Big West Opponents: In the second weekend of the spring season, the Arizona men’s tennis team faces two opponents out of the Big West Conference. The Wildcats face off against UC Santa Barbara at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center. Arizona is scheduled to have its second match against Pacific at noon on Sunday, Feb. 5, at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.
Last Time Out: Arizona swept its home opener against Montana State and remained undefeated with a 6-1 victory over New Mexico. Roger Matalonga was 2-0 in the No. 1 position, while Arizona overall was 11-1 in singles over the weekend.
Scouting UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos are 3-1 on the season. Their only loss came against the Pac-10’s Southern California. The Gauchos had a 4-3 upset of No. 63 Brigham Young on Jan. 23. Santa Barbara is ranked No. 69 in the Jan. 31st ITA rankings.
Scouting Pacific: The Tigers are 2-0 on the season. They defeated fellow Big West Conference member UC Davis 4-3 on Jan. 29. Pacific is led by sophomore Arnar Sigurdsson, who is ranked 67th in singles.
Series History: This is the 15th meeting between Arizona and UC Santa Barbara. Arizona leads the series 11-3. The Wildcats won last year’s meeting 5-2. This is the third meeting between the Wildcats and Tigers. Arizona is 2-0 all-time in the series.
Tremendous Transfer: Since transferring from Florida State, Jeff Groslimond is 2-0 at No. 2 singles and 1-1 in doubles matches. In his two singles victories, he has rallied from behind to win both matches.
Starting It Off: Heading into the 2006 season, the Arizona men’s tennis team is looking to improve on last year’s 8-12 record and final ranking of No. 55. The team will be led by first-year head coach Tad Berkowitz. The team returns eight letterwinners from last season including two seniors, one junior and five sophomores, as well as one redshirt freshman. The fall season was a successful one for the Wildcats, with five players posting winning records. It was an opportunity for Arizona’s younger players to get experience before starting the spring season. The team looks to use leadership and experience from its three seniors to build on last season.
Fall Finishers: Redshirt freshman Peter Zimmer led the Wildcats with a 10-4 record in the fall, including a win streak of six matches. Roger Matalonga and Claudio Christen also had solid showings in the fall season, going 9-4 and 8-3, respectively. Three pairs posted winning records for Arizona in the fall. Daniel Andrus was a part of two of those pairs that included Matalonga and Francois VanderMerwe. Christen and Zimmer made up the third pair.
Wildcats in the Rankings: Arizona moves down in the rankings this week to No. 58. Roger Matalonga is ranked No. 18 in singles, the highest single’s ranking of his career. Matalonga and Daniel Andrus begin the season ranked at No. 26 as a pair.
Stacked Pac: The Pac-10 will be difficult again this year with five teams beginning the season ranked in the top 25. UCLA is the defending national champion and is led by Benjamin Kohlloeffel’s No. 3 singles ranking. Along with UCLA, Stanford, Washington and Arizona open the spring season with both a singles and doubles pair ranked.
Home Court Advantage: Arizona’s schedule this season includes 15 home matches. All but one of their non-conference matches will be played in Tucson. Seven of these matches will be against teams that finished in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings last season.
Next Match: Arizona will return to action in two weeks at home against Fresno State on Friday, Feb. 18, and against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday, Feb. 19.