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No. 35 San Diego State Travels to Los Angeles for NCAA Regional Against 24th-Ranked California Saturday

Christian Groh and the Aztecs will face California this Saturday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
Christian Groh and the Aztecs will face California this Saturday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

May 10, 2005

SAN DIEGO -

SDSU Men's Tennis NCAA Tournament Release
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No. 35 San Diego State Travels to Los Angeles for NCAA Regional Against 24th-Ranked California Saturday
* San Diego State (17-5; 5-0 Mountain West Conference) will try to extend its 13-match winning streak Saturday when it faces California (11-9; 5-2 Pac-10) in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. Match time is set for 9 a.m. on the campus of UCLA.

The Aztecs will be making their sixth appearance in the annual postseason tournament after a one-year hiatus. The last time SDSU participated in the NCAA tournament was back in 2003 where it advanced to the second round before falling to Washington, 4-3.

The Matchup
* The Aztecs are coming off their third MWC conference tournament crown in four years after being pushed to the limit by two nationally-ranked opponents. After a quarterfinal bye, SDSU narrowly defeated UNLV, 4-3, in the semifinals to advance to the conference title match against BYU. It was in that contest the Cougars tied the match at 2-2, before Markus Dickhardt put the Aztecs ahead by one after his win at No. 2. Then with only one point needed to clinch the match, Benedikt Stronk won at the top spot to give SDSU a 4-2 victory.

Meanwhile, California is riding a four-match winning streak with wins over #49 Arizona State (6-1), #6 UCLA (4-3), #21 USC (5-2) and #22 Stanford (5-2). Since the Pac-10 Championships are only a singles and doubles event, the Golden Bear's last team match came on April 16, when they defeated rival Stanford at home.

Tourney Time Info
* This is the third time in four years that SDSU has qualified for the NCAA tournament. Overall, the Aztecs are 5-5 in postseason play.

In four of the previous five NCAA tournaments, San Diego State has made it out of the first round. The only year where the Aztecs did not was in 1998 when they fell to New Mexico, 4-3.

SDSU has faced a Pac-10 Conference member four times in the NCAAs going a combined 1-3. The Aztecs' only win came in 2000 during first round play against Washington (4-3). The three losses came at the hands of UCLA (1999 and 2002) and Washington (2003).

The Aztecs have made it past the second round only once in school history. The 2000 squad defeated the Huskies in round one, downed Pepperdine, 4-2, in the second round and lost a heartbreaker to Virginia Commonwealth, 4-3, in the round of 16.

San Diego State has played at Los Angeles Tennis Center twice in the NCAA tournament compiling a record of 2-2. In 1999, SDSU beat Tulsa, 4-1, before falling to UCLA, 4-0. In 2002, the Aztecs blanked Hampton, 5-0, and drew the Bruins again and suffered the same fate, losing 4-1.

Two Teams, Two Tournaments
* San Diego State is one of 35 schools in America to have both its men's and women's teams in the NCAA tournament this season. Of the 35, only 10 schools, including SDSU, are from non-BCS leagues. In addition, the Aztecs are the only team from the MWC to have both teams in postseason play.

Aztecs Against the Field
* This year, SDSU has faced eight teams in this year's field of 64 going a combined 2-5, with all five losses accounting for this season's total. The Aztecs' two wins were against William and Mary (4-0) at the Blue/Gray National Tennis Classic and versus San Diego (5-2) on April 6. SDSU's five losses were to USC, UCLA, Washington, Rice and Brown. San Diego State also played Virginia Commonwealth, another tournament participant, but the match was halted with the Aztecs down 3-2 due to rain.

Familiar Face
* This Saturday, California assistant coach Jun Hernandez will see familiar colors when the Golden Bears and Aztecs hit the court. Hernandez, a 1995 graduate of San Diego State, is in his sixth overall year at California and is in his second year with the men's squad. During his time on Montezuma Mesa, he earned a pair of letters, earned all-Western Athletic Conference singles honors in 1994, and placed his mark on the Aztec Record Book.

Regular Season Champs
* Thanks to an undefeated conference record, SDSU claimed its fifth regular season crown in six years. The Aztecs claimed the conference's first four regular season titles, before falling short last year.

SDSU has finished with a 5-0 record only once before, in 2001, but fell short of the postseason crown, losing to Brigham Young, 4-1, and New Mexico, 4-2.

Postseason Champs, Too
* Unlike the 2001 team, this year's edition of the SDSU men's team finished the regular season slate at 5-0 and went on to win the conference tournament title. The title is the Aztecs' third in four years after claiming the crown in 2002 and 2003.

Streaking Aztecs
* SDSU's 13-match winning streak is its longest in 10 years and is the longest to close out the regular season since the 2001 squad won eight in row.

The Aztecs' longest previous streak came in 2000 when they won nine in a row before losing to New Mexico in the conference tournament. Despite the setback, SDSU earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the round of 16 before being downed by Virigina Commonwealth, 4-3.

All-MWC Honorees
* The San Diego State men's program took home four all-Mountain West Conference awards at the annual conference championship banquet. Markus Dickhardt, Armando Carrascosa and Benedikt Stronk were named all-MWC singles selections. This marks the second straight year in which the league's coaches voted Dickhardt as an all-conference performer. Dickhardt finished the 2005 regular season with five consecutive wins and ended with a record of 16-5, including a 9-3 mark at No. 2. For Stronk and Carrascosa, this is the first time the two have been honored by the league. In addition, seniors Daniel Jung and Dontia Haynes were named to the all-MWC doubles team after going 6-5 during the regular season.

MWC Coach of the Year
* Head coach Gene Carswell was named the 2005 MWC Men's Tennis Coach of the Year. It is the second time since 2002, when John Nelson won the award, that an Aztec men's tennis coach has been recognized by the league's coaches.

Carswell, in his second year at the helm, guided San Diego State to a 17-5 overall record, including a 5-0 mark in conference action. The unblemished conference record was just the second time in league history that the Aztecs have gone through the MWC slate without a loss.

In addition to winning the regular season title, Carswell led his team to the program's third conference tournament crown in the last four seasons. After receiving a first-round bye, SDSU defeated fourth-seeded UNLV, 4-3, on Friday and beat the tournament's No. 2 seed, Brigham Young, 4-2, Saturday afternoon.

Carswell is 28-14 overall in his two seasons on Montezuma Mesa, with both of his teams reaching the MWC tournament final.

This is the third coaching award Carswell has collected while at SDSU. In 2001 and 2003, he was named ITA Regional Assistant Coach of the Year.

Players of the Week
* A record five San Diego State tennis players were named player of the week by the MWC this season. Benedikt Stronk (Jan. 26 and March 9), Armando Carrascosa (March 30), Dontia Haynes (April 7) and Markus Dickhardt (April 20) were all honored with the weekly award. The five player of the week awards in an MWC record. This year is the third time they have accomplished the feat with the other two instances being in 2000 and 2002. SDSU has led the conference in player of the week awards in five of the league's six years.

Aztecs in the Rankings
* Benedikt Stronk and Markus Dickhardt are currently ranked among the top-125 singles players in the country according to the latest ITA rankings.

Stronk jumped from No. 90 to No. 43 as a result of his victories over then-No. 13 Arnaud Lecloerec of Virginia Commonwealth and No. 59 Jeff Kader of William and Mary in the Aztecs' last match of the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic earlier this season. He is currently ranked 77th.

Dickhardt, who had been ranked as high as No. 79, broke back into the rankings three weeks ago entering the charts at No. 125. Since then, he has made his way up the rankings to No. 94.

Carrascosa has been ranked anywhere from the 50s to the 100s all season long. His best ranking came earlier in the season when he was ranked No. 51, but dropped out of the latest poll.

Dontia Haynes is the fourth Aztec to have earned a spot in the poll, being ranked as high as No. 84 early in the season. He has since fallen out despite his solid play of late.

There's No Place Like Home
* After months of waiting and rescheduling, the men's tennis team finally got to play its home matches at SDSU Tennis Stadium.

The results were outstanding as the Aztecs went 5-0 at their new home, beating four ranked teams.

The only blemish was the unfinished match against No. 36 Virginia Commonwealth. The contest was called due to rain with the Rams up 3-2 and the last singles match going to a third set.

Piling Up the Victories
* SDSU has been getting solid play all season long, but none more so than in singles play of late. Daniel Jung has the longest winning streak of any Aztec this season, compiling 11 consecutive wins. For the season, the senior is 18-4, including a 10-1 record at No. 5 and 22-5 for the 2004-05 campaign.

Right behind him is Markus Dickhardt who has won seven straight and is 18-5 this spring. At No. 2, the sophomore is 11-3 and at No. 3, he owns a record of 6-2. His other win came at the top position versus Utah.

Chris Groh, who just had his eight-match winning streak snapped, is also playing very well. After suffering an early season injury at UCLA, the sophomore has come back to post an 12-2 record with marks of 4-0, 5-2 and 3-0 at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, respectively.

2005 MWC Championship Match Recap
* San Diego State earned a spot in the 2005 NCAA Tournament with its 4-2 victory over Brigham Young in the championship match at the Mountain West Conference Tennis Championships at Barnes Tennis Center. With the Aztecs' 13th consecutive win, SDSU (17-5) claims its third MWC conference tournament crown in four years.

The Aztecs took a 1-0 lead when they posted victories at Nos. 1 and 2 to clinch the point. The SDSU top doubles team of Benedikt Stronk and Armando Carrascosa used an 8-5 performance to defeat Nima Roshan and Jose Lechuga. Following the win a the top spot, Daniel Jung and Dontia Haynes battled from behind to post an 8-5 win over Dominik Kaufhold and James Ludlow to secure the point.

Similar to Friday's UNLV match, singles play was close on all six courts.

First off the court was BYU's Christian Hand, who made quick work of Haynes at No. 5, defeating him in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. The Aztecs reclaimed the lead when Jung posted his 11th straight victory, a 6-3, 6-3, win over Jonathan Sanchez at No. 6.

The SDSU lead was short lived as Brigham Young's Shane LaPorte snapped Chris Groh's nine-match winning streak with his 6-4, 6-4, effort to tie the match a 2-2. Then with three matches still in progress, Markus Dickhardt broke the tie with his 7-6(5), 7-5, victory at No. 2 over BYU's Ludlow.

With the Aztecs needing only one point to take the conference title, Stronk was in the middle of the three-set battle with Roshan at No. 1 and Carrascosa was fighting out of a 5-2, second set deficit to Jeff Das at No. 3.

At stadium court, Stronk had lost the first set, 6-7(1), but came back to win the second, 6-3. On court nine, as Carrascosa was in the process of tying the second set at 6-6, Stronk finished off Roshan, cruising to a 6-0, third set win, giving the Aztecs the conference's automatic bid to the postseason.

Scouting California
* The 24th-ranked Golden Bears are led by their two nationally-ranked singles players in No. 13 Conor Niland and No. 82 Lennart Maack. Niland, a first team all-Pac-10 selection, boasts a 22-13 overall record, including a 12-8 mark at the top singles position. Niland and captain Patrick Briaud anchor doubles action for California and are ranked 15th in the nation.

San Diego State is 0-8 all-time versus California. The last time these two schools played, the Golden Bears posted a 6-3 victory in 1992.

Scouting UCLA
* UCLA (21-3) enters the NCAA tournament with a national ranking of No. 6. The Bruins are led by a laundry list of ranked student-athletes. Luben Pampoulov leads the group with a record of 26-6 and a ranking of No. 7. Right behind him is Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year Benjamin Kohlloeffel at No. 11, Krzysztof Kwinta (No. 60), Philipp Gruendler (No. 85) and Alberto Francis (No. 109). Francis and Kwinta lead the doubles attack with a ranking of No. 19 and a record of 15-7.

Dating back to 1998, the Aztecs are 0-9 against the Bruins. The last two meetings UCLA has won convincingly, winning 7-0 on both occasions.

Scouting Manhattan
* The Jaspers are making their second consecutive NCAA appearance and head west to Los Angeles with a mark of 16-4. Manhattan earned an automatic bid by defeating Marist, 4-0, in the MAAC Championship. Two-time MAAC Most Outstanding Performer, Zoltan Bus leads Jaspers with a record of 11-7.