Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Wildcats Open Pac-10 Play on the Road
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 23, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Pac-10 Foes: Arizona will take its undefeated record on the road for the first time this season when it opens Pac-10 competition in Los Angeles. The Wildcats will face defending national champion UCLA on Friday, Feb. 24, at 1:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Feb. 25, Arizona will compete against USC at 1 p.m.


Last Time Out: Arizona improved its record to 6-0 with two victories over the weekend. On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Wildcats defeated No. 67 Fresno State, 5-2. Then on Sunday, Arizona upset No. 45 Texas A&M-Corpus Christ, 6-1.


Scouting UCLA: The No. 7 Bruins (7-3) feature three ranked singles players and two doubles pairs. They are led by third-ranked Benjamin Kohlloeffel (8-3). In its last outing, UCLA defeated No. 14 Washington on the road 4-1.


Scouting USC: The No. 25 Trojans (4-4) are led by their 38th-ranked pair of Phillipp Gruendler and Kaes Van’t. Van’t is also ranked in singles at No. 91. No. 36 San Diego was able to defeat USC in its last match, 4-3.


Series History: This is the 68th meeting between Arizona and UCLA. Arizona has yet to record a win in the series. Last season the Wildcats fell 5-2 and 7-0 to the Bruins. This is the 70th meeting between the Wildcats and Trojans. Arizona has only notched one win in the series. Arizona was 0-2 in the series with USC last season.


Superb Start: Arizona (6-0) is off to its best start since the 1989 season when the Wildcats began 8-0.


Match Point Matalonga: Roger Matalonga was named the Pac-10 Men’s Tennis Player of the Week for Jan. 30-Feb. 5. Matalonga is 4-2 in singles on the season. The honor came after Matalonga was able to fight off 11 match points to earn his victory over UC Santa Barbara’s Nick Brotman. The victory also gave the Wildcats a 4-3 win over UC Santa Barbara.


Tremendous Transfer: Since transferring from Florida State, Jeff Groslimond is 6-0 at No. 2 singles and 1-1 in doubles matches. In the match against Pacific on Feb. 5, Groslimond upset No. 67 Arnar Sigurdsson in straight sets, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4). Groslimond gained his second upset win on Feb. 19, defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s No. 51-ranked Andrey Kumantsov in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0. After the impressive upset, Groslimond was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week fro Feb. 13-20.


By Position: The Wildcats have had very solid play from the No. 2 and No. 3 positions in both singles and doubles. Jeff Groslimond is 6-0 at the two spot while Claudio Christen is also 6-0 at the No. 3 position. In doubles, Arizona is a combined 23-1 at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions.


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 up to No. 53 in the rankings this week. Roger Matalonga moved down to No. 80 in singles after losing his two matches this past weekend. Jeff Groslimond entered the rankings for the first time this season, debuting at No. 84. Matalonga and Daniel Andrus moved down to No. 45 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 two 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 take a break from Pac-10 play and travel to Boise, Idaho, to take on Boise State University on Friday, March 3, at 2 p.m. The Wildcats will face William and Mary on Sunday, March 5, at 10 a.m.

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