Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Set to Host UC Riverside in Opener
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 20, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 20, 2011

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Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) vs. UC Riverside(0-2, 0-0 Big West)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

 11 a.m. MT | LaNelle Robson Tennis Center | Tucson, Ariz.

Match Data: The Wildcats (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) open the 2011 spring season at home against UC Riverside (0-2, 0-0 Big West). The No. 32-ranked University of Arizona men's tennis team will host their first dual match of the season at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.

Swinging Into The Rankings: In the first round of the ITA collegiate rankings on January 4, Arizona received a No. 32 team ranking to start the season, one spot higher from their No. 31 previous ranking. Senior Andres Carrasco received a No. 16 spot in the ITA Southwest Regional rankings.

Arizona Head Coach Tad Berkowitz enters his sixth season as the head coach of the Wildcats. During the 2008-09 season he was named the Pac-10 Men's Tennis Coach of the Year and the Wilson/ITA West Region Coach of the Year.  Last season, he led the Wildcats to a 13-11 overall record and the program's eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament.  He joined the program in 2004 and has held numerous national and collegiate coaching positions. He was promoted to the head coaching position in the spring of 2005 after serving as hall-of-famer Bill Wright's assistant.  Berkowitz was a top collegiate player for the Universities of Kentucky and New Mexico, respectively.

Lucky Seven: The Wildcats return seven players from the 2009-10 team including four seniors. The team has a strong nucleus and brings a lot of experience to the courts. Arizona's seniors: Andres Carrasco, Geoff Embry, Jay Goldman and Borja Malo will all be looked at in singles and doubles competition. Junior Jason Zafiros returns as one of the Cats strong singles players. RS sophomore Tom Wolff along with sophomore Frank Chen will also add experience to the team.

High Five to the Fresh: Head coach Tad Berkowitz is right on target with the signing of five freshmen to the 2010-11 roster. The team welcomes the addition of four freshmen right before the season: Sam Barr, Giacomo Miccini, Kieren Thompson and Andre Vidaller. Adding to the four is freshman Mario Urquidi who joined the team in the fall.  All five could play important roles in singles and doubles action and will add depth to the team's roster.

Scouting the Highlanders: The team holds a 0-2 overall record heading into Friday's and Saturday's matches after just two dual matches. The Highlanders fell to Nevada and San Diego State last weekend and face Northern Arizona on Friday. Last season UC Riverside finished 3-17, falling in the Big West Conference Championships.

The Series vs. UC Riverside: This will be the third meeting between the two schools, with the Wildcats holding a 2-0 advantage over the Highlanders.

Stacked Non-Conference Schedule: As always, the Wildcats face a competitive non-conference schedule, 10 of the 15 non-conference teams started the spring season ranked in the ITA top 75.

 10) Texas A&M                     44) Miami

17) Oklahoma                        46) Indiana

40) Denver                             58) San Diego

41) Mississippi State           67) New Mexico State

43) Boise State                      73) Idaho

Tough Pac-10 Conference: The Pac-10 holds 50 NCAA Men's Team Titles.  A glance at the ITA rankings around the Pac-10 finds six of the seven teams ranked in the top 75 to begin the spring season.

 2) USC


8) Stanford

19) Cal

26) Washington

32) Arizona

NCAA Year By Year Tournament Results:  

1996: (0-1): L, 4-2 to UC-Santa Barbara 

1998: (0-1): L, 4-3 to Arizona State 

2001: (0-1): L, 4-2 to Georgia Tech 

2003: (0-1): L, 4-1 to Boise State 

2004: (1-1): W, 4-3 over Florida State, L, 4-0 to Florida 

2006: (0-1): L, 4-1 to Colorado 

2009: (1-1): W, 4-0 over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, L, 4-0 to Texas A&M

2010: (0-1): L, 4-1 to Minnesota

2010 NCAA Run: The Wildcats advanced to the first round of the 2010 NCAA tournament for the eighth time in school history. Last season No. 30 Arizona fell to then-No.35 Minnesota 4-1 in the opening round. The Wildcats finished the season 13-11 (2-4 Pac-10) and finished the season ranked No. 31 in the ITA rankings.

Four Slammin' Seniors: The Cats will be led by their four senior leaders, Andres Carrasco, Geoff Embry, Jay Goldman and Borja Malo. Andres "Nacho" Carrasco has reached the 50+ singles wins as a Wildcat. In his three years, he has a combined 54-30 singles record while holding a 29-19 doubles record. Goldman, who also enters his fourth year as a Wildcat holds an overall 40-32 singles record while tallying a 22-14 doubles record. Embry and Malo enter their second year as Wildcats, after transferring from Oregon, and the University of Georgia, respectively.

Too Good: As the lone junior on the team Jason Zafiros has established himself as one of the Wildcats most consistent singles players. As a freshmen he finished with an impressive 22-4 overall singles record and tallied a 22-15 record last season.

Double Trouble: RS sophomore Tom Wolff and sophomore Frank Chen enter their second seasons as Wildcats. Both of them will look to gain match experience and provide leadership on the courts. Wolff competed in six fall matches while Chen competed in seven.

All aboard: Four of the five freshmen arrive to Tucson from four different countries. Giacomo Miccini hails from Recanati, Italy; Andre Vidaller is from Santos, Brazil; Kieren Thompson is from Brisbane, Australia; while Sam Barr is from Whakatane, New Zealand. Mario Urquidi, who competed in fall action is a native of El Paso, Texas and finished 5-6 in singles action while competing in three fall tournaments.

Sweet Home History: Last season, the Wildcats finished 8-4 at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center, including a 4-3 win against No. 10 UCLA for the first time in school history.

Fall Season: The Wildcats participated in six tournaments in the fall.  The team competed in the NMSU Fall Invitational, the D'Novo/ITA All-American Championships, the Aztec Invitational, the ITA West Regional Championships, the UNLV Invitational, and the Lakewood Ranch Collegiate Invitational. Freshman Mario Urquidi clinched the Aztec Invitational main draw singles title while junior Jason Zafiros won the back draw singles title. Senior Jay Goldman fell in the finals of the singles main draw at the UNLV Invitational while senior Andres Carrasco fell in the finals of the singles main draw at the Lakewood Ranch Collegiate Invitational.

Up Next: The Wildcats travel to the ITA National Indoor in College Station, Texas on Jan. 31 to face the University of Miami at 3 p.m. MST.

Bear Down Challenge M Ten