Feb. 9, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - The wins at the top of the singles line-up haven't always come freely for the Santa Clara men's tennis team, but head coach George Husack knows that he can count on his bottom half to come through. After nine dual matches, positions No. 4, 5, and 6 are a combined 22-5, with freshman Tommy Hicks leading the way as he has tallied a team-leading 14-3 overall record. In addition, Brian Brogan has seen time at the bottom half of the ladder, as has A.J. Kerin and Bobby Rasmussen.
"Our depth is definitely our strength. Tommy has been rock solid all season and AJ got his first look in the lineup versus Portland and has remained unbeaten. We have definitely begun to count on our bottom half," stated Husack. "It's nice to have that arsenal while our upper half continues to grow accustom to their new spots... We're still getting better with every match regardless of the outcome."
This weekend, Santa Clara will continue to look to its depth to come through, as it will face tough road tests at No. 70 Brigham Young and No. 54 Utah. The Broncos face off with the Cougars on Friday at 5 p.m., while the Utes await their visitors for a 3 p.m. date on Saturday.
A trio of juniors will lead Brigham Young into battle, as James Ludlow, Dominik Kaufhold, and Christian Hand occupy the top three spots in the singles line-up. Providing support are seniors Jose Lechuga and Ivan Kokurin and sophomore Jonathan Sanchez. Brad Pearce is in his second year as the head coach of the Cougars and has guided his team to a 2-4 record so far in 2006.
Utah currently sports a 3-1 mark in 2006, with a dual match against Boise State to be played this Friday prior to the one against Santa Clara. Seniors Nick Coutts and Tomas Grzyb, in addition to juniors Ryan Scott and Jason Yap, are the bulk of the singles ladder, though youngsters like sophomore Zach Ganger and freshman Wes Hancock have also broken the starting line-up as well.
The matches this weekend will be played indoors and while many view that as an advantage to the host teams, Husack disagrees, believing that his squad will do just fine inside.
"Both BYU and Utah are powerful hitting teams that play a lot of their season indoors. I don't think the move indoors is as tough of a transition as going from indoor to outdoor. The conditions inside will be good," commented Husack. "Both opponents will bring a lot of intensity and attacking game styles. This is our first time playing BYU while we will play Utah for a second time after losing last year to them. I believe we can counter well with our transition game, patience and energy."