This Week: The No. 43 Arizona men’s tennis team (12-9, 3-4) travels to UCLA to take on No. 23 Colorado at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, in the first round of NCAA Championship play. Host and tenth-seed UCLA will take on Stony Brook in the other regional match up. The winners will then compete at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 14, for the right to advance to the Round of 16 hosted by Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., beginning on May 20.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats had a rough outing at the Pac-10 Championships. No. 52 Roger Matalonga was upset in the first round by No. 102 Mathieu Dehaine of UCLA. Jeff Groslimond had a solid showing, making it to the quarterfinals before falling to 23rd-ranked KC Corkery of Stanford. No other Wildcats advanced past the second round.
Scouting Colorado: No. 23 Colorado (19-8) is led by No. 51 Eric Molnar. Molnar has a 25-16 record overall. The Buffaloes finished the season with a loss to No. 2 Texas in the second round of Big-12 Championships. In the first round, Colorado defeated No. 6 Texas Tech.
Series History: This will be the fifth time that the two teams have faced each other. Arizona holds a 4-0 advantage in the series. In the fall season, Wildcat players were 2-2 against Buffalo players.
Saluted Seniors: Roger Matalonga has been honored as Pac-10 Player of the Week twice this year (Jan. 30-Feb. 5, March 20-28). Jeff Groslimond received the honor once (Feb. 13-20).
Match Point Matalonga: In Arizona’s match against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 2, Roger Matalonga fought off 11 match points to earn a victory over Nick Brotman. The win also gave the Wildcats a 4-3 victory over the Gauchos.
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: Roger Matalonga fell to No. 57 this week in the rankings. Jeff Groslimond and partner Claudio Christen dropped two spots to No. 49. As a team, Arizona remained at No. 43.
Stacked Pac: The Pac-10 was difficult again this year with four teams ranked in the Top 25: No. 9 UCLA, No. 14 Stanford, No. 20 Washington and No. 23 California. UCLA, the defending national champion, features first-ranked singles player Benjamin Kohlloeffel. Kohlloeffel, along with Phillip Gruendler, are the second-ranked doubles pair. California’s Conor Niland is the fourth-ranked singles player. Stanford also has two singles players ranked in the Top 25.
Home Court Advantage: Arizona’s schedule this season included 15 home matches. All but two of its non-conference matches were played in Tucson. Seven of those matches were against teams that finished in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings last season. The Wildcats took advantage of their home schedule posting a 10-4 record in Tucson. Arizona was 2-5 away from home.
Next Match: Should Arizona win its first and second round matches, it will advance to the Round of 16 hosted by Stanford May 20-May 23.