April 23, 2013
Thursday, April 25-Saturday, April 27 at the Pac-12 Championships
April 25 at 2 p.m. - No. 18 Cal (13-8, 3rd seed) vs. No. 74 Utah (13-11, 6th seed)
Libbey Park - Ojai, Calif.
Coverage: @CalMensTennis on Twitter
BERKELEY - With an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships at stake, 18th-ranked and third-seeded California will open the Pac-12 Championships on Thursday, April 25, against sixth-seeded Utah at 2 p.m. at Libbey Park in Ojai, Calif. The eight-team conference tournament starts on Wednesday and ends on Saturday, April 27.
After a stirring victory over No. 42 Stanford on the Farm, the Golden Bears finished the regular season on a five-match winning streak and with an overall record of 13-8. After beating seventh-seeded Oregon on April 24, 4-3, the Utes bring a 13-11 record into Thursday's match.
The Pac-12 Men's Tennis Championships will be the featured event - along with the Pac-12 Women's Tennis Championships - at the 113th annual Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament at the Ojai Valley Tennis Club, which attracts 1,600 of the best college, junior, and open players from the Western states. The annual event, started by William Thacher in 1896, has always been played at the same site and interrupted only five times. Players of the caliber of Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport, Michael Chang, Rick Leach, Tracy Austin, Billy Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, and the Bryan twins have all played in the historic tournament.
This is the second year that the men's tournament will be played in a team-tournament format in Ojai, with the champion earning automatic qualification to NCAAs. Last season, Cal fell in the semifinal round to UCLA, 5-0. USC won the AQ to NCAAs with a 4-2 victory over UCLA in the final.
The Pac-12 Networks will televise the men's team final on a delayed basis, showing Saturday's championship on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Here are ticket prices for the tournament:
Student/Senior (over 60): $20
Child (under 18): $15
General Admission: $20
Student/Senior (over 60): $10
Child (under 18): $10
For more information - including directions to the Ojai Valley Athletic Club and Libbey Park - please visit the Ojai tournament website at www.ojaitourney.org/tournament-info.
Scouting the Golden Bears
On April 12 at the Hellman Tennis Complex, Cal beat Utah, 6-1, with the 31st-ranked pair of Konigsfeldt and junior Campbell Johnson defeating the Utah pair of Dmytro Mamedov and Ben Tasevac, 8-5, on court one to clinch the doubles point
Sophomore Gregory Bayane secured the overall win over the Utes when he beat Devin Lane, 7-6(6), 6-4, on court four to give the Bears a 4-0 advantage
Konigsfeldt claimed the Pac-12 Player of the Week award on April 9 for his play in wins over Oregon and Washington; McLachlan (on March 19) and Bayane (March 12) also earned the conference accolade, giving Cal three on the season
Cal is one of 14 schools with both its men's and women's tennis teams ranked in the ITA poll as of the April 23 poll; the Cal women are ranked seventh this week
The ITA ranks the following Bears in singles: No. 33 Ben McLachlan, No. 62 Johnson, No. 82 Konigsfeldt and No. 122 Riki McLachlan
Cal features the following ranked doubles teams: No. 32 Johnson/Konigsfeldt, No. 59 B. McLachlan/senior Riki McLachlan and No. 66 Engsted/Ben McLachlan
Konigsfeldt and Riki McLachlan are Cal's co-captains
Peter Wright (Cal '91) is in his 20th year as Cal's head coach
Eighteenth-ranked Cal followed a similar script to beat No. 42 Stanford on April 20 at the Taube Tennis Center, as Gregory Bayane again defeated Robert Stineman in three sets to clinch the latest Golden Bear victory. Trailing after the first set, Bayane rebounded to claim a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, victory over Stineman. On Feb. 24 in Berkeley, Bayane beat Stineman, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, to secure that match, which wound up with a 5-2 score.
Cal finishes the regular season with a 13-8 record (5-1 in the Pac-12), while Stanford has an 11-10 (3-4 Pac-12) record.
Just as on Feb. 24, Cal lost the doubles point to Stanford on Saturday. The Bears' 56th-ranked team of freshman Mads Engsted and junior Ben McLachlan fell in an upset to Stanford's Maciek Romanowicz and Robert Stineman, 8-6, on court two. On court one, the 33rd-ranked team of junior Campbell Johnson and senior Christoffer Konigsfeldt dropped a 9-7 match to the 68th-ranked Stanford duo of John Morrissey and Denis Lin to clinch the point for the Cardinal. Bayane and fellow sophomore Chase Melton then lost to Daniel Ho/Jamin Ball, 8-6, on court three.
In singles, the 37th-ranked McLachlan tied the team match with a 6-2, 6-4, win over No. 42 Morrissey, but Cal freshman Wyatt Houghton then lost to Trey Strobel, 6-2, 6-4, on court six, as Stanford reclaimed the lead at 2-1.
The Bears claimed the team win with successive victories on courts two, three and four. Konigsfeldt, ranked No. 78, beat No. 109 Paige, 6-4, 6-1, and then Johnson, ranked 56th, upended Romanowicz, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, before Bayane wrapped up the match on court four. A few of Bayane's exuberant teammates briefly celebrated with him on the court, as the Cal track and field team - which also competed at Stanford on Saturday - looked on.
Engsted, fell to Ho, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, on court five to make the final score 4-3.
Cal hopes to compete in the NCAA Championships that begin May 10-12 as either the Pac-12 champion or as an at-large team.