Men's Tennis visits Arizona, Arizona State

March 7, 2006

The No. 30 California Golden Bears men's tennis team will travel to the desert to face No. 43 Arizona on Friday, March 10, at 1:30 p.m. (MST) and No. 49 Arizona State on Saturday, March 11, at 1 p.m. (MST). Last weekend, the Bears took a break from dual matches and competed at the Pacific Coast Doubles tournament in La Jolla, Calif.

Entering Friday's match against the Golden Bears, No. 43 Arizona boasts a 7-3 record, with a win over William and Mary this past weekend. The Wildcats are led by senior Roger Matalonga, who is ranked No. XX. Matalonga has posted a 15-7 record this season for the Wildcats and has also provided stability for UA in doubles with partner Daniel Andrus. UA won the last meeting in 2005. Cal holds the edge in the series 38-15.

The Sun Devils, 5-4 entering this week of play will face No. 12 Stanford prior to the Bears on Saturday. Arizona State is coming off a 4-1 loss to Georgia Tech last weekend. Junior Jonathan Kinsella was the lone Sun Devil to win a match in Athlanta, defeating Georgia Tech's Zachary Rath in two sets, 6-4, 6-3. Cal won the last meeting in 2005, 6-1. Cal also holds the lead in the all-time series, 42-13.

The Bears slipped from to No. 30 in the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released Tuesday, March 7, by the ITA. The ranking are now complied by a new computer system, not like the past five weeks of rankings.Senior Conor Niland is the only Golden Bear ranked in the individual poll. Niland is No. 47. The individual poll will be released again on March 8.

No. 47 senior Conor Niland boasts a 7-0 record in singles matches. Niland defeated fourth-ranked Lars Poerschke of Baylor, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, a week ago, and then against BYU Niland went into three sets again for only the second time this season against James Ludlow. Niland won the match 6-0, 2-6, 6-1. The Limerick, Ireland, native has been named men's tennis Pac-10 Player of the Week twice so far this season.

In all the mixing of the doubles pairs, head coach Peter Wright has found the right combination. Seniors Lennart Maack and Dean Wallace have been paired and played both in the second and third positions. The duo boasts wins over Fresno State's Sam Tadevosian and Jordi Ballester, 8-0, along with their most recent victory in the No. 2 position, defeating Stanford's Blake Muller and Jon Wong, 8-4. Prior to their pairing, Maack was teamed with junior Daniel Sebescen and Wallace with junior Tyler Browne. At first position doubles, the Bears seem to have their best match. Senior Conor Niland and Browne teamed up to defeat the sixth-ranked Baylor duo of Matija Zgaga and Jon Reckewey, 8-4, on Sunday. The pair is 2-0, with its win against Zgaga and Reckewey and a victory against Fresno State's Sergiu Modoc and Sam Gibbs, 8-4.

Since freshman Eoin Heavey moved to the fifth position, he has boasted a 3-1 record with his only loss at the hands of Santa Clara's Brian Brogan 6-2, 6-2, on Jan. 22. Heavey has posted big wins over Baylor's Jon Reckewey, 6-3, 6-4 and Stanford's Blake Muller, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. The native of Dublin, Ireland, recorded his first win in the fourth position against BYU's Ivan Kokurin, 6-0, 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.

The Bears will continue on the road, traveling south to Pebble Beach, Calif., to face SMU on March 18 at 10 a.m. (PST) and San Francisco on March 19 at 2 p.m. (PST).

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