Cal to get some northern exposure

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By the time the No. 10 Cal men's tennis team completes play this weekend versus Oregon and No. 22 Washington, it will have competed four times in the last nine days.

Despite the daunting pace of the last few weeks, the team has continued to stay focused on each individual contest.

At the end of Tuesday's match against San Diego, Cal coach Peter Wright was already looking ahead toward the weekend.

"We're starting to focus on the trip," he said. "We'll look at our travel party. It's going to be a tough one, we're going to have to be really focused."

Coming off a 6-1 defeat of the Toreros, the Bears (11-5, 2-1 in the Pac-10) will open their northern trip today against the Ducks (10-8, 1-2) at 1:30 p.m. at the Student Tennis Center in Eugene, Ore.

Oregon's sojourn to Los Angeles last weekend resulted in three straight losses, including two 7-0 sweeps at the hands of No. 14 UCLA and No. 2 USC. The Ducks' season stats fluctuate much more; after starting off the dual season with six straight triumphs, the team's record has since devolved into a randomized trade-off of wins and losses.

"They have been up and down this season," Wright said. "But we can't underestimate them. They're still a team to be looked at."

The last time the two teams met was almost a year ago when Cal picked up every match in a 7-0 victory at home.

Despite having a majority of upperclassmen on its roster, Oregon only returns four players from that matchup; the rest graduated.

On the other hand, Cal has introduced new talents such as freshman Ben McLachlan and sophomore transfer Carlos Cueto to its regular lineup while retaining every athlete from the 2010 tilt.

But the team can't concentrate solely on the Ducks; less than 24 hours later it will face the Huskies at 1 p.m. at the Bill Quillian Stadium in Seattle.

"Washington's one of the best teams in the country, so we're really going to have to bring our 'A' game," Wright said.

When the Bears and the Huskies met last season, now-senior captain Pedro Zerbini clinched a top court win to give Cal a 5-2 home triumph.

In the Huskies' own L.A. trip last weekend, the Bruins snapped their seven-match winning streak - as well as a nine-match doubles point streak - on Friday. The next day, the Trojans dealt Washington its first shutout of the dual season.

At stake for Washington this weekend is the opportunity to land a top-16 ITA ranking, and with that a chance to host the first two rounds of NCAA. Although Cal already has a top-10 spot, at this point in the season the rankings aren't set in stone.

After this weekend, the Bears will take a two-week hiatus before facing off against rival No. 9 Stanford on April 23.


Contact Annie Gerlach at [email protected]

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