The No. 17 Men's Tennis Team Opens Pac-10 Action Against UCLA, USC

Jan. 31, 2006

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The No. 17 California men's tennis team will open Pac-10 play against the LA schools this weekend. The Golden Bears defeated both Santa Clara (6-1) and St. Mary's (7-0) on Sunday, Jan. 22 at the Hellman Tennis Center.

UCLA comes to the Bay Area with a 3-0 record after defeating No. 31 Boise State, No. 38 San Diego and BYU. The Bruins are the defending national champions led by No. 3 Benjamin Kohlloeffel. Against Boise State, Kohlloeffee defeated No. 13 Luke Shields, 6-0, 6-0. Kohlloeffee teamed up with Philipp Gruendler to defeat the No. 7 ranked Boise State duo of Shields and Thomas Schoeck, 8-5.

USC will enter Saturday's match after facing Stanford on Friday. The Trojans prior to their Bay Area trip hone a 4-1 record, with wins over Santa Clara, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbra and San Diego State. USC is led by Dejan Cvetkovic. He is coming off a loss at the hands of San Diego State's Benedikt Stronk (1-6, 7-6, 6-3).

The Bears moved up the rankings from No. 19 to No. 17 in the first Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released Tuesday, Jan. 31, by the ITA. Two Golden Bears are still ranked in the individual poll - junior Tyler Browne was ranked No. 55 and Daniel Sebescen was ranked No. 79.

Senior Conor Niland and freshman Eoin Heavey both hail from Ireland. Niland from Limerick and Heavey from Dublin. The two Ireland natives teamed up on the court in doubles against both Santa Clara and Saint Mary's. The Irish duo went 1-0 on the day in the No. 1 position, defeating Santa Clara's Bobby Rasmussen and Jan Macek, 9-8 (1).

Senior Conor Niland entered the dual season with a bang. Niland went 2-0, defeating Santa Clara's Jan Macek (6-1, 6-1) and returning that afternoon to beat Saint Mary's Martin Marechal (6-0, 6-0). Niland improved this season from last, when he opened 1-1; however he went on a four-match winning streak after his first loss.

Junior Daniel Sebescen is 2-0 in the third position after the first week of doubles play. Sebescen defeated Santa Clara's Blane Shields (6-3, 6-0) and Saint Mary's Andre Sion (7-6, 6-2). The native of Subotica, Yugoslavia, played twice in the third position last season posting a disappointing 0-2 record.

Head coach Peter Wright mixed up the doubles team for the first two dual matches. Wright paired, senior Conor Niland and freshman Eoin Heavey, senior Lennart Maack and junior Daniel Sebescen, junior Tyler Browne and senior Dean Wallace, junior John Pettit and sophomore Ken Nakahara. The pairs went 5-1 on the weekend.

Sophomore Ken Nakahara is continuing his singles domination. Nakahara was 6-4 in the fall season. He opened his dual season 2-0, after defeating Santa Clara's Bobby Rasmussen (6-2, 7-5) and Saint Mary's Adam Fauvre (6-4, 6-2).

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.

California will host Fresno State on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Hellman Tennis Center. The match is slated for 1 p.m. (PST).

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