Bears Moved Up One Spot in the ITA Rankings After Their Strong Weekend
BERKELEY - One week after posting a dramatic victory at the Hellman Tennis Complex, 13th-ranked California plays another dual on its home courts when the Golden Bears host Pacific on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 10 a.m. Since completing that big win over No. 20 Michigan - which clinched a berth to the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship - the Bears moved up one spot in the latest ITA rankings from No. 14.
Cal brings a talented lineup into Saturday's meet, including junior and 66th-ranked Ben McLachlan and the seventh-ranked doubles team of McLachlan and senior Riki McLachlan, his brother. In the ITA Northwest Regional poll, Ben McLachlan is the top-ranked singles player and junior Campbell Johnson is No. 15. In the regional doubles rankings, the McLachlan brothers top the poll, and the duo of Johnson and freshman Mads Engsted ranks sixth.
Christoffer Konigsfeldt - a Cal senior ranked No. 42 in the singles by the ITA - will be away competing for Denmark from Feb. 1-3 in a Davis Cup match against Romania. In the ITA regional doubles rankings, Konigsfeldt and sophomore Gregory Bayane are at No. 8.
Pacific boasts a couple of regional rankings as well, with Alex Golding ranked No. 13 in singles and the doubles team of Golding and Alex Hamilton ranked seventh.
Last Time: Cal Punches Ticket to Seattle for National Indoor Championship
Cal earned its berth in the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship in exciting fashion, coming from behind to upend No. 20 Michigan, 4-3, on Jan. 26 in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend championship in Berkeley. Christoffer Konigsfeldt and Riki McLachlan captured the last two singles matches that lifted the Bears over the Wolverines and earned them the trip to Seattle for the Feb. 15-18 national indoor tournament.
One day after topping No. 38 Boise State, 4-1, on the first day of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Jan. 25, the Blue and Gold-clad Bears battled the maize and blue-wearing Wolverines. Cal entered singles leading 1-0 after winning the doubles point. But the Bears quickly fell in a hole when the Wolverines won the first set in five of the six singles matches. Gregory Bayane was the exception, as he beat Shaun Bernstein, 6-3, 6-1, on court four in the first completed match.
Konigsfeldt, playing on court two, had perhaps the most dramatic singles match of the day. Down one set and trailing 4-1 in the second to Michigan's 48th-ranked Vlad Stefan - and with Cal down, 3-2 - the Cal co-captain rebounded to win the second-set tiebreaker and force a third set. On match point, Stefan fired into the net to clinch the win for the inspired Konigsfeldt, who claimed a 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory.
Now tied at 3-3, the championship rested on the McLachlan/Michael Zhu result from court five. As with Konigsfeldt, McLachlan lost his first set but won a second-set tiebreaker. The other Cal co-captain wound up winning by a similar score - 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-4 - as Konigsfeldt and punched the Bears' tickets to Seattle.
Cal had won the doubles point when Bayane and Konigsfeldt defeated Zhu and Alex Petrone, 8-4, on court three after Johnson and Engsted topped Stefan/Franks, 8-3, on court two.
Cal takes on four-time defending NCAA champion and second-ranked USC on Feb. 8 and then plays No. 3 UCLA on Feb. 9 in Los Angeles.