February 28, 2006

Santa Clara Entertains Cal Poly and Sacramento State

Feb. 28, 2006

Santa Clara, Calif. - After almost two weeks of non-competition, the Santa Clara men's tennis team is recharged and eager to get back out on the courts and this weekend, they will attempt to add two more victories to the "W" column when it hosts Cal Poly this Saturday, followed by Sacramento State on Sunday.  Game time for both matches is set for noon and will be played at the Degheri Tennis Center.

After going 6-6 in its first 12 matches of the season, Santa Clara took a much needed rest from a schedule that had it facing five ranked opponents, including No. 14 California and No. 23 Southern California. Add to the fact that head coach George Husack was working with a relatively young squad, with two freshmen in the starting line-up and no seniors, and the break in between contests was more than welcomed. However, the Broncos are ready to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with and that their previous experiences in the year will only help them improve as a team heading into the West Coast Conference Championships in late April.

"The first part of our season was very demanding with lots of tough matches and travel too. Experiencing that can only help our team improve and learn more about what it takes to compete at this level of college tennis," said Husack. "I'm looking forward to the next phase of our season leading up to Spring Break. We should be fresh and ready to go."

Prior to coming to the Mission Campus on Saturday, Cal Poly will travel to the Bay Area to take on the University of San Francisco on Friday. Currently, the Mustangs sport a 2-5 record, with their most recent contest ending in a 4-3 loss to UC Riverside last weekend. Recently named Big West Player of the Week John Nguyen leads the charge for the Green & Gold, as he has won five straight matches at the No. 1 spot for his team. Senior Brett Van Linge and junior Matt Baca, and sophomore Fred Dewitte are a talented group of players that will provide depth in the starting line-up. Trevor Kronemann is in his fifth season as the director of the men's tennis program at Cal Poly.

"Cal Poly is a feisty team. We have always had intense battles with them and the home team has come away victorious the last four years," revealed Husack. "Their team is pretty well experienced and deep. John Nguyen has had a solid year with impressive wins at the top position."

Coming into Sunday's match-up with Santa Clara, Sacramento State owns a mark of 3-3 on the year, though faces challenges from Weber State and UC Davis on Friday and Saturday. Most recently, Sacramento State overpowered Gonzaga 7-0 last Saturday. A trio of juniors makes up the majority of the starting line-up, as Warwick Foy, Gabriel Loredo, and Ramon Perez man positions 2, 3, and 5, while seniors Junaid Hossain and Paul Komorniczak book-end the singles ladder. Sophomore Hague Van Dillen rounds out the rest of the singles players at the No. 4 spot. Slava Konikov is in his first season at the helm of the Hornets tennis program and possesses international coaching experience as the head coach of the Belarusian Davis Cup team from 1995-2002.

"Sacramento State is another team that can cause trouble," noted Husack. "They fight well and have talented players that can bring a top-level game at any time. We've been pretty successful with them the last several years, but can certainly not take anything for granted."