October 9, 2002

Men's Tennis Begins Fall Season on Friday

Oct. 9, 2002

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara men's tennis team will open its fall season this weekend at the Wathen/Hancock Bulldog Classic, which runs Friday through Sunday in Fresno.

This will be George Husack's debut as head coach of the Bronco program. "I am very excited for this tournament," said Husack. "Everyone has played in this tournament in the past, so the expectations are pretty much the same, to compete extremely hard. We are very familiar with playing in Fresno and at Fresno State. It is a tough place to play, the courts are very slow. We've been focusing on having longer rallies, on footwork and just competing really hard.

"I am particularly excited to see Erich Chen play. The last time we were down there he had a huge victory, and probably played one of his best matches ever, so I am very excited for him.

"I am also excited to see Erich and Michael Bruggemann play doubles together, because Mike is very determined to get to the finals and win the tournament this weekend. He has reached the semifinals and finals of this tournament in the last two years. Also, I am excited about Francisco Zepponi going back down there, who won the consolation bracket last year, and beat some really good players en route to that title."

A total of 64 players from 12 teams, including perennial power California and defending national champion USC, will be competing in the event. Matches on Friday and Saturday will be played at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center at Fresno State and Clovis West High School. All matches Sunday will be at the Wathen Center.

Fresno State's Hector Almada is the top seed in the 10th annual tournament. Joachim Lien of San Francisco is the tournament's No. 2 seed. He is followed by third-seed Robbie Blair of San Diego and fourth-seed Parker Collins of USC. In doubles, the top seed is Robbie Blair and Jason Pangfrikul of San Diego, followed by No. 2-seeded Lien and Mason Fuller of San Francisco.

Suta will be defending the singles and doubles crowns he won last year. He is trying to become just the second player ever to win back-to-back singles titles. A Fresno State player has won the singles bracket four consecutive years.

Zepponi is seeded No. 11 and will take on Jacob Sliva of Sacramento State on Friday at 8 a.m. Bruggemann will face Travis Crawford of Cal Poly at 9 a.m, while Chen will face Michael Chan from LMU at 10:45 a.m.

Bruggemann and Chen's doubles match is set for 4:15 p.m. on Friday.