Jan. 28, 2009
No. 50 Arizona takes on No. 10 Florida at the National Spring Kick-Off
Date: Friday, Jan. 30, 2009
Time: 10:00 a.m. (Tucson time)
Location: Gainesville, Fla.
Match Data: The Wildcats hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the No. 10 Florida Gators in the National Spring Kick-Off.
The Rankings: In the latest ITA collegiate rankings, Arizona is listed at No. 50 overall. Individually sophomore Jay Goldman is ranked No.88 in singles play and the doubles team of Francois VanderMerwe and Pat Metham is listed at No. 18. Florida is listed at N0.10 overall. Individually, freshman Joey Burkhardt is No. 63, sophomore Tyler Hochwalt is No. 66 and freshman Carlos Cueto is No. 87.
Arizona Head Coach Tad Berkowitz…will begin his fourth season at the helm for the Wildcats. He currently has a record of 30-37. 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 Gators: The Gators are coming into the match ranked No. 10 in the country. Like the Wildcats, the Gators are 2-0 in the young season beating Furman 5-2 and Baylor 7-0. Florida has talented, but have inexperience with seven of the nine players being either sophomores or freshmen.
The Series vs. Florida: This will be the third meeting of the two schools, with the series being tired at 1-1.
Fitting In Nicely: Newcomer Andres Arango has made a positive impact on the Wildcats. Through two matches, Arango is 2-0 in singles play, playing in position one against Northern Arizona and position two against Nevada. Against NAU, he defeated Chris Arena 6-1, 6-4, then beat Nevada’s Alex Daruty 6-0, 6-1. Arango also teamed with freshman Jason Zafiros and beat Nevada’s duo of Tony Bulich and Gabe Kanzelmeyer.
Home Sweet Home: One player particularly excited for the National Spring Kick-Off is freshman Jason Zafiros, whose hometown of Bradenton, Fla. is only two-and-a-half hours away from Gainesville. Zafiros is looking to continue his dominance. In both singles matches against NAU and Nevada, he has made quick work of his opponent beating NAU’s Jacob Tracy 6-1, 6-0 and Nevada’s Tony Bulich 6-1, 6-1.
Competitive Non-Conference Schedule: The Wildcats will face solid competition, preparing them for the ever challenging Pac-10. Seven of the 15 teams Arizona faces are currently ranked in the ITA top 75.
10) Florida 54) San Diego
21) Texas Tech 60) Iowa
40) South Florida 67) San Francisco
41) Fresno State
Tough Conference Slate: A glance at the rankings around the Pac-10 finds every team outside of Oregon ranked.
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 play on Saturday at the National Spring Kick-Off. Opponent and time are TBA.