Pac-12 Tournament Final
#2 UCLA Men's Tennis (21-2, 7-0)
Opponent: #16 California (17-5, 5-2)
When: 6:00 PM PDT, Saturday, April 23, 2016
Where: Libbey Park , Ojai, CA
Video: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: Tennis Ticker
UCLA Official Match Preview (None)
As the Bruins and Trojans headed into their semifinal matches as the top two seeded teams, it looked like the table was set for a rematch between the two teams that battled for the regular season title just one week ago. UCLA did its part, beating Stanford 4-1, but Southern Cal got trounced by the Golden Bears.
That sets up this evening's final between #2 UCLA and #16 California. The Bruins and Golden Bears met exactly three weeks ago with the Bruins earning a 4-2 victory. As has happened all too frequently in the past few weeks, the Bruins dropped the doubles point--just as they did yesterday. However, UCLA fought back, winning points on the top four courts in singles to keep their conference record perfect.
Like the Bruins, the Golden Bears have four singles players ranked in the ITA top-125. Sophomore Florian Lakat--ranked 27th--is likely to face UCLA's Mackie McDonald (#10 in the ITA rankings) on court 1. Sophomore Andre Goransson, ranked 28th, will probably match up against Martin Redlicki (#42) on court 2. In what may be the pivotal matchup, Cal's Billy Griffith (#82) is expected to be #55 Gage Brymer's opponent on court 3.
Kara Sell (#92) won his 100th career singles contest yesterday against Stanford. As usual, he'll be on court 4 again, and his likely opponent is sophomore Filip Bergevi. Cal likes to play #122 Oskar Wikberg on court 5 where he will face Logan Staggs. Finally, on court 6, the Bruins will use Joseph Di Giulio and the Golden Bears will likely counter with freshman J.T. Nishimura.
The Bruins need to improve their results in doubles. On court 1, #5 McDonald/Redlicki need to win their battle with #11 Lakat/Bergevi. Di Giulio/Sell will probably battle Goransson/Wikberg on court 2, and Maxime Cressy/Austin Rapp will probably face Nishimura/Mads Engsted on court 3.
Coach Billy Martin set four major goals for the Bruins at the start of the season. The first two--going undefeated at home, and winning the Pac-12 regular season title--are in the books. The third--winning the conference tournament--is now within their grasp.