#46 Men's Tennis Take to the Road to Face #23 USC and #8 UCLA

Feb. 23, 2006

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Match Point:                                                                                                                     The Sun Devils started their season with four straight wins, which they last did in the 2003-2004 season, though they were unable to escape last weekend unscathed as #54 Texas A&M Corpus Christi pulled out a 4-3 win over the Devils. The Devils rallied back on the weekend by defeating the #28 Auburn Tigers in a 4-3 bout to boost them to 5-1 on the season and in the rankings. The Devils are looking strong, especially in doubles as they have given up only one doubles point all season against Auburn, where their singles play made up for them taking four matches from the Tigers.

On Tap:

Next up, the Devils will hit the road to face two powerful Pac-10 opponents over the weekend as they travel to Los Angeles to take on the #23 USC Trojans and #8 Bruins of UCLA. The Trojans are coming off of a three-match losing streak with losses to Cal, Stanford and San Diego, which dropped them from the #18 spot to the #23 spot this week. The match versus the Trojans is set to kick off at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium at USC on Friday afternoon. The #8 Bruins are 7-3 on the season after returning back from competing in the ITA Team Indoors which saw the Bruins defeating #10 Washington and #13 LSU while suffering only one loss to #1 Georgia.

The match versus the Bruins is set to kick off at 1 p.m. at the LA Tennis Center. Neither match will count towards Pac-10 standings.


Series History:

Against the Trojans of USC the Devils have an all-time series history of 8-48, and the UCLA Bruins have topped the Devils 60 times out of 62 meetings.


Home Sweet Home:

Currently the Sun Devils are 5-1 on their home courts at ASU's Whiteman Tennis Center, and for the past six years have posted a 65-35 (.650) overall dual record at home and a 48-27 (.640) record at home against non-conference teams.



Time-tested Leadership:

In his 24th season as head coach, Lou Belken has produced 14 All-Americans and 17 All-Pac-10 selections, including NCAA singles champion and ATP professional Sargis Sargsian. Belken is also only the 12th coach (currently only the third active, including the Women's Tennis Coach, Sheila McInerney and Gymnastics' Coach, John Spini) in ArizonaState athletic history to achieve the 20 season milestone.


The Votes Are In:

The Devils are currently ranked 46 in the ITA Fila Rankings, jumping from their last ranking of 56. They finished last season ranked 50 by the ITA.


Tough Schedule/Tougher Conference:

The Devils as always find themselves competing against some of the best teams in the world, in one of the hardest tennis conferences in the nation in the Pac-10. Currently, five of the eight Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top 25.


Depth Chart:

The Devils have a great roster this year as they have five returning players with an older cast of one senior, Ryan McBride, and three juniors: Christopher Biro, Jonathan Kinsella and Nick Hegarty. The roster also includes two sophomores, one returning from last year, Mike Beatty and transfer from Miami, Ryan Waits. Three freshmen also round out the roster, T.J. Bellama, Will Grist and Wes Miller, who have already jumped in to impact the Devils immediately.



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