Golden Bears Return To The Road To Face Rival Stanford
Feb. 21, 2008
Saturday, Feb. 23 - 1 p.m.
Taube Family Tennis Center
vs. No. 37 Stanford
BEAR NOTES: The No. 29 California men's tennis team (4-3) makes its annual cross-bay trip to face rival No. 37 Stanford (3-5) in the first of this season's two dual matches at the Taube Family Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif. Only the second meeting between the teams will count towards Pac-10 standings. The match is also the last dual the Golden Bears will play until Mar. 7 when the squad travels to the desert to take on the Arizona schools. During the break from dual-play, the Bears will participate in the 2008 Pacific Coast Doubles Championships in La Jolla, Calif. from Feb. 29 through Mar. 2. Please check CalBears.com for updates and information.
LAST WEEK: The Golden Bears rebounded from a couple of tough losses by defeating No. 70 Utah on its home court by a 5-2 score. Utah edged Cal for the doubles point when Allin and Hancock pulled away for a 9-7 victory over freshman Jonathan Dahan and sophomore Kallim Stewart. The Bears responded with a quick 6-1, 6-2 victory by junior Eoin Heavey over Miron Mann on court two to tie the match at one point apiece. The Bears seized the lead with the completion of the court six match where senior Ken Nakahara defeated Timmy Allin by an identical 6-1, 6-2 score. Freshman Pedro Zerbini pushed the Cal lead with a win on court four over Othman Zerouali-Ouariti 6-2, 6-1. Fellow freshman Jonathan Dahan clinched the match next with a 6-0 second set win against Wes Hancock. Dahan needed a tiebreaker to win the first set but did so in convincing fashion, allowing Hancock only three points. With the match decided, freshman Bozhidar Katsarov added the final Cal point with a win on court five over Jason Smits. The only other Utah point came from court one where Stewart fell to Zach Ganger in three sets 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
HOLDING COURT - NO. 37 STANFORD: The Cardinal enter this weekend with a 3-5 overall record and will have to face No. 28 Boise State on Friday before the Bears take the court on Saturday. Cal took both meetings last season, the first a 7-0 sweep at Hellman Tennis Complex and the second, a 5-1 win at Stanford. Overall, the Bears have 72 wins against 118 losses and two ties when facing the Cardinal. Although the Bears won both of last seasons meetings, Stanford won twice in 2007 and the teams split the series in 2006. Entering last weekend after getting two 7-0 wins against BYU and Hawaii, Stanford fell in a 5-2 loss to then No. 4-ranked Baylor. Stanford is led by freshman Alex Clayton who holds the nation's No. 2 singles ranking and has amassed a team-high 15 wins, 11 against ranked opponents. Sophomore Richard Wire is second on the team with 12 singles wins and is ranked No. 62. Junior Matt Bruch is ranked No. 72. The Cardinal doubles team of Wire and freshman Gregory Hirshman have won 10 matches together but remain unranked.
HEAD COACH Peter Wright: Considered one of the best teachers and tacticians in men's collegiate tennis, Peter Wright's coaching talent hasn't 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 194-140 (.581) 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. Hovering in the high 20's, Cal currently holds the No. 29 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.
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 currently on a three match winning streak, contributing from court six.
DON'T YAWN ON MOULLON: Senior Pierre Mouillon was named the 2007 ITA West Region Player to Watch at the end of the 2006-07 season. Coming into the dual match play, Mouillon is ready to prove what made him all the rage last season, earning him a No. 14 preseason ranking in the fall.
NO HELMET NECESSARY: Junior Geoff Chizever is one-half of the Bears' most formidable doubles team no matter who he plays with. Chizever didn't always have a racquet in his hand though. 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 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 14-6 in doubles matches, 4-2 in dual match doubles play.
HEAVEY LIFTING: Junior Eoin Heavey looks to shoulder a much larger load 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 17 as a freshman.
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, Wash. 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.