Jan. 24, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - After suffering two difficult losses to ranked teams away from home, the Santa Clara men's tennis team will return to the Bay Area on Wednesday and recharge before hitting the road again this weekend. Santa Clara (2-2) will take on the University of Hawai'i midweek at the Degheri Tennis Center for a 2:30 p.m. match-up before jetting off to the Pacific Northwest to battle No. 70 Oregon on Saturday and West Coast Conference rival Portland on Sunday. Game times for the away games will begin at 3 p.m. and noon, respectively.
For a young team, taking back-to-back losses can be difficult to overcome in the next match, but that will be the challenge the Broncos will face in the following days. Luckily for Santa Clara, it will be able to regroup at home before it travels north for the weekend. As in the past, Hawai'i has posed a challenge for the home team and head coach George Husack will not be one to overlook the challenge the Green and White will bring to the mainland. Seniors Ryan Sceats and Bryon Weinberg will lead the team into battle, while freshman Sascha Heinemann has been a pleasant surprise for the Rainbow Warriors this seaon. In addition, Sceats was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Month in November for his solid results in singles.
"This week will be interesting to see how we respond against a trio of solid tennis programs, coming off of our contests against Southern California and California," said Husack. "Hawaii returns a solid squad and we have always had really tight matches against them. Last year, we won 4-3 and I expect another really tough battle from the Rainbow Wahine."
Oregon is the highest-ranked opponent Santa Clara will face this week and add to the fact that the match will be contested on the road, Husack and his crew will have their hands full. The Ducks will be led by seniors Thomas Bieri, Markus Schiller and Arron Spencer, along with junior Eric Pickard.
"The Ducks have a lot of new players, three of which joined the team in January. I anticipate it's a good time to play them, as they are a new team still figuring out their strengths and weaknesses."
Portland will have revenge on its mind on Sunday, as it suffered a 4-2 loss to Santa Clara last year at the WCC Championships. The Pilots have a strong foundation to work with, as seniors Colby Jager, Matthew Loucks, and James Redpath will provide the leadership for a competitive match, while juniors Alex Strom and Scott Kennel will add depth in the line-up.
"The Portland match is going to be a good test to see how we stack up against another WCC school," said Husack. "They are coming off their best year, though we were able to beat them at the West Coast Conference Championships when they were ranked. They only lost one player from last year so I anticipate this to be a heated match."