March 28, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - It's Spring Break for Santa Clara University and men's tennis head coach George Husack is taking his team away from the gloomy weather and to the sunny beaches of Southern California. On Wednesday, Santa Clara (9-8) matches up with UC Santa Barbara at 1:30 p.m. and then takes on West Coast Conference foes Loyola Marymount and No. 2 Pepperdine on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Game times are set for 1 p.m. against the Lions and 1:30 against the Waves.
"Our team performed well over the weekend and I believe it has prepared us for this next series of important matches. We have the opportunity to compete against nationally ranked programs, as well as face conference foes which will impact our seeding for the postseason tournament," stated Husack. "We've steadily improved as the season has gone along and continue to gain valuable experience and confidence in ourselves with every match."
The Gauchos enter Wednesday's contest with the Broncos sporting an overall mark of 8-6, including a 5-1 defeat Dartmouth last Saturday. UC Santa Barbara is a youthful squad, with four freshman taking spots in the starting singles line-up. Bijan Hejazi, Grant Robertson, Max Taylor, and Carsten Thorstensen have all made a significant impact in their first year in Division I tennis, though senior Nick Brotman occupies the No. 1 position. Marty Davis is in his seventh season at the helm of the UC Santa Barbara program and was named the 2002 and 2003 Big West Coach of the Year after leading his team to consecutive league titles.
"UC Santa Barbara is one of the top teams from the Big West conference and has had many solid results this year. They have a deep team comprised of veteran leadership at the top with talented underclassmen throughout the lineup," said Husack. "We have developed a good rivalry with the Gauchos as the home team has captured the last couple of contests. We know their players pretty well and I anticipate a tight match."
In a key WCC showdown, Loyola Marymount will be looking improve upon its 10-8 record with a victory over Santa Clara. The singles line-up is dominated by upperclassmen, as juniors Linas Cicenas, Matt Phillips, Reyniere Roxas, and Nicolas Terrien occupy a majority of the spots, though seniors Carlos Malet and Michael Wojnarowicz have earned playing time for the Lions as well. Nik DeVore is in his fifth season at Loyola Marymount and has an overall record of 72-44 at LMU.
"We know LMU very well as they have five returning starters in their top six. This match has always been a close one in both doubles and singles - Santa Clara beat Loyola Marymount in the first round of the WCC tournament last year. They've had a good string of success of late and will be tough to play at home," noted Husack.
Prior to its WCC match up with Santa Clara, Pepperdine (21-1) will face No. 74 Harvard on Saturday, April 1. Last weekend, Pepperdine won its eight straight match after taking down No. 28 California 5-2, behind the strength of seniors Scott Doerner, Ivor Lovrak, and Pedro Rico. In addition, junior Richard Johnson, sophomore Andre Bergemann, and freshman Omar Altmann have provided depth in the singles and doubles line-ups. Adam Steinberg is in his fourth year as the head coach of Pepperdine and he has compiled an overall record of 81-24 record while on the Malibu, Calif. campus.
"Pepperdine has one of their strongest teams. I thought their team was very good last year, however, they're even better this season," commented Husack. "One of the top teams in the country, the Waves will provide us with a tremendous opportunity to round out our spring break. We have traditionally competed very well against them and I look to see much of the same this Sunday."