16 appearances. Against the 2003 regional field, the Bears are 12-0 vs. Sacramento State, 37-12 vs. Arizona and 1-0 vs. Boise State.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP INDIVIDUAL PLAY: Sophomore Conor Niland (#36, 25-10) was selected as one of 64 individuals to compete in the 2003 NCAA singles competition, while senior Robert Kowalczyk (#57, 23-9) was selected as the No. 1 alternate. The eighth-ranked duo of Kowalczyk and senior Steve Berke (10-7) was selected to compete in the doubles competition, being named as one of the 5-8 seeds. The All-American Kowalczyk makes his second consecutive doubles trip as he and John Paul Fruttero advanced to the Round of 16 last season. The Bears have never won a NCAA singles competition while claiming nine doubles championships - the last being Matt Lucena and Bent-Ove Pedersen in 1991.
ALL-AMERICANS: With their selection into the top eight seeds of the NCAA Doubles Championships, Berke and Kowalczyk earned automatic All-American status. Both players earn their second such honors, as Kowalczyk and Fruttero earned the award last year and Berke as a junior at Yale.
REVIEWING THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: The first day of competition was a pleasant surprise, as all four of the Cal main draw singles contestants and four of eight invitational draw players advanced to see another day. The story quickly changed, however, as Niland, Kowalczyk and Or Dekel all faltered in the Round of 16, while Fruttero advanced to the quarterfinals. The senior All-American claimed perhaps his best victory of the year in the quarters, defeating Washington's #27 Matt Hanlin in straight sets. Fruttero's run came to a halt in the semis as #26 Marcin Matkowski of UCLA eliminated the Cal senior from the competition. Cal's Wayne Wong and Mik Ledvonova ripped through the invitational draw, finding themselves in a semifinal matchup against each other. Wong took the victory after Ledvonova retired the match, but ultimately fell to UCLA's Alberto Francis in the title match. In doubles action, Fruttero and partner Patrick Briaud fell in the main draw quarterfinals, but the Dekel/Kowalczyk combination cruised to the finals of the invitational draw. The Cal pair could not hold off Stanford's Carter Morris and Sam Warburg in the finals, dropping an 8-5 decision.
SCOUTING SACRAMENTO STATE: The Hornets are making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. For the third straight year, Sacramento State has advance to the tournament after wrapping up the Big Sky Conference championship for the fifth time in the last six years. The Hornets completed the 2003 regular season with a 12-15 overall record, 6-2 in the Big Sky Conference. The last three years, Sacramento State has been defeated 4-0 in the first round, twice to Stanford and once to UCLA. Lewis Van Splunteren paces the singles lineup with a 14-13 record while Anders Albertsen and Nick Sheehan own a 15-4 doubles slate. The Bears and Hornets played one common opponent in 2003, as Sacramento State lost to Fresno State, 7-0, Feb. 8.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: The #34 Wildcats finished the season 9-10 overall and 3-4 in the Pac-10. Arizona last made the tournament in 2001 and fell to Georgia Tech in the first round, 4-2. Arizona secured its bid this season with victories over five ranked opponents, including No. 11 Washington, No. 28 San Diego State, No. 28 Arizona State, No. 48 San Diego, and No. 58 Oregon. Individually for the Cats, juniors Whi Kim and Carl Hagman, and freshman Roger Matalonga were ranked during the spring dual season. Kim and Hagman both peaked at the No. 102 position, while Matalonga broke into the rankings tied at No. 123.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE: The #35 Broncos upset three teams on their way to winning the WAC title April 27, garnering its first such crown in only its second year in the conference. The Broncos have just one senior on the team - #76 Marcus Berntson, who has been ranked in the singles Top 100 all year. He pairs with junior Guillaume Bouvier as the nation's #38 doubles duo, while leading the squad with a 19-10 overall mark. Freshman Thomas Schoeck cracked the Top 125 in the April 28 rankings, checking in at #106 while leading the team in overall victories with a 23-7 singles record. The Broncos and Bears had five common opponents in 2003 as Boise State defeated SMU and BYU, while losing to San Diego State, Oregon and Fresno State.