By Chris Wuensch
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday March 10, 2003
The Pacific-10 Conference's Bay Area contingent swept into Tucson this weekend, leaving the Arizona men's tennis team with two conference losses while extending the squad's losing streak.
Losses to No. 6 Stanford and No. 5 California dropped the Wildcats below .500 for the first time this season, pushing their record to 5-6 overall. On Friday, Stanford defeated Arizona 6-1, while Cal matched that result on Saturday, also downing the Wildcats by a score of 6-1.
Stanford's milestone victory improved its record to 9-2 on the season and marked the 1000th win in the program's history. Since the inception of record-keeping in 1926, the Cardinal is 1000-324-4 and has earned 741 of those victories under current head coach Dick Gould.
After being swept in the doubles matches versus the Cardinal, UA managed only one victory in singles competition.
The score was not indicative of the Wildcats' efforts on Saturday against Cal. Despite losing 6-1, Arizona waged a hard-fought battle, but seemed to be overmatched by the No. 5 Golden Bears, head coach Bill Wright said.
"(Cal was) just better," said Wright. "When you play any good team, you expose your weaknesses, and that's what you saw today.
In a match Wright described as the best No.1 singles match that he has seen this season, Whi Kim fell short to Ireland native Conor Niland. The junior Kim, who had Arizona's only victory against Stanford, lost to No. 27 nationally ranked Niland in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 4-6.
"He beat me pretty good last year; he's a solid player, but I had my chances," said Kim of Niland. "I didn't play too good in the third. I had some openings in the second and I took advantage of them, but in the third he didn't give me much. He was the better player today."
Arizona kept itself in the matches the entire afternoon but couldn't overcome the experience of Cal's players. The win for the Golden Bears completed the first desert sweep for the northern California school since 1998. The Bears defeated ASU 4-3 on Friday.
The lone win for the Wildcats came from Roger Matalonga 7-6 (6), 6-2 over Wayne Wong. The freshman from Terrassa, Spain improved his team-leading record to 9-2 on the season.
"We played them tough; (we've) got to get in (and) work harder," said Paul Warkentin. "We're pretty close in talent level; we just need to be in better shape, get mentally tough."
The sophomore sprained his left ankle in the second game of his first set and, despite battling back, dropped his match 6-7, 6-7 (0).