No. 32 Cal Travels to Los Angeles to Compete in NCAA Regional
Cal Competes in Fifth Straight NCAA Championships: The No. 32-ranked California men's tennis team travels to Los Angeles this weekend to compete in a NCAA first and second-round regional hosted by USC. The Golden Bears (7-14 overall, 2-3 Pac-10) are competing in their fifth consecutive NCAA championships and are making the 38th NCAA postseason appearance in school history. Cal finished the regular season alone in sixth place in the Pac-10 conference after losing its last four dual matches and six of its last seven contests. Cal's last dual match victory was against No. 9 Stanford in Berkeley on April 6.
As one of the 64 teams selected to participate in the NCAA championships, Cal, along with San Diego and Montana State, will travel to USC and play against each other to determine which team will advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in Tulsa, Okla. on May 22.
NCAA Regional Match Format: Cal plays San Diego (13-7) in a first round match on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Marks Tennis Stadium in Los Angeles. If the Bears defeat San Diego, they will play either No. 2-seed USC (19-3) or Montana State (17-5) in the second round on Sunday at 12 noon. The winner of the regional will travel to the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. for the Round of 16 on May 22.
NCAA Postseason History: The Golden Bears are competing in their fifth consecutive NCAA championships. This will be the 38th NCAA postseason appearance in school history. Cal owns a 104-38 (.732) cumulative postseason record at the NCAAs and has appeared in four championship matches, five semifinals, 11 quarterfinals, and 11 'Sweet 16' contests in program history. Last season, Cal defeated Sacramento State, 4-0, and Boise State, 4-1, in the first and second rounds respectively at Hellman Tennis Center in Berkeley and then moved on to Athens, Ga. where the Bears defeated Ohio State, 4-0, to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. Cal lost to Stanford, 4-0, in the quarterfinals to end the season.
Wright Stuff: Head coach Peter Wright has guided the Golden Bears to 10 NCAA appearances during his tenure at Cal. The ninth coach in the history of the program, he was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2001 and 1997. He 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 a two-year absence. Wright has produced 10 All-Americans including three All-America doubles teams over the past three seasons. Wright has compiled a 147-108 (.576) career record during his 11 years in Berkeley.
Pac-10 Individual Championships in Review: Although they didn't bring home a Pac-10 championship, both Balazs Veress and Patrick Briaud had impressive runs in this year's Pac-10 individual championships in Ojai, Calif., April 22-25. As a doubles team, Veress and Briaud advanced to the semifinals before losing a hard-fought match to UCLA's Philipp Gruendler and Luben Pampoulov, 9-7. In singles action, Veress and Briaud each individually advanced to the quarterfinals before losing three set matches. Veress lost to UCLA's Chris Lam, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, while Briaud fell to Stanford's eventual Pac-10 singles champion Sam Warburg, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-4. Cal's Tyler Browne and Daniel Sebescen also made noise in the championships as a doubles team, defeating UCLA's No. 7-ranked Alberto Francis and Kris Kwinta, 8-5, in the first round. Browne and Sebescen defaulted the following match in the quarterfinal round due to injury.
Bears Claim Pac-10 Honors: In a vote by conference coaches, Cal's No. 6-ranked doubles team of senior Balazs Veress and junior Patrick Briaud has been named the 2004 Pac-10 Co-Doubles Team of the Year, sharing the honor with UCLA's Alberto Francis and Kris Kwinta. Veress and Briaud are the first Bear duo to win the award, which was first given in 2000. The doubles team has accumulated a 20-11 overall record playing at the No. 1 doubles position this season and advanced to the semifinals at the 2004 Pac-10 Individual Championships before falling. Veress and fellow senior Wayne Wong were named second team All-Pac-10.
NCAA Championship Individual Selections: The NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Subcommittee has selected 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams that will compete in the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships. In singles competition, Cal senior Wayne Wong has been selected and fellow senior Balazs Veress has been chosen as the No. 6 alternate. In doubles competition, the No. 6-ranked Cal duo of Veress and junior Patrick Briaud has been selected as one of the 5-8 seeds. The singles and doubles competition will be held May 26-31 in Tulsa, Okla. The Bears have never won a NCAA singles title but have claimed nine NCAA doubles championships - the All-America doubles team of Matt Lucena and Bent-Ove Pedersen won the last one in 1991.
Cal's Dynamic Duo Earns All-America Accolades: By virtue of being selected one of the top eight seeds at the upcoming NCAA doubles championships, Balazs Veress and Patrick Briaud have earned automatic All-America status. It is the first such honor for both Veress and Briaud and the third consecutive season that Cal has had an All-America doubles team, joining John Paul Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk in 2002 and Kowalczyk and Steve Berke in 2003.
Bears in the Rankings: The No. 6-ranked doubles team of Balazs Veress and Patrick Briaud tops the list of Golden Bears in the latest ITA individual rankings. The doubles team of Tyler Browne and Daniel Sebescen also enters the rankings at No. 53 after upsetting UCLA's No. 7-ranked double team of Alberto Francis and Kris Kwinta at the Pac-10 individual championships.
Singles DoublesNo. 17 Conor Niland No. 6 Balazs Veress / Patrick BriaudNo. 56 Wayne Wong No. 53 Tyler Browne / Daniel SebescenNo. 71 Balazs Veress
Senior Shines in the Spotlight: Playing in the No. 1 or No. 2 singles spot all season, Cal senior Wayne Wong has played inspired tennis recently. He is 3-3 over his last six matches, but two of those victories came at the expense of two of the top players in the country. Wong defeated Stanford's No. 8 Sam Warburg, the 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Year, 6-3, 6-4, on April 6 and USC's No. 19 Adriano Biasella, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, on April 16. Wong is 18-14 overall in singles play this season and has vaulted from No. 118 to No. 56 in the nation in the ITA individual rankings since the beginning of April.
Close Matches: The Bears have been involved in seven dual matches that have been decided by a single point this season. Cal is only 3-4 in those matches overall, but the Bears have won their last two 4-3 decisions, including victories over No. 20 Harvard (March 29) and No. 11 Stanford (April 6). Since the beginning of March, Cal is 3-2 in games decided by one point.
Youthful Squad Dealt Challenging Schedule: Seventeen of Cal's 23 dual matches this season have been against teams currently ranked in the Top 25. With a young squad featuring five newcomers who play important roles for head coach Peter Wright, the Bears have struggled against more experienced teams this season. But 2004's tough schedule is sure to pay off in the coming years, as Cal's freshmen mature against the best competition the nation has to offer.
Scouting San Diego: Currently ranked No. 39 in the country, the San Diego Toreros (13-7) are making their second straight NCAA postseason appearance. The Toreros are led by sophomore Pierrick Ysern, who is ranked No. 74 in the latest ITA individual rankings. San Diego finished in second place at the West Coast Conference Championships and defeated the following ranked teams during the regular season: Tulsa, Florida State, San Diego, Minnesota, and Purdue. Cal owns a 24-5 all-time record in the series versus San Diego.
Scouting USC: The USC Trojans (19-3) are currently ranked No. 4 in the nation with a 19-3 overall record. The Trojans finished with a 6-1 conference mark to claim a share of the Pac-10 title with UCLA. Led by first team All-Pac-10 senior No. 19 Adriano Biasella, USC is the No. 2 seed overall in the 64 team NCAA championships. The Trojans have won 16 NCAA team championships. USC defeated Cal twice this season: 7-0 in Los Angeles on April 3 and 5-2 in Berkeley on April 16. USC owns a 116-33-4 all-time record versus Cal in the series between the two schools.
Scouting Montana State: The Montana State Bobcats (17-5) won the Big Sky Conference title to earn the league's automatic berth to the NCAA championships. The Bobcats are paced by sophomore Federico Ueltschi, who is ranked No. 78 in the latest ITA individual rankings. Ueltschi has posted a 28-7 overall mark and 17-4 dual match record in singles play this season. Also notching 20-win seasons for Montana State are Marek Gebicki (25-7) and Tej Chigateri (20-6). Cal has never before faced Montana State.