Bears Open Pac-10 Slate Hosting No. 15 Arizona State and Arizona

March 26, 2008

BERKELEY -

Complete March 26 California Men's Tennis Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

THIS WEEK:
vs. No. 55 Arizona

Fri. Mar. 28 | 1:30 p.m.
Hellman Tennis Complex
Berkeley, Calif.

vs. No. 15 Arizona State
Sat. Mar. 29 | 1 p.m.
Hellman Tennis Complex
Berkeley, Calif.

BEAR NOTES: The No. 42 California men's tennis team (8-7) opens Pac-10 Conference play this weekend as it hosts No. 55 Arizona (10-5) and No. 15 Arizona State (12-0) at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley, Calif. The Golden Bears will take on the Wildcats Friday, March 28 in a 1:30 p.m. start before facing the Sun Devils Saturday, March 29, at 1 p.m. Cal has won four out of its last six matches but fell short in the most recent outing, absorbing a 4-3 defeat at the hands of No. 13 Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif. Please check CalBears.com for information, updates and live video.

LAST WEEK: The Bears completed their non-conference schedule with an 8-7 overall record but will enter Pac-10 Conference play coming off a 4-3 loss to No. 13 Pepperdine on the road. Prior to the loss to the Waves, Cal had won three of its last four, all by a 7-0 count against Penn, San Francisco and UNLV. Facing Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif. the Bears fell in a close fight for the doubles point as the freshman duo of Jonathan Dahan and Bozhidar Katsarov was edged on the third court by James Lemke and Mahmoud Kamel, clinching the point for the Waves. Pepperdine wasted no time completing matches it needed for the win with wins on all three top courts. No. 20 Bassam Beidas clinched the match with his 6-2, 6-2 win over junior Eoin Heavey on court two. With the match decided, the Cal freshmen took care of business individually, each getting wins on the bottom three courts. Dahan got his eighth consecutive singles win and Katsarov notched his team-high 24th singles win of the year.

HOLDING COURT - NO. 55 ARIZONA: The Bears took a 4-3 win against the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz. on March 8 to run their lead in the all-time series to 43-15. Since that loss, Arizona has had only one match, falling by a 4-3 count to rival Arizona State but the Wildcats come into the weekend on a three-match losing streak and will be looking to avenge the loss to Cal from earlier this month. The Cats are led by freshman Jay Goldman. The frosh holds a 19-8 singles record and is ranked No. 109 among the nation's top singles players. Goldman is also 14-5 in doubles play. Senior Claudio Christian is No. 121 and holds a 14-9 singles record. Together, Christian and Goldman are ranked as the No. 56 doubles team in the country.

HOLDING COURT - NO. 15 ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils come into the weekend with a perfect 12-0 record. The last time the teams met, Arizona State took the decisive 4-3 victory by claiming the doubles point. Even with the defeat, the Bears' all-time series record against the Sun Devils remained healthy with a 45-15 edge. The Sun Devils are led by sophomore Andres Arango. Arango is ranked No. 62 and has recorded a 10-5 singles record this season. Sun Devil duo of TJ Bellama and Matt Brooklyn are the No. 53 doubles team and are 10-5 when together on the court. The Devils have defeated seven teams ranked in the top 50 on their way to a Pac-10 Conference best 12-match winning streak.

HEAD COACH Peter Wright: Considered one of the best teachers and tacticians in men's collegiate tennis, Peter Wright's coaching talent has not gone unnoticed. Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2001 and in 1997, he received his first coaching award in 1994 when he was named Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year for guiding the Bears back to postseason play after Cal had missed the Big Dance the previous two seasons. Wright has compiled a 198-144 (.579) career record during his tenure in Berkeley. Last season, with a 14-10 overall record (4-3 Pac-10, tied for third), the Bears made their eighth consecutive postseason appearance in the NCAA Tournament, 13th of the 14 years under Wright's guidance. A four-year letterman during his collegiate career at Cal, Wright worked his way to the No. 1 singles and doubles positions in the Bears lineup before joining the men's professional tour in 1986.

BEARS IN THE RANKS: The Bears opened the season ranked No. 39 in the ITA NCAA Division I Men's Collegiate Tennis rankings but moved up to No. 26 after upsetting No. 11 Oklahoma State on the road in Tulsa, Okla. Cal currently holds the No. 42 ranking in the nation. The Bears finished 2007 with the No. 42 ranking but have held the No. 2 ranking at the end of the season on four occasions, and the No. 3 spot on three occasions. Most recently, under the direction of head coach Peter Wright, the Bears were No. 4 to close the 2003 season after advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinal and compiling a 21-5 overall record. Cal won the National Championship in 1925 with a 4-1 record. Individually, sophomore Kallim Stewart is the only Bear ranked in the ITA rankings, holding the No. 116 spot among singles players.

IMPORT MODEL: Senior captain Ken Nakahara leads by example and looks to have his Golden Bears ready for matches by firing them up with his intensity and passion for the sport. He put up 10 wins in fall individual tournaments including earning the Blue Flight title at the Chandler Cup. The senior also teamed with freshman Zach Gilbert to advance to the doubles final at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic. Nakahara is 7-2 in dual matches this season and is currently on a four-match winning streak.

NO HELMET NECESSARY: Junior Geoff Chizever is one-half of the Bears' most formidable doubles team no matter the partner. Chizever didn't always have a racquet in his hand. He was a record-setting quarterback for Viewpoint High School in Calabasas, Calif., where he earned Liberty League MVP honors for four consecutive years (2001-04). His record-setting ways has his name at the top of the list in his former league for most touchdowns, most completions, most yards gained and best competition percentage for a career. On the tennis court, Chizever teamed with freshman Pedro Zerbini this fall to top all Cal duos with a 10-2 record, winning the Chandler Cup doubles title and advancing to the doubles semifinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. To date, Chizever is 17-10 in doubles matches, 7-6 in dual match doubles play.

HEAVEY LIFTING: Junior Eoin Heavey looks to shoulder a large load for the Bears this season as he will play predominantly from court No. 2 in singles but will also be asked to contribute his talents in doubles. Already, Heavey has proven his mettle, clinching the upset win for the Bears against No. 11 Oklahoma State on the road with a 6 -3, 4-6, 7-5 victory over No. 77 Dmytro Petrov on Jan. 20.

BO KNOWS: Freshman Bozhidar Katsarov won more singles matches than any Bear in fall tournaments. His 13-4 mark in individual tournament play earned him singles titles at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic and the Chandler Cup. His play at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship helped him advance to the singles semifinal. In dual matches, Katsarov has contributed to the Bears' success with wins on courts four and five in dual play and has already upped his total singles wins to a team-high 24 as a freshman.

DAHAN DYNSASTY: Freshman Jonathan Dahan started his first year at Cal quietly with a 5-6 record during fall tournaments. Since the opening of dual match play, Dahan has made major strides at solidifying his legacy at Berkeley. He is 11-2 in dual matches and currently holds the longest singles winning streak among Bears with eight in a row.

VOTE FOR PEDRO: Freshman Pedro Zerbini has proven his versatility in only his first season with the Bears, earning a 10-4 record in dual match singles play. Most impressively, Zerbini has had to compile his 10 wins across four different courts. The Brazil native has also contributed key wins for the Bears on two different doubles courts and with different partners. Overall, Zerbini is 18-10 in singles play and 16-10 in doubles play on the year.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC: Sophomore Kallim Stewart has contributed to the success of the Bears over his two years on the court but when he's not running around with a racquet in his hand, he's deep into his music. Stewart is an avid keyboardist and enjoys playing and composing pieces as a hobby.

IT'S IN THE BLOOD: Freshman Zach Gilbert is the son of former tennis pro, television commentator and current tennis coach Brad Gilbert. The elder Gilbert won 20 singles titles as a pro and reached a world ranking of No. 4 in 1990. As a coach, Gilbert has tutored many internationally renowned stars including Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.

FALL 2007 TOURNAMENTS: The Golden Bears emerged from the fall tournament season with a 64-46 record in singles matches, and notched 25 wins in doubles play. In solo competition, freshman Bozhidar Katsarov led all Bears with 13 wins and only four losses on his way to claiming titles at the 2007 Fresno State Bulldog Classic and at the Cal Chandler Cup. Katsarov's four consecutive victories in Seattle also helped him to advance to the singles quarterfinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championships. Senior captain Ken Nakahara had 10 wins including five-straight to capture the Blue Flight title at the Chandler Cup. Nakahara was also able to advance to the round of 32 at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. In doubles play, the duo of junior Geoff Chizever and freshman Pedro Zerbini experienced the most success, advancing to the semifinal at the 2007 Bulldog Classic before getting to the quarterfinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. The pair won the Chandler Cup doubles title with four strong wins to close out the fall season.

2006-07 SEASON RECAP: The Golden Bears completed the 2007 dual campaign with a 14-10 overall record and went 4-3 in Pac-10 Conference play to finish in a tie for third place and a No. 42 ITA national ranking. Cal went to the NCAA Championship Tournament for the eighth consecutive year, tying a school record and faced No. 26 Oklahoma in Stillwater, Okla. in the first round. The Sooners edged the Bears in a 4-3 win to end Cal's season. Junior Pierre Mouillon was the Pac-10's Player of the Week for the week of Mar. 19 and received All-Pac-10 Conference First Team honors. Mouillon was also named the ITA West Region's Player to Watch at season's end. Senior Tyler Browne was an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention and fellow seniors John Petit and Daniel Sebescen made the 2007 Pac-10 All-Academic Second Team.

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