After a week of difficult losses to UCLA and USC, the No. 13 Cal men’s tennis team had been hoping to rebound.
The Bears’ 6-1 victory against Sacramento State on Wednesday proved to be a good start, but the team is still looking for more in preparation for next week’s ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
“This last weekend was a good test of where we are now and where we want to be, come end of May,” senior Nick Andrews said.
“After those matches, we just went back to putting in hard work on the court, and hopefully we’ll see that in the matches too, coming up and throughout the season.”
Andrews has been taking the top court this season in place of Pedro Zerbini, who had for so long held the spot but graduated last May.
Up until this week, Andrews had been playing with junior Christoffer Konigsfeldt to form the No. 5 doubles team in the nation. However, Konigsfeldt is away from the team this week in Slovenia, representing the Danish national team in the Davis Cup.
Andrews paired with sophomore Ben McLachlan on the top court for Cal’s Wednesday match, and the tandem won, 8-5.
The Bears currently sport a 4-2 record going into Friday’s 1:30 p.m. match at Hellman Tennis Complex. Though Hawaii, like Sacramento State, has no ranked players (in either singles or doubles), coach Peter Wright recognizes the challenge that the Warriors pose.
“We had a great weekend of tennis and tough matches in there, but for us, the Warriors represent a solid team coming into town to play us before we head to the National Indoors,” Wright said.
“Especially at the end of the season, they’re always strong and right now they’re very dangerous. We’re missing one of our top guys this week who’s in Davis cup in Slovenia, so for all of us, it’s a little bit of extra pressure.”
That additional pressure is almost a blessing in disguise. With Konigsfeldt absent, Wright has been able to test out different doubles teams and matchups.
For example, straying away from the usual pairing of junior Riki McLachlan and senior Tommie Murphy, Wright played Riki with freshman Andrew Scholnick. Such groupings, he commented, gave the team an opportunity to foster growth and develop chemistry between new partners.
“A good part about our team is that there’s very little difference between our guys,” Wright said.
“Our depth is so strong, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to getting a few guys into the matches that haven’t been getting as many matches this year and getting them some development opportunities.”
The Warriors (1-4), led by sophomore Jonathan Brooklyn and junior Dmytro Kovalyov, will be seeking their first-ever win against Cal, having lost all five of their previous meetings.