BERKELEY - Thirteenth-ranked California competes for a national title this week, when the 13th-seeded Golden Bears (3-2) play fourth-ranked and fourth-seeded Ohio State (8-1) on Friday, Feb. 15, at 2:30 p.m. in the prestigious ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle. The University of Washington is the host of the tournament, which includes matches at the Seattle Tennis Club.
Last year, Cal ended its run in the tournament when it fell in the consolation bracket to UCLA, 4-3. Cal has won the tournament twice - in 1980 and 1989 - and was the runner-up in 1990. The Bears are tied with four other schools for the fifth-most titles (2) and with three other schools for the eighth-most final appearances (3).
ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship
The tournament will provide live results to its matches via a link on its official web page. Also, the main draw along with the tournament's history are available on the ITA website.
Scouting the Bears
• The latest ITA rankings tab junior Ben McLachlan - Cal's No. 1 singles player - at No. 66, senior Christoffer Konigsfeldt at No. 42, sophomore Chase Melton at No. 92 and freshman Mads Engsted at No. 93
• Ben and Riki McLachlans form the seventh-ranked doubles team in the nation, though the status of Riki McLachlan - who was injured in a Feb. 8 loss at USC - is uncertain
• In the ITA Northwest Regional poll, Ben McLachlan is the top-ranked singles player, Konigsfeldt is No. 4 and junior Campbell Johnson is No. 15
• In the regional doubles rankings, the McLachlan brothers top the poll, the duo of Johnson and Engsted ranks sixth and the team of Konigsfeldt/sophomore Gregory Bayane ranks eighth
• Peter Wright - who led Cal to the NCAA round of 16 last year - is in his 20th season as head coach at his alma mater
Scouting the Buckeyes
• The Buckeyes have an 8-1 record, with its lone loss coming in its last meet, against No. 15 Texas A&M, 4-3
• The Buckeyes were the runners-up to USC in last year's ITA indoor tournament
• OSU boasts the top-ranked singles player in 6-7 junior Peter Kobelt, senior Connor Smith is ranked No. 13 and freshman Chris Diaz is ranked No. 30
• Junior Blaz Rola won the 2012 NCAA doubles title with the since-graduated Chase Buchanan
• Director of Tennis Ty Tucker - who led OSU to the NCAA quarterfinals last year - is in his 14th year as head coach of Ohio State
Cal fell in a pair of road dual meets against southern California powerhouses USC and UCLA. Against the second-ranked Trojans - who are also the four-time defending NCAA champions - the Bears lost, 7-0, on Feb. 8, and Cal lost, 6-1, to the third-ranked Bruins on Feb. 9 in Los Angeles. Against UCLA, junior Campbell Johnson beat Adrien Puget, 7-5, 6-1, in court three singles.
The Cal men's tennis team will debut on the Pac-12 Networks when conference television showcases its March 31 match against USC at the Hellman Tennis Complex. That match is slated to start at 2 p.m.
Cal hosts Stanford - which is tied for 19th with Illinois in the latest ITA rankings - in a nonconference match on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. at Hellman Tennis Complex. The Bears and Cardinal play their Pac-12 Conference dual meet on April 20 at Stanford.