Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Wildcats Face Tough Competition
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 15, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Ranked Rivals: For the first time this season, the Arizona men’s tennis team will face two ranked opponents in one weekend. The Wildcats face off against No. 67 Fresno State at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center. Arizona is scheduled to have its second match against No. 45 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at noon on Sunday, Feb. 19, at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.


Last Time Out: Arizona improved its record to 4-0 two weeks ago with wins over UC Santa Barbara and Pacific. The Wildcats had no matches scheduled for last weekend.


Scouting Fresno State: The Bulldogs are 5-1 on the season. They started the season undefeated before falling to California on Feb. 11, 7-0. Fresno State is ranked No. 67 in the Feb. 14th ITA rankings.


Scouting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: The Islanders are 2-3 on the season.  All three of their losses have come against ranked opponents. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is ranked 45th and features two ranked singles players: Raul Moranti-Rivas at No. 30  and Andrev Kumantsov at No. 51 .


Series History: This is the ninth meeting between Arizona and Fresno State. Arizona leads the series 6-2. The Wildcats won the two team’s previous meeting in the 2004 season, 4-3. This is the first meeting between the Wildcats and Islanders.


Superb Start: Arizona (4-0) is off to its best start since the 2002 season when the Wildcats began 5-0.


Match Point Matalonga: Roger Matalonga was named the Pac-10 Men’s Tennis Player of the Week for Jan. 30-Feb. 5. Matalonga is 4-0 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 4-0 at No. 2 singlesand 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).


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 stays at No. 58 in the rankings this week. 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 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 begin Pac-10 play next weekend on the road. On Friday, Feb. 24, the Wildcats will face UCLA and on Saturday, Feb. 25 they will play USC.

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