Cal Hosts No. 25 Washington and Oregon
April 8, 2008
Fri. April 11 | 1:30 p.m.
Hellman Tennis Complex
Sat. April 12| 1 p.m.
vs. No. 25 Washington
Hellman Tennis Complex
BEAR NOTES: The No. 36 California men's tennis team (10-9, 2-2 Pac-10) looks to bounce back from a couple of losses on the road to close out the regular season. The Golden Bears return to Berkeley for their final three regular season matches, hosting Oregon (11-11, 0-4 Pac-10) Friday, April 11, in a 1:30 p.m. start and No. 25 Washington (13-7, 1-3 Pac-10) Saturday, April 12, at 1 p.m. Both matches will take place at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Cal is coming off a rough road trip in which it lost to No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 USC on back-to-back days in Los Angeles. But the Bears are looking to bounce back as it faces two teams against which they hold a combined 51-6 all-time record. Please check CalBears.com for updates and information.
LAST WEEK: After opening the Pac-10 season with two wins, the Bears ran into trouble as it faced two of the top-five teams in the country in No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 USC on the road. Cal could only manage one doubles win against the Bruins and were nearly swept off the singles courts, save a singles win from freshman Pedro Zerbini coming from the No. 5 court. The Bears kept things close with the Trojans but were edged for the doubles point and could not string enough singles wins together to gain a victory, falling to USC by a 5-2 count. Zerbini was able to win three out of his four matches on the weekend, as the only Bear to win each singles match, adding a victory on the top doubles court against UCLA. Zerbini received a nomination for Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for his efforts against the Trojans and Bruins.
HOLDING COURT - OREGON: The Bears are 23-0 all-time against the Ducks and took a 6-1 win the last time the two teams met in Eugene, Ore. Oregon is .500 (11-11) on the dual season and has not made a scratch in the win column in Pac-10 Conference play, going 0-4 so far. The Ducks come into the weekend on a four game losing streak but before that stretch, had won four straight. Oregon is not ranked and is 0-9 this season against teams ranked in the ITA NCAA Division I Men's Collegiate Tennis poll. The Ducks are a young team, without a senior on the roster, and led by a trio of sophomores. Marcos Verdasco leads all Ducks with 14 singles wins this season while Ric Mortera has amassed a 13-10 record in singles play and Stephen Wiechert has racked up 12 singles victories this season.
HOLDING COURT - NO. 25 WASHINGTON: The Bears hold a 28-6 edge against the Huskies in the all-time series, last defeating Washington in a 4-3 match last season in Seattle, Wash. The Huskies won seven-consecutive dual matches coming out of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships but have since gone 1-3 in Pac-10 play. The Huskies have four players with 20 or more singles wins this year including No. 82-ranked junior Patrik Fischer. Fischer has put together a 20-10 overall record this season, occupying the top court in singles play. UW freshman Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan is 17-12 in singles play and holds the No. 97 ranking. Fischer and Nedunchizhiyan are the top-court Husky duo. Junior David Chu is 20-7 this season (10-3 in dual matches at the No. 5 and No. 6 courts) and senior Andy Kuharszky is 20-10, playing primarily on the third court for the Huskies.
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 200-146 (.578) 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. 36 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. 92 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 7-3 in dual matches this season and 17-8 overall.
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 19-12 in doubles matches, 9-8 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. Heavey also clinched the Bears' upset win over a No. 15-ranked Arizona State team on March 29 with his 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win against Harry Skinner.
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 27 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 12-4 in dual matches and 17-10 overall on the year.
VOTE FOR PEDRO: Freshman Pedro Zerbini has proven his versatility in only his first season with the Bears, earning a 12-4 record in dual match singles play. Most impressively, Zerbini has had to compile his 12 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 22-10 in singles play and 18-12 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. Stewart is currently ranked No. 92 in the country among singles players and holds three victories against ranked opponents including a 7-5, 6-4 win over No. 121 Claudio Christen of Arizona; 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 against UNLV's No. 69 Elliot Wronski; and a stunning 6-4, 6-2 upset of a No. 9-ranked Robert Farah of USC.
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.