March 12, 2009
Date: Cal Poly - Saturday, March 14, 2009 Iowa - Sunday, March 15, 2009
Time: Both matches at noon (Tucson time)
Location: Tucson, Ariz., LaNelle Robson Tennis Center
Match Data: The Wildcats (12-1) come into their matches against Cal Poly and Iowa riding a ten-match win streak and an undefeated record at home, 10-0. Arizona will use its next three matches as a tune-up for the ever challenging Pac-10.
The Rankings: In the latest ITA collegiate rankings, Arizona is listed at No. 19 overall. Individually sophomore Jay Goldman is ranked No. 51 in singles play and the doubles team of Francois VanderMerwe and Pat Metham is listed at No. 55.
Arizona Head Coach Tad Berkowitz...will begin his fourth season at the helm for the Wildcats. He currently has a record of 40-38. Berkowitz 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, 34, was a top collegiate player for the universities of Kentucky and New Mexico, respectively. Berkowitz began his coaching career in 1999 as an assistant coach at Alabama for three seasons. In his final year he helped the Crimson Tide earn a No. 18 national ranking and a berth in the NCAA Championships. He is assisted by Tom Lloyd, who is in his fourth year in that capacity.
Scouting the Mustangs: Cal Poly (4-5) enters the week to play three matches in four days. Freshman Andre Dome plays the No. 1 spot for the Mustangs and has build an 8-4 overall record including a win over No. 99 Patricio Alvarado of Southern Miss. The Series vs. Cal Poly: This will be the 6th meeting of the two schools, with the Wildcats holding 5-0 advantage in the series.
Scouting the Hawkeyes: No. 50 Iowa is coming off a win over No. 75 Depaul last week to push its record to 6-1. Senior Christian Bierich leads the Hawkeyes with a 19-3 singles record. The Series vs. Iowa: This will be the 11th meeting of the two schools, with the Wildcats holding 10-0 advantage in the series.
Climbing the Rankings: The Arizona Wildcats has climbed as high as No. 17 in the ITA Rankings. This occurred for the week of March 3, 2009. This is the highest rankings for the Wildcats in 27 years. At the end of the 1981-82 season, Arizona finished ranked No. 16. This is also the highest ranking in head coach Tad Berkowitz tenure. Home Sweet Home: The Wildcats love playing at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center. On the season, the Wildcats are 10-0 when they play at home. Victories include Northern Arizona, Nevada, South Florida, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, Texas Tech, San Diego, New Mexico State and UC Irvine. Arizona has four home matches left before they hit the road to open Pac-10 play against Oregon. Upset Alert: To date, the Wildcats have upset three teams ranked higher than them in the standings. The first upset came against No. 42 North Carolina State, 4-1, at the National Spring Kick-Off in Gainesville, Fla. Next, was a 5-2 upset over No. 34 South Florida. Lastly, a 4-3 win over No. 26 Texas Tech, a match which saw Arizona fight back from a 3-0 deficit.
Two Pac-10 Player of the Weeks: Sophomore Andres Carrasco was named the Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for Feb. 16-22. Carrasco led Arizona to victories over No. 26 Texas Tech and No. 54 San Diego over the weekend. Against Texas Tech, the Barcelona, Spain, native defeated Christian Rojmar in straight set, 7-5, 6-3. Facing San Diego, Carrasco played in the No. 3 singles position and again won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, over the Toreros' Chris Coetzee. He also helped secure the doubles point with teammate Andres Arango, 8-4, over San Diego's Nicola Bubnic and Nils Schive. Junior Andres Arango was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 9. Arango dominated both singles matches and led the Wildcats to an upset win over then-No. 34 South Florida.
Let the Good Times Roll: Freshman Jason Zafiros continues to find ways to win matches. To date, the Bradenton, Fla. native is 13-0, in singles play. He is 4-0 in position No. 5 and 9-0 in position No. 6. In all of his singles matches, Zafiros has lost only three sets. He started his freshman campaign winning 13 straight singles sets.
Comeback Cats: The Wildcats have trailed 3-0 two times this season, once against then-No. 26 Texas Tech and this past weekend against then-No. 42 Fresno State, and have come back to win both matches 4-3. Against the Bulldogs, Jay Goldman, Andres Arango, Ravid Hazi and Jason Zafiros all won their matches in the third set.
Some New (Volunteer) Coaching Help: This year Arizona is pleased to have ATP all-pro Taylor Dent as a volunteer assistant coach throughout the season. Dent, who was ranked as the No. 21 player in the world on August 8th 2005, suffered a back injury which caused him to miss most of the past seasons. After having successful surgery, Dent was contacted by good friend and former coach Tom Lloyd, now an assistant with Arizona, who extended the coaching invitation. Dent, while working on rehabbing his back, will coach the Wildcats on specific and individual techniques. Dent is known as an aggressive serve-and-volleyer with one of the biggest serves on the tour, tying Andy Roddick for the record of fastest serve at 155 mph.
Fall Season: The Cats participated in six fall tournaments during the fall semester...In the Aggie Fall invite, the Costa Mesa Futures, the Arizona Fall Classic, the All-American Championships, the ITA West Regional Championships and the UNLV Classic ... In Las Cruces, N.M., senior Francois VanderMerwe defeated Brian Joiner from ACU 6-1, 6-4 in the Crimson Singles Flight (Final Round) ... In the first annual Arizona Classic, freshman Jason Zafiros won the singles round ... In Las Vegas, VanderMerwe lost to Maxime Adam of Fresno Pacific 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals ... In Malibu, Calif., at the ITA West Regional Championships, four Wildcats- Jay Goldman, Pat Metham, Andres Arango, Andres Carrasco- all advanced to the Round of 16.
Up Next: Arizona will be in action again on Wednesday March 25, when they take on Northwestern at 10:00 a.m. The match will be played at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.