California Men's Tennis Notes

Jan. 17, 2006

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The No. 19 California Golden Bear men's tennis team opens its dual season matches this weekend when it hosts Santa Clara and Saint Mary's on Sunday, Jan. 22. The Santa Clara match will begin at 9:30 a.m. (PST) and the Saint Mary's match will start at 2 p.m. (PST). Last week, the team competed in the Mexico Invitational in Manzanillo, Mexico.

Last season California opened its dual matches against Santa Clara. The Bears were victorious over the Broncos, winning their season-opener 7-0 in Berkeley. This season however, Santa Clara has opened the season 2-0 after defeating UC Santa Cruz (4-3) and UC Davis (5-0) this past weekend. Santa Clara was led by freshmen Brian Brogan and Tommy Hicks, who in their first collegiate dual match won their singles matches. In their No. 2 doubles position, sophomores Kevin McQuaid and Blaine Shields defeated their opponents from UC Santa Cruz 8-4. However later in the day against UC Davis, McQuaid and Shields were defeated.

Saint Mary's opened its dual matches, Sunday with a match against UC Irvine. The Gaels fell to the Anteaters 4-3. The Saint Mary's double duo of freshman Achim Christner and sophomore Yury Platonov defeated its opponents 8-6 in the No. 2 position. The Gaels also notched a victory in the No. 2 singles position, when senior Andre Sion defeated Aaron Ellis of UC Irvine, 6-4; 6-2. Saint Mary's travels to face Pepperdine on Saturday before squaring off against the Golden Bears on Sunday.

The Bears are currently ranked No. 19 in the first Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released Monday, Jan. 9, by the ITA. Two Golden Bears were ranked in the individual poll - junior Tyler Browne was ranked No. 55 and Daniel Sebescen was ranked No. 79.

With its first two dual matches of the season looming, the Cal men's tennis team has luck on its side. Last season, the Bears opened play against Santa Clara, defeating the Broncos 7-0 in the match. If history repeats itself, the Bears could look to jump out early.

The Golden Bears went 12-10 in last season's dual matches. Going against difficult competition - Baylor, UCLA and Stanford - Cal's tough schedule was not in its favor. However, the Bears were able to sneak by with excellent wins against the soon-to-be national champions UCLA (4-3, 4/8) and Stanford (5-2, 4/16).

In the fall season, senior Lennart Maack teamed with junior Daniel Sebescen to advance to the semifinals of the Wilson/ITA Regional in Santa Clara, Calif. Although Maack didn't achieve the best record in singles (5-3), he secured a victory in the opening tournament of the spring. Maack defeated, Illinois' Ruben Gonzales (6-4, 3-6, 6-2).

Junior Daniel Sebescen, ranked No. 79 in the latest ITA rankings, posted a 5-4 record in fall singles competition. At the Wilson/ITA Regional, Sebescen advanced to the quarterfinals before eventually loosing to Stanford's James Pade in three sets (6-2, 1-6, 6-4). Additionally he teamed up in the fall with Lennart Maack. The duo of Sebescen and Maack went 3-1 traveling all the way to the semifinals of the Wilson/ITA Regional before loosing to Washington's Daniel Chu and Alex Slovic (8-6).

Already in his first collegiate season, freshman Eoin Heavey has composed an 8-3 record. Heavey boasted two wins at the Mexico Invitational, against Georgia Tech's Zachary Rath (6-3, 6-1) and Illinois' Pramod Dabir (6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(4)).

Junior Tyler Browne finished the fall season with a 6-3 record in doubles, including advancing to the quarterfinals of the ITA Ralph Lauren/Polo All-American. Browne lost in the quarterfinals of the Wilson/ITA Regional in Santa Clara, Calif., on Oct. 21-25.

Senior Conor Niland returns to action this spring for the Golden Bears. The Limerick, Ireland native, has played on the pro circuit as an amateur this fall. Niland finished last season ranked No. 12 in the nation; he also posted two upset wins of over top 10 individuals in singles in the final matches of the regular season.

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. In 1997 and 2001 he was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. He received his first coaching award in 1994 when he was named Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year. Wright and the Bears have been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament almost every year since. The ninth coach in the 110-year history of Cal tennis, Wright has compiled a 149-110 (.576) career record during his tenure in Berkeley. Wright currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as well as the Youth Tennis Advantage and the Arthur Ashe Tennis Foundation of the Bay Area. He established the Bear Trax program at Cal, which brings inner-city children from Oakland to Berkeley for academic tutoring with Cal students and tennis tutoring with the Cal men's and women's teams. Wright is also currently the chairman of the NCAA men's tennis committee. He is assisted by Patrick Briaud, who enters his first season.

The California Golden Bears will open Pac-10 play Feb. 3 with UCLA, then again on Feb. 5 when they host USC at Hellman Tennis Center, located on the Berkeley campus.

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