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13 May 2009

Canes head to Round of 16, face UCLA

The Gatorade has been showered off and the euphoria has subsided.

After a dramatic 4-3 upset of No. 10 Florida this past weekend in the Gainesville, Fla. NCAA Regional, it is back to business for the No. 22 University of Miami men’s tennis team.

“We were pretty happy, but we’ve just got to realize that the season’s not over,” senior David Rosenfeld said. “We completed our first goal of getting to the Sweet 16, but now we’ve got to realize that we’ve got to keep going.”

Rosenfeld, who helped lead the Hurricanes (16-8) back from a 3-0 deficit by winning the first of four straight singles matches against the Gators, hopes that the team can continue on its winning streak.

Miami has won 10 of its last 12 matches, including seven of its last eight on the road.

“I was just thinking that I didn’t want it to be my last match,” Rosenfeld said. “I knew that if I won, everybody else was close enough that they could feed off that energy. I made sure that I made a lot of noise.”

Sophomore Carl Sundberg proved to be the hero for the orange and green when he won his three-set match to clinch the victory into the Round of 16. He attributes his success this season, a 20-6 record, to confidence and his conditioning.

“I have to say that he’s [Sundberg’s] a kid who takes practice very serious, who makes the most of his time on the practice courts, and it’s paid off for him,” head coach Mario Rincon said. “He’s an awfully talented kid who’s tough mentally and all of this work has helped him play high in the lineup and win decisive matches for us.”

Teammates like four-time All-American and senior Daniel Vallverdu have just as much confidence in the Norwegian native as he does in himself.

“He gives a 100 percent every time. If they asked us who do you put to play the last match, I think everyone on the team would pick Calle,” Vallverdu said. “He’s a great competitor.”

Now, the Canes face No. 7 UCLA at 7 p.m. at Texas A&M’s George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas. The Bruins (19-4) ride a 12-match winning streak, won the Pac-10 conference and last captured the NCAA title in 2005.

“I’ve been talking to coaches all around the country and I’m sure our guys have been reseatrching with their friends from other teams,” Rincon said. “We need to put the UF match behind us and concentrate on UCLA because we want to perform well at the tournament. Since we’re there we need to take advantage of the opportunity.”

With a win, Miami would reach its first NCAA Quarterfinal in program history and play the winner of No. 2 Mississippi/No. 15 Texas A&M at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

“I told the guys before the match that I didn’t want it to be the last match of my career at UM,” Vallverdu said. “It was the best feeling I’ve had in these four years for sure, and I’m just looking forward to UCLA.”

PROJECTED LINEUP

UM
Singles (Overall, Dual, ACC Record)
1. No. 13 Daniel Vallverdu (18-5, 11-3, 7-1)
2. David Rosenfeld (12-14, 9-10, 6-5)
3. Carl Sundberg (20-6, 17-3, 9-1)
4. Keith Crowley (23-8, 15-4, 7-1)
5. Christian Blocker (8-12, 8-12, 5-5)
6. Ignacio Taboada (23-12, 12-7, 5-3)

Doubles
1. No. 38 Vallverdu/Rosenfeld (9-4, 9-4, 5-3)
2. Simon/Blocker (10-9, 10-9, 7-3)
3. Sundberg/Crowley (7-6, 7-6, 5-3)

UCLA
Singles Record
1. Matt Brooklyn (22-11)
2. Haythem Abid (9-10)
3. Harel Srugo (6-4)
4. Holden Seguso (12-8)
5. Michael Look (19-8)
6. Nick Meister (25-7)

Doubles
1. Look/Meister (7-6)
2. Amit Inbar/Srugo (13-0)
3. Brooklyn/Seguso (4-4)