April 20, 2012
BERKELEY - The 14th-ranked California men's tennis team (11-10, 4-3 Pac-12) fell, 5-2, to No. 12 Stanford (16-7, 5-2) at the Hellman Tennis Complex on Friday, April 20. The Golden Bears completed the regular-season in fourth place in the Pac-12 and will hold the fourth seed in the first-ever Pac-12 team championship tournament in Ojai, Calif., next weekend (April 25-28).
"We need one more win to really get ourselves in a good position for the NCAA championships," said head coach Peter Wright. "We're setting our sights on that. We've got to play a match in four or five days so that's our next goal. From our standpoint, obviously, it's not the result we were after, today, but we've got to get prepared for the Pac-12's. That's our next step."
In the last regular-season home match of the year, the Bears celebrated Senior Day and the careers, accomplishments, and contributions of seniors Nick Andrews, Carlos Cueto, Ahmed Ismail, and Tommie Murphy, in pre-match ceremonies. The team also honored the contributions of team trainer Linda "Smitty" Smith who will retire, this spring, after 35 years of service to the Cal Athletic Department.
"Nick [Andrews] has just been phenomenal through his four years here at Cal," said Wright. "He started out as a walk-on and ends up being a scholarship guy playing on the No. 1 court in singles and doubles. If you have six of those guys, you're in heaven. He's just been a tremendous contributor, on and off the courts. Carlos [Cueto] has only been here a short time, but he's won some key matches for us and he's just a leader for us in the locker room and on and off the court. Tommie Murphy and Ahmed Ismail have had some injuries keep them out of the lineup, but both of them have contributed in singles and doubles along the way. It's bittersweet. Obviously, we celebrate their contributions to the team and we know that it's not over yet."
"It's been incredible," said Andrews on his four years with the Bears. "The experience has been amazing. I've learned so much from the coaches. Coach Wright has been a great role model and a great influence on my career, here. I'm really happy. It's disappointing to get a loss on your senior day, but we're still looking forward to the postseason, so I don't see this as my last match."
The last time the Bears faced the Cardinal, Stanford swept the doubles courts. Cal turned the tables, today, and won on the top and bottom courts to nab the first point of the day. The Cardinal came up with the first match victory however, as Bradley Klahn and John Morrissey earned an 8-5 win against the Bears' 47th-ranked team of Cueto and sophomore Ben McLachlan at No. 2 doubles.
One minute later, Cal struck back to get a win at court three where its freshman team of Gregory Bayane and Andrew Scholnick took out Matt Kandath and Robert Stineman, 8-3. A win at the top court delivered the first point of the day to the Bears' corner when their fifth-ranked team of Andrews and junior Christoffer Konigsfeldt defeated Denis Lin and Ryan Thacher, 8-4, at the top court.
Into singles matches, Stanford picked up its first point in the dual when No. 45-ranked Klahn upended 48th-ranked Andrews, 6-3, 6-4, on the top court. The Bears went ahead, once more, on a win at court six when junior Riki McLachlan completed a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Lin.
The Cardinal tied the match once more with a win on court three when Kandath defeated 58th-ranked Cueto, 6-2, 6-4. Stanford took its first lead of the day with a win at No. 4 singles where Morrissey won, 6-4, 6-3, against Konigsfeldt.
In a hard-fought three-set match, 41st-ranked Ben McLachlan fell in three sets to No. 31-ranked Thacher at court two. McLachlan won his first set, 6-3, but Thacher responded to get a 6-1 win in the second set. Up, 5-4, in the third set, Thacher held his serve to complete a 6-4 win and deliver the clinching point for Stanford.
At No. 5 singles, Bayane was the last Bear off the courts in a three-set match against Daniel Ho. Ho claimed the first set, 7-5, but Bayane roared back to get a 6-3 win in the second. The Cal freshman carried his momentum into a 4-1 third-set lead, but the Cardinal responded to force a tiebreaker which went Stanford's way for a 7-4 result and a 5-2 final score in the dual.
As the fourth-place team in the conference, the Bears receive a bye in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. Cal will face the winner of a match between the fifth and eighth seeded teams at 11 a.m. PT at Libbey Park in Ojai, Calif., on Thursday (April 26).
Oregon-Washington and Utah-Arizona duals will take place on Saturday (April 21) to determine the final seeding for the tournament. UCLA defeated USC to win the regular-season title and holds the top seed in the championships. Should the Bears advance to the third round, they will face the Bruins for a fourth time, this season. Please visit Pac-12.org and CalBears.com for more information.
No. 12 Stanford 5, No. 14 California 2