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No. 2 Men's Tennis Faces Florida in NCAA Round of 16 on Saturday

May 18, 2006

Malibu, Calif. -

This Week: The nationally-ranked Pepperdine men's tennis team appears in its second straight NCAA Round of 16 as it takes on Florida at noon on Saturday, May 20 at the Taube Tennis Center on Stanford University's campus in Palo Alto, Calif.

After posting wins over Montana State in the first round and TCU in the second round, the No. 2-seed Pepperdine enters the match with a 32-2 record and has been ranked second in the nation for 12 weeks. The Gators hold a 17-7 record and punched their ticket to the final site with wins over Western Michigan and Oklahoma State in the first and second rounds, respectively.

With a win, the Waves would meet the winner of the UCLA-Illinois match on Sunday, May 21 at 1 p.m. in a quarterfinal match.

Live stats for all Championship matches can be found at Stanford's NCAA tournament page at www.gostanford.com.

Round 1 Recap: The No. 2 men's tennis team defeated Montana State, 4-0, in the first round of the NCAA Championships at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif.

Pepperdine clinched the doubles point after picking up wins at No. 2 and No. 3. Omar Altmann and Richard Johnson recorded their 15th win at court three as they defeated Justin Hauck and Jake Berriochoa 8-2. The 31st-ranked Wave duo of Ivor Lovrak and Pedro Rico defeated Tejeshwara Chigateri and Federico Ueltschi 8-4 at No. 2 to give the Waves the 1-0 lead.

In singles, Pepperdine took control from the start and won three straight points over the Bobcats. Altmann blanked Berriochoa 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6, while Rico took point three at No. 2 as he put away Marek Gebicki 6-1, 6-2. Andre Begemann clinched the match for Pepperdine when he handed Chigateri a 6-1, 6-2 defeat at No. 4.

Round 2 Recap: The men's tennis team handed TCU a 4-0 defeat in the second round on Sunday at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif.

The Waves, who defeated TCU earlier in the season, never gave the Horned Frogs a chance as they dominated the match from the start. The No. 47 Wave duo of Ivor Lovrak and Pedro Rico defeated Andrei Mlendea and Cosmin Cotet 8-3 at court two, while the No. 3 doubles team of Scott Doerner and Andre Begemann put away No. 27 Jordan Freitas and Rafael Abreu 8-5 at court one to win the doubles point.

Pepperdine took a 3-0 lead when Richard Johnson crushed Radu Barbu 6-0, 6-3 at No. 5 and No. 31 Rico defeated No. 91 Abreu 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2. After a 3-0 deficit in the first set, Omar Altmann fought back to defeat Freitas 6-4 and then clinched the match with a 6-2 win in the second set.

About Florida: For the fifth straight-year the No. 16 Florida Gators advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 4-0 victory over No. 15 Oklahoma State. The Gators moved to 17-7 on the season and have won eight of their last nine matches. Leading Florida is senior Vladamir Obradovic, who is currently ranked at No. 38 and is 15-6 overall, going 9-2 at the No. 1 position. Sophomore Greg Ouellette checks in at No. 52, playing the majority of matches at the No. 2 singles position where he is 13-1. 75th-ranked sophomore Nestor Briceno is 16-4, playing at positions three through five, while 82nd-ranked Chris Brandi is 19-4 overall. Head Coach Andy Jackson is in his fifth year with the Gators and holds a current record of 102-33 at Florida. During the 2005 NCAA Championships, Florida advanced to the semifinals where the Gators fell to Baylor, 4-1.

Waves Versus Florida: Saturday's meeting will mark the fifth-ever match between the two programs, with the series tied 2-2. The last time the two programs met was in 1995 during the first round of the NCAA Regional when the Waves defeated the Gators 4-1 in Malibu. The programs also met in 1993 for NCAA first-round action with the 5-2 victory going to Florida. Prior to the NCAA match-ups, the teams met in 1986, when Pepperdine captured the 6-0 win and in 1975, when meeting for the first time, Florida captured the victory.

Waves & the NCAA's: Since 1978, Pepperdine has advanced to the NCAA Championships on 28 occasions, compiling an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 41-28, with its best finish as runners-up in 1982 and 1986. Last year, the Waves defeated UC Irvine and Stanford in the first and second rounds advancing to the Round of 16 in College Station, Texas. Pepperdine defeated Duke, 4-3, to advance to the quarterfinals, but Baylor put an end to the Waves' run.

Waves in Individual Championships: Seniors Scott Doerner and Pedro Rico will represent the Waves for the second straight year at the NCAA Singles Championships. Robbie Weiss was the last Wave to hoist the Singles trophy in 1988. Doerner and sophomore Andre Begemann, who pair up for the No. 3 doubles team, will play in their first NCAA Doubles tournament and look to capture the title for the first time since 1985 when the Wave duo of Kelly Jones and Carlos DiLaura won the title.

2006 NCAA Championships: This year marks the first-ever National Tennis Championship that the men's and women's teams will compete simultaneously at the same site. The tournament is hosted at Stanford's Taube Tennis Center, the nation's premier college tennis facilty and looks to break the all-time attendance record of 34,184 set by the University of Georgia in 1993. The defending champions coming into the tournament are UCLA (men) and Stanford (women). This year's Championships marks the 100th anniversary of the NCAA and the 50th anniversary of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

How to Watch: GoStanford.com will feature live scoring updates and live, streamline video, allowing fans to follow all of the action from their computers. Marking the 27th year of ESPN's coverage of NCAA Division I Tennis, ESPN2 will provide tape delay programming of the team championship round, with the women's title match airing on May 30 and the men's title match airing on May 31.

For More Information: For ticket information call 1-800-STANFORD. All-tournament passes are available as well as single-day tickets. Visit www.gostanford.com for more information regarding directions, lodging and schedule of events.

Doerner, Lovrak, and Rico-Oh My!: With three singles players in the rankings, the Waves serve up a tough test to its opponents. Seniors Scott Doerner (No. 8), Ivor Lovrak (No. 92) and Pedro Rico (No. 31) have helped put the Waves on top this season with a combined singles record of 66-11 (.857) to date.

On a Roll: Playing all but one match at the No. 2 position, senior Pedro Rico has posted an overall singles record of 25-4, winning eight consecutive matches and nine of the last 10. The Alicante, Spain native went 3-0 during the West Coast Conference Championships, where he helped lead the Waves to their 16th straight title. He also posted wins in the first and second rounds of the NCAA's. Junior Richard Johnson has won four in a row, while sophomore Andre Begemann has won eight of the last 10 matches.

In the Record Books: With 32 wins thus far in the 2006 season, the Waves surpassed the previous record of most wins in a season with 30 set in 1985. Moving into Pepperdine's all-time singles victories is Rico, who at sixth place has 74 wins, while Doerner owns 73 wins and seventh place. With 25 wins so far this season, Rico creeps into Pepperdine's most wins in a season (singles), sharing a sixth-place tie with three former Waves and sharing a tenth-place tie is freshman Omar Altmann, who makes the list with 24 wins.

Distinguished Doubles: In doubles, the Waves boast one of the strongest line-ups on the west coast, if not the country. Pepperdine is 67-16 (.807) overall, with two of its doubles teams in the Top 50. Senior Scott Doerner and sophomore Andre Begemann remain in the Top 5 with a No. 3 ranking, while seniors Pedro Rico and Ivor Lovrak check in at No. 47. Combined, the two doubles teams are 40-8, going 11-2 against nationally ranked opponents. Playing at No. 3, Richard Johnson and Omar Altmann have also made a mark going 14-6 during the regular season.

Successful Singles: The Waves have three nationally-ranked players in singles. Leading the Waves is Doerner, who remains in the Top 10 at No. 8, while Rico follows at No. 31 and Lovrak checks in at No. 92. Doerner is 21-6 playing at No, 1, while Rico is 25-4 overall. Lovrak dominates his senior year playing at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions with a 20-1 overall record, including four wins against nationally-ranked opponents. Playing at positions 3-5, junior Richard Johnson is 19-11 overall, going 6-1 at No. 3, while newcomers Andre Begemann and Omar Altmann have made their mark, going 22-6 and 24-6, respectively.

Waves Versus Ranked Opponents: In both singles and doubles, the Waves have put up impressive numbers when competing against nationally-ranked opponents. In singles, Pepperdine has a combined total of 21-14 versus nationally ranked opponents and a combined total of 12-3 in doubles. Rico is 7-2 posting a win over then-No. 10 Somdev Devvarmann of Virginia, which clinched the match for the Waves. During the ITA National Indoors, the senior also had wins over Mississippi's Eric Claesson (No. 22) and Duke's Jonathan Stokke (No. 20). Lovrak clinched the match for Pepperdine when he defeated UCLA's No. 75 Mathieu Dehaine in the tiebreaker. Doerner posted victories over No. 13 Luke Sheilds of Boise State, Wake Forest's No. 10 Todd Paul and most recently Baylor's No. 5 Lars Poerschke.

It's no surprise that Doerner and Begemann are ranked in the Top 5 after defeating 12 of the nation's top doubles teams. The pair kicked off the season with a win over then-No. 19 Rylan Rizza and Darrin Cohen of Virginia and during the ITA National Indoors, the team defeated a Top 10 doubles teams in Duke and the No. 40 team of Mississippi. The duo defeated Michigan's No. 9 team of Matko Maravic and Brian Hung, topped Baylor's No. 19 duo of Jon Reckewey and Matija Zgaga and most recently recorded wins over Top 50 doubles teams in Washington (No. 19), Fresno State (No. 49) and TCU (No. 27).

Head Coach Adam Steinberg: Most recently named the 2006 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, the 2005-06 season marks Adam Steinberg's fourth as the head of the Pepperdine men's tennis program. Following success in the Big East and the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Steinberg took the reigns of the West Coast Conference's (WCC) top men's tennis institution in June 2002.

Steinberg has coached the Waves to four consecutive WCC Championships and a 92-25 current record in Malibu. In addition to local dominance, the Waves have garnered national attention under Steinberg. In 2002, Steinberg produced two All-Americans in Diego Acuna and Calle Hansen, and in 2003 sophomore Pedro Rico tabbed the honor. In 2005, Rico and Scott Doerner earned the honors.

The native New Yorker and Penn State graduate has taken the Waves to four straight NCAA Championship appearances, including a trip to the quarterfinals in 2005.

"Pepperdine is highly regarded in the world of men's collegiate tennis. The University is well-respected for its unique combination of outstanding academics and its established tennis tradition," says Steinberg. Steinberg has held that tradition true over his first three years and continues to prove himself as one of the top coaches in the country.

This season, Steinberg has led the team to a No. 2 national ranking for 13 straight weeks and coached Scott Doerner and Andre Begemann to a No. 1 doubles ranking earlier this season.

Waves At Home: In the midst of the 2006 season, the Waves boast an 21-0 record when playing at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center on Pepperdine's campus. Beginning the season in victorious fashion, Pepperdine defeated then-No. 1 Virginia, 4-3, in its season opener. The Waves have also recorded big wins over No. 36 Michigan, No. 33 Wake Forest, No. 7 Baylor and most recently No. 28 Washington and No. 44 Fresno State. Pepperdine has not lost on its home court since 2004, when the Waves were defeated by USC.

Waves On The Road: On the road, Pepperdine is 4-1. The Waves defeated UCLA 4-3 on February 10, handing the Bruins their first loss of the season, snapping UCLA's 28-match home winning streak, which dates back to March 10, 2004. The Waves traveled to Texas where they defeated No. 32 TCU and No. 28 Cal. Pepperdine suffered its first loss of the season when No. 2 Georgia handed the Waves a 4-0 defeat in the final match of the Natonal Team Indoor Championships on neutral ground. Most recently, Pepperdine was defeated by No. 3 Texas on the road, but came back with a win over No. 18 Texas A&M on Aggie territory. The Waves closed out the regular season by winning the WCC Championships for the 16th straight time in Moraga, Calif.

Sports Information Hotline: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics, including results and a schedule of upcoming events, please contact the Pepperdine Sports Information Hotline at 310-506-7373. The hotline will be updated on a regular basis throughout the course of the 2005-06 school year.

On The Web: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics, including results and schedules of upcoming events, on the Internet, please bookmark the following web address: http://www.PepperdineSports.com

For More Information: For more information on the men's tennis program or to arrange interviews with coaches and players, please contact Jennifer Landes at the Pepperdine Sports Information office by calling (310) 506-4160.