Golden Bears Team Up For Pacific Coast Doubles Championships
Feb. 27, 2008
Feb. 29 - Mar. 2
119th Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championships
La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
BEAR NOTES: The No. 28 California men's tennis team (4-4) takes a break from dual matches to participate in the 2008 Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championships this weekend hosted by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif. The three-day doubles exhibition tournament begins Friday, Feb. 29 and concludes Sunday, March 2. For more information, draws and up-to-date results, please visit www.usta.com and search for the tournament under Pacific Coast Men's Doubles. For more information about the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, please visit www.ljbtc.com
LAST WEEK: The Golden Bears faced rival No. 31 Stanford for the first of two meetings this season on the courts of the Taube Family Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif. Playing the match three days later than originally scheduled, the Bears were unable to overcome the Cardinal, falling 5-2. The loss dropped the Bears to .500 on the season, with four wins and four losses. Stanford came out and claimed the doubles point with consecutive wins on courts one and two, each by an 8-3 score. The Bears got a doubles win from freshman Bozhidar Katsarov and sophomore Kallim Stewart but it was of no consequence. Heading into singles play with three ranked players holding the top three courts, the Cardinal exercised its dominance with two-set victories on each of the courts to clinch the team victory. Freshman No. 2 Alex Clayton took a 6-4, 6-0 win over Cal's top-court player Stewart to start things off. Two Cal freshmen came away with singles victories for the two team points as Pedro Zerbini and Katsarov won on courts four and five, respectively. Zerbini came back after losing his first set and defeated Blake Muller 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Katsarov only needed two sets to defeat Phil Kao 6-4, 6-2. The loss drops the Bears to 72-119-2 all-time against the Cardinal with the next meeting set for Saturday, April 19, in Berkeley.
HOLDING COURT - 2008 PACIFIC COAST MEN'S DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Golden Bears will participate in the 119th annual championships when they arrive in La Jolla, Calif. this week. The Pacific Coast Men's Doubles is the second-oldest tennis event in the United States and has a rich tournament history. First held in 1890 at the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, Calif., the event was created to promote the sale of real estate on the Monterey peninsula. The original concept pitted the best players from the East versus those from the West. This coast to coast rivalry was the inspiration for the Davis Cup. Past Winners include Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Tony Trabert, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, Dennis Ralston, and John McEnroe. Not including the Bears, this year's field includes doubles teams from Rice, USC, Pepperdine, UCLA, Stanford, Fresno State, San Diego State, UC San Diego and Notre Dame. Last year, Cal pairs went 6-4 overall during the tournament.
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 194-141 (.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. Hovering in the high 20's, Cal currently holds the No. 28 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.
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 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 14-7 in doubles matches, 4-3 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.
DON'T YAWN ON MOUILLON: 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.
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 18 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 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.