No. 20 Cal Has Busy Week at Home

Feb. 24, 2004

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WHAT'S ON TAP: The California men's tennis team takes on Utah, Arizona and Arizona State, in Berkeley, February 25-27. This week marks the beginning of a long home stretch for the Bears. Cal plays eight of their next 11 matches at the Hellman Tennis Complex.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Utah comes to Cal unrated by the ITA. The Utes enter the day 5-3, but are at No. 6 Stanford Tuesday before coming to Berkeley. They recently fell to the University of San Francisco, 5-2. The Utes have had a tough time against the Bears. Cal holds a 25-6-1 advantage over Utah, including a 7-0 win in 2003. Arizona comes calling ranked No. 42 nationally. The Wildcats are led by No. 66 Roger Matalonga, who sits at 14-4 overall, including an 8-1 record in the new year. Arizona is 6-3 on the season, after back to back losses to USC and UCLA. The Bears lead the all-time series against the Wildcats 37-12. ASU hopes to erase the memory of a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Bears a year ago. The Sun Devils have lost 40 of 51 matches against the Bears all time, but enter the week ranked No. 23, fresh off an upset of UCLA, 5-2. They are led by Clinton Letcher, who sits No. 79 nationally.

PREVIOUSLY: Then No. 11 Cal fell to the Stanford Cardinal, 5-2, in a match that took two days to finish due to the off and on showers in the Bay Area. The loss dropped the Bears to 1-5 on the season.Wayne Wong and Daniel Sebescen continued to be bright spots for the Bears. Wong won his ninth match of the season over 2003 All-American K.C. Corkery, 6-2, 7-6. Sebescen moved his record to 4-4 on the year, taking care of Phil Sheng, 6-0, 7-6.

WONG ENTERS RANKINGS: Wayne Wong's unconventional style of play has earned him the No. 41 position in the latest ITA rankings. Wong is 3-1 on court No. 2 this season, defeating ranked opponents such as Matt Lockin of Vanderbilt, Calle Hansen of Pepperdine and KC Corkery of Stanford. Wong is 9-5 overall this season.

NEWCOMERS MAKING CONTRIBUTIONS: Jacob Leivent sits at an even 7-7, while fellow newcomer Tyler Browne also has seven wins on the season. Freshman Daniel Sebescen has only been a member of the team for a little over a month, but has contributed mightily, going 4-4 so far, including 3-3 in court No. 3.

No. 10 NILAND SLOWED BY INJURY: The fall tournament season was one of great success for the Golden Bears, especially for junior Conor Niland, who showed the nation why he entered the fall ranked No. 25 in the country. The native of Limerick, Ireland, posted a 12-4 record in the fall, winning 10 in a row at one stretch in mid-October. Niland won the ITA All-American Consolation Championship Oct. 12 over Pedro Rico of Pepperdine, (7-6,6-3). One week later he defeated All-American and the current No. 2 player in the country, Alex Slovic of Washington, to take the ITA Fall Regional title. For his efforts, Niland enters the spring of 2004, ranked No. 10 in the nation. Niland, however has not yet competed in the spring due to an injury to his dominant arm suffered over the holiday season. Despite the injury, Niland expects to be back and contend for top honors this spring.

COACHES CORNER: Considered one of the best teachers and tacticians in men's collegiate tennis, Peter Wright has developed a reputation for getting more out of his players than perhaps any coach in the country.Wright's coaching talent hasn't gone unnoticed. He has been named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2001 and 1997, and received his first coaching award in 1994, when he was named Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year for guiding the Bears back to postseason play after Cal had missed the Big Dance the previous two seasons. Wright and the Bears have been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament almost every year since. The ninth coach in the 111-year history of Cal tennis, Wright has compiled a 140-92 (.603) career record during his tenure in Berkeley.

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